Reds in crucial Gold Coast trial
Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:59
This will be the last opportunity for players to impress
The Queensland Reds will host reigning Super Rugby champions the Chiefs in their second and final trial game of 2013 at Stockland Stadium Sunshine Coast on Friday, February 8.
The encounter is the second straight year Queensland will take elite-level rugby and the Reds to the Sunshine Coast, after the region hosted an exhibition match against New Zealand's Hurricanes in June.
The announcement of the Chiefs trial game continues Queensland's commitment to growing the code on the Sunshine Coast and also finalises the Reds pre-season activity for 2013 with their opening trial game of the year being held in Toowoomba against the Blues on Saturday, February 2.
The Sunshine Coast trial game will be a crucial hit-out for the Reds before their Super Rugby campaign commences a week later with a blockbuster opening round clash against the Brumbies in Canberra on February 16.
Reds head coach Richard Graham said the chance to host the 2012 champion Chiefs would be a good opportunity to challenge the squad just prior to the season kicking off.
"The Super Rugby competition has become a virtual sprint for 2013 with the majority of our regular season fixtures completed by the June Test window. As a consequence of the scheduling, it is important we commence our campaign strongly," Graham said.
"This will be the last opportunity for players to impress before round one selection against the Brumbies and we will want to see the squad execute all we have worked on during the preseason.
"Considering this, it's ideal to have an opportunity to host a trial game against last year's champions on the Sunshine Coast.
"The opportunity to play and perform well on the Sunshine Coast is also something the team is excited about after having received such a positive response and support from the community during this year's exhibition game."
Next year will be a year to remember for Reds supporters with The British & Irish Lions to make their first tour to Australia in 12 years.
As part of their tour, at least half of the Reds 35-man squad will get their first taste of Test-like Rugby in a historic Tour match against the visitors at Suncorp Stadium on June 8.
As well as that first encounter against the Lions since 2001, the Reds have been handed a great Super Rugby draw at Suncorp Stadium in 2013 which includes home games against Aussie rivals the NSW Waratahs, Western Force, ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, plus Ewen McKenzie's men will take on New Zealand's Hurricanes and Blues as well as South Africa's Bulls and Sharks.
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