Roma a-buzz for rugby festival

Roma Commerce and Tourism general manager Debbie Joppich expects the Santos Festival of Rugby to drive a significant boost in economic activity for the town. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

Roma is buzzing as it prepares to host the 2024 Santos Festival of Rugby on 9 to 10 February.

An annual pre-season trial between the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds once again forms the centrepiece of the celebration, with the Waratahs hoping to win their fourth consecutive Santos Cup.

The event will offer a huge amount of top-line rugby for fans, including club Sevens, country representative matches and men’s and women’s Super Rugby fixtures.

Country representative matches will kickstart the action on the Friday night and will culminate in clashes between traditional rivals New South Wales and Queensland for both Super W and Super Rugby squads.

Held at Galas Fox Park, home of the Roma Echidnas Rugby Club – in partnership with Santos and Maranoa Council – the two-day festival will entertain fans both on and off the field. Highlights include junior coaching clinics and family fun activities.

NSW Rugby Union CEO Paul Doorn said:

“The Santos Festival of Rugby has become the signature pre-season event in the Australian rugby calendar.

“The event continues to grow every year, now featuring sevens games, country representative games and both the men’s Super Rugby team and women’s Super W team.

“We can’t wait to get to Roma to trial ourselves against our oldest rivals, in our 150th year and the opportunity to engage with the heartland of country Queensland.

“We thank Santos for its continued support of this amazing festival and grassroots rugby around Australia.”

Queensland Rugby Union CEO David Hanham said:

“The annual Santos Festival of Rugby is one of the most genuine examples of a real commitment to taking elite sport to regional communities.

“We share a vision to advance and develop the game in Queensland and commitment to engage with rugby lovers in the bush. This is a landmark event which we are proud to be delivering alongside Santos.”

Roma Commerce and Tourism general manager Debbie Joppich said she looked forward to welcoming the Santos Festival of Rugby back to Roma in February.

She said the festival was a much anticipated event, with visitors and residents alike enjoying the action and entertainment.

“Events like this are huge for our town and highlight the many great assets we have here.

“Roma is not only a great place to visit and attend events such as this, but it has also so many career and lifestyle opportunities available to make it home.

“The accommodation, retail and hospitality sectors will all be preparing for a busy Santos Festival of Rugby weekend, with the increase in people in the region, providing a substantial economic boost to the region.

“Following on from the energy and excitement created from the 2022 festival, the 2024 event will not disappoint. Local tip: book your accommodation and tickets early!”

Fast Facts

* Friday 9 February is day one of the Roma Sevens competition across social men’s and women’s teams. DJ Jonny Mac will provide the post-match entertainment.

* Saturday 10 February is day 2 of the Roma Sevens competition, featuring a pre-season match between the QLD Reds v NSW Waratahs. Hot Dub Time Machine will provide the post-match entertainment.

* Full program of events to be released soon.

* Tickets are on sale now.

* Tickets must be bought online. No cash sales at the gate. Pre-purchase is recommended for quick scanning at the gate.

* Proceeds from ticket sales will help support community grass-roots rugby.

* All VIP ticket holders must be 18+ years old.

* On site car parking is available.

* Please visit for updates.