Rolovich era to begin in Australia vs. Cal

Nick Rolovich and Ikaika Woolsey

The University of Hawai’i and University of California will open the 2016 football season in Sydney, Australia, Aug. 27, 2016 at ANZ Stadium in a game dubbed the “Sydney College Football Cup.”

The game is organized by TEG and TLA Worldwide alongside the New South Wales Government and is the first college football game played in Sydney and first in the country in nearly three decades.

“The University of Hawai’i is thrilled for this wonderful opportunity to open the 2016 college football season in Sydney against the University of California, Berkeley,” said UH Athletics Director David Matlin. “Our football program has tremendous pride in not only representing the state of Hawai’i, but all of the Pacific region. From a cultural perspective, this game will afford our student-athletes an experience they will always remember and give most of them the chance to travel outside the United States for the first time in their lives. Traditionally, the University of Hawai’i has been fortunate to welcome many student-athletes from Australia and we hope this game opens doors for many more.”

UH and Cal will meet for the fifth time and first since 1994, when the Rainbow Warriors won 21-7 in Berkeley, Calif. The series began in 1935.

“Congratulations to both the University of Hawai’i, Manoa and the University of California, Berkeley on forging this partnership which will provide their respective football student-athletes with a cultural and educational experience of a lifetime,” said Mountain West Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland.  “The opportunity for this contest to be played in Sydney, Australia will also elevate the profile of college football, as we look to expand branding and exposure for our great sport.”

Four Australians played college football for Hawai’i, most recently former Australian Rules Football player Scott Harding, who was a punter and receiver for the Rainbow Warriors from 2011-14. Mat McBriar (2000-02) and Alex Dunnachie (2009-12) also punted for UH while defensive lineman Colin Scotts (1983-85) was the first Australian to receive an American football scholarship and first Australian drafted in the National Football League.

ANZ Stadium seats up to 83,500 spectators and was built in 1999 for the Summer Olympics held in Sydney in 2000. The stadium has hosted numerous rugby, Australian Rules, soccer, and cricket contests.

Two previous college football games have been played in Melbourne, Australia – Wyoming versus UTEP in 1985 and BYU versus Colorado State in 1987.

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