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Queensland Reds announce first European tour in 25 years

By Josh Raisey
Queensland Reds celebrate victory during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between Queensland Reds and Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Queensland Reds will take on the Bristol Bears in January next year as part of a European tour before the 2025 Super Rugby Pacific season.

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The Reds will play the Gallagher Premiership outfit at Ashton Gate on January 31 as part of a two-match preseason tour, with the second match yet to be announced.

It will be the first time that the Australian side will tour Europe since 1990 and their first fixture against Bristol since 1980.

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Bristol faced the Crusaders earlier this year in a similar fixture at the beginning of the English clubs’ break during the Guinness Six Nations.

“When I mentioned this opportunity to our leadership group, they described it as ‘epic’,” said Reds head coach Les Kiss, who will be returning to England having previously coached London Irish.

“It’s a chance to play a leading English club in their environment in a British and Irish Lions year, it’s a pre-season match that creates excellent preparation for our 2025 Super Rugby Pacific season and we play at a great stadium.

“I’ve coached against Pat Lam-coached teams before and there have been some classic matches amongst them. I expect this to be no different.”

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Reds co-captain Tate McDermott said: “This is huge for us as a club and for our supporter base.”

“When the leadership group first heard of the plans, we couldn’t believe it.

“We saw the Crusaders go over early this year to test themselves in pre-season games (against Bristol and Munster). We now get the chance at a terrific pre-season to bond and play quality opposition. It’s something to be really excited for.

“New Zealanders play a certain way. Fijians do too. To come up against a different style altogether, with a lot of set piece-based footy and some really talented Bristol backs, is another really great test for the squad.”

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