Townsville will host its first Super Rugby match in 15 years next month when the Reds host the Chiefs at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on May 29.
The North Queensland venue has been confirmed as the stage for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman fixture as details for all matches in round three of the competition were confirmed by New Zealand Rugby [NZR] and Rugby Australia [RA] on Friday.
All matches from that weekend were initially scheduled to be held at one unannounced venue between May 28 and May 29 what was billed as ‘Super Round’.
But, as it was confirmed the Trans-Tasman competition would go ahead as scheduled earlier this month, it was also announced round three matches would be staged at separate venues across New Zealand and Australia.
The details of where those matches will be played have now been locked in, with the Reds set to take the Chiefs to the newly-built Queensland Country Bank Stadium, which only opened last year and is home of the NRL’s North Queensland Cowboys.
It will be the first time the Chiefs have ever played in Townsville, and just the second time the Reds have played a match there since they defeated the Highlanders 22-16 at Willows Sports Complex in the final round of the 2006 Super 14 campaign.
The match is one of three to be held on May 29, as the Waratahs will take on the Crusaders at WIN Stadium in Wollongong while the Blues will host the Brumbies at Eden Park in Auckland in the day’s earlier fixtures.
The round will kick-off of May 28 when the Hurricanes play the Western Force at McLean Park in Napier, the first Super Rugby match to be played in Hawke’s Bay since the Wellington franchise beat the Sharks in a last-gasp, one-point thriller in 2018.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, will host the Melbourne Rebels in an afternoon match on May 30 at a yet-to-be-determined venue within the franchise’s region.
Possible venue options include Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin and Rugby Park in Invercargill, although the 2:35pm kick-off time could allow the Queenstown Events Centre, which doesn’t have floodlights, to host its first Super Rugby match since 2010.
“We are grateful to be in a position to lock in the final matches for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and, with the travel bubble open, we’re all looking forward to welcoming our Australian counterparts to New Zealand next month,” NZR general manager of professional rugby and high performance Chris Lendrum said.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 22, 2021
“It’s disappointing we were unable to get the ‘Super Round’ off the ground in 2021, but I’m sure it’s a concept we will re-visit in the future.
“Fans and players are understandably focused on the exciting final rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU, but I’m sure when the dust settles there will be an air of anticipation as to how the respective teams measure up against their trans-Tasman rivals.”
RA chief executive Andy Marinos added: “It’s great to be in a position where we can play our New Zealand counterparts again.
“It has been a terrific Super Rugby AU that has already far exceeded everyone’s expectations, and we still have the last round left to play before finals action.
“Our players are intensely focused on finishing this Super Rugby AU season on a high, and then throwing everything at their Kiwi counterparts during six action packed weeks of trans-Tasman footy.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to host a ‘Super Round’ in round three, however I’m really excited to take games to Townsville and Wollongong and engaging with those communities.”
Updated fixtures for Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Round 3
Friday 28 May
Hurricanes v Western Force at McLean Park, Napier – 7:05pm NZT/5:05pm AEST
Saturday 29 May
Waratahs v Crusaders at WIN Stadium, Wollongong – 5:05pm NZT/3:05pm AEST
Blues v Brumbies at Eden Park, Auckland – 7:15pm NZT/5:15pm AEST
Reds v Chiefs at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville – 9:45pm NZT/7:45pm AEST
Sunday 30 May
Highlanders v Melbourne Rebels, venue TBC in Highlanders region – 2:35pm NZT/12:35pm AEST
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