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Australia sets up National Rugby Academy
Stirling Mortlock of the Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby team, offloads the ball during the 2007 Tri Nations match between Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground June 30, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. The Tri Nations Test match is also game one of the Bledisloe Cup played between Australia and New Zealand. Australia won 20-15. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, July 5, 2007 – Springboks and All Blacks beware! Young would-be Australian Wallabies will now have the opportunity to train and have their skills developed at a purpose-built National Rugby Academy.

Prime Minister John Howard was on hand earlier this week to announce the establishment of a National Rugby Academy (NRA) in Brisbane. The Federal Government will kick in A$25 million (US$21.4 million) towards the project. Prime Minister Howard said: “Rugby union needs a central focus and I believe that the contribution of this A$25 million towards the building of this Academy will provide it. We are all immensely proud of the way in which rugby has progressed in Australia over the last quarter of a century. The game’s impact on the Australian nation today is extraordinary.”

Australian Rugby Union managing director John O'Neill said the announcement was the realization of a dream for Australian rugby.

"We've talked about it, we've dreamt about it, we've had visionary moments, and as with a lot of visions, it takes money," O'Neill said.

The academy will include a high-tech gymnasium, covered training area, 50m pool and village-style accommodation and will be built in Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane.

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