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Western Force relocate to start Super Rugby Pacific season

By AAP
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The Western Force will head east for the opening two rounds of the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Border restrictions have forced the hand of the Force, who returned to the domestic competition last year for the one-off Super Rugby AU tournament.

The Force’s home opener on February 20 against the Brumbies will now be played in Canberra, with the sides to meet in Western Australia in round six instead.

Their home fixture against the Waratahs, originally scheduled for round four, will now be played in NSW, with the Force instead playing host in round nine.

The Force are hopeful of hosting the Queensland Reds in round three, but east coast venues are being explored if no resolution is met with the Western Australian government.

The Force are set to play a pre-season game against the Reds in Brisbane this Saturday.

Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos thanked the clubs for accommodating the late changes.

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“Unfortunately, we are all now well versed in dealing with these kinds of changes as we continue to navigate the uncertainty that surrounds COVID-19,” he said.

“However, we have managed to find a solution which maintains the integrity of the draw and allows us to proceed with minimal disruptions to the season.

“By relocating to the east coast for the opening rounds of the competition, the Western Force players, staff and their families are making a significant sacrifice and we thank them for that.”

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