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Australia's 2023 Super Rugby Pacific preseason kicks off!

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Roar Rookie
30th January, 2023
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The 2023 preseason rugby matches are almost upon us! More than a month of matches start from 28 January, first in Fiji and then across Australia and New Zealand.

All five Australian Super Rugby Pacific franchises are involved, against other Australian teams, local clubs, and teams from New Zealand and Fiji. There’s even an Australian state team in the schedule.

All will be well worth watching, to see how players and teams are shaping up, the combinations, playing styles, rustiness, and for the sheer pleasure of viewing rugby from the sidelines where you see just how fast the sport is, and how little space the players have – things you don’t quite appreciate if all your viewing is on TV.

The 2023 Super Rugby Pacific competition itself kicks off on Friday 24 February when the Crusaders play the Chiefs, and the Waratahs play the Brumbies at the brand new Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

A week later it’s the Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne, where all 12 teams gather to play in six matches scheduled over 3-5 March. A big start followed by a big weekend!

The women’s Super Rugby Pacific preseason program compares well in its scale and several days have both men’s and women’s teams scheduled to play.

Many matches are family fun days. Matches often are free and others may have a small admission fee.

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The full schedule is at the bottom.

Good reasons to make a day of it
The Rebels’ match on 28 January is the first-ever trial match that the Drua have hosted in Fiji, and the first time Super Rugby will be played at Prince Charles Park.

February 11 in Narrabri looks like fine place to be, with a Festival of Rugby happening.

February 17 sees NSW women in a triple-header in Pukekohe, which is also a curtain-raiser for the men’s teams Blues vs Chiefs.

On February 18 the Waratahs will play a 40-minute match against each of the Shute Shield sides, with the fixtures set to be the first games played at the recently refurbished Concord Oval – the new home of the West Harbour Pirates.

The women’s match on 11 March in Perth is the first time the women’s South Australian team will compete against a Super W team.

Tom Hooper of the Brumbies

Tom Hooper of the Brumbies in action during the round five Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match between the ACT Brumbies and the Highlanders at GIO Stadium on June 11, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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Usability
As in previous years, assumptions continue that surely everyone knows where such-and-such a ground is, so sometimes I’ve added suburb, city, postcode, and vernacular stadium names. Curiously, kick-off times continue to be viewed as nice-to-knows rather than essential information, so please check closer to the time to discover them. A recipe for disappointment is to turn up at night for an afternoon game.

I would like to think the days are gone of hiding the preseason match schedules in a locked file cabinet. A few years ago perhaps the Rebels did assume that the only people who were interested in preseason matches also were signed-up members on their email list. This year the Reds communicated their information by video and not in text form, and referred to the major branding partner rather than to preseason. My thanks to the Waratahs for providing content on behalf of the Reds that was more accessible.

Finally, mystery remains about the 18 February in NSW, where “the event will be free of charge and will feature a host of gameday activations and a meet and greet with the Waratahs team.” If anyone knows what a “host of gameday activations” looks like then you are doing better than me. It could be “start-ups” or “ignitions” like a rocket engine or installing an air conditioner or indeed launching a rugby team’s season, but perhaps it is “activities”. In the same way that “visitations” can be used to mean “visits” rather than the situation where a ghost or spirit makes its presence felt.

It’s time to get into the spirit of rugby in 2023 – go along, enjoy the rugby and the festive activations!

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January
(Men) Saturday, 28 January Rebels v Fijian Drua, 3pm (FJT) Prince Charles Park, Nadi, Fiji.

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February
(Women) Saturday 4 February, ACT Brumbies Super W vs South Australia Black Falcons, 4pm (AEDT), Exies Sports Club, Griffith 2680

(Men) Saturday, 4 February NSW Waratahs vs ACT Brumbies, 6:30 pm (AEDT), Exies Sports Club, Griffith, NSW 2680.

(Men) Saturday, 4 February Western Force vs Queensland Reds – afternoon, McGillivray Oval (UWA Sports Park), Mt Claremont, Perth, WA 6060.

(Women) Saturday 11 February, Rebels v ACT Brumbies, 4:30pm (AEDT), McDonald’s Park (Wagga Equex Centre), Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650.

(Men) Saturday 11 February, Rebels v ACT Brumbies, 6:30pm (AEDT), McDonald’s Park (Wagga Equex Centre), Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650.

(Women) Saturday 11 February – NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds, Dangar Park, Narrabri, NSW 2390.

(Men) Saturday 11 February – NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds, Dangar Park, Narrabri, NSW 2390.

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(Men) Thursday 16 February, Fijian Drua vs Force, Queensland. No further details.

(Women) Friday 17 February, three x 30-minute matches, from 2:40pm (NZT). Blues vs Waratahs; Chiefs Manawa vs Blues; Chiefs Manawa vs Waratahs. Navigation Homes Stadium (Pukekohe Stadium), Pukekohe, NZ.
(Men) Saturday 18 February, NSW Waratahs vs West Harbour Pirates and Western Sydney Two Blues. 3pm Waratahs v West Harbour; 4:00pm Waratahs v Western Sydney Two Blues, Concord Oval, Concord, Sydney, NSW 2137.

(Women) Saturday 25 February, Rebels vs Western Force, 5pm (AWST) HBF Park (Perth Oval/Rectangular Stadium), Vincent, Perth, WA 6000.

March
(Women) Saturday 4 March, Rebels vs ACT Brumbies, time TBC, Albury, NSW.

(Women) Saturday 11 March, South Australia vs Force, HBF Park (Perth Oval/Rectangular Stadium), Vincent, Perth, WA 6000.

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