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Shaking off the rust

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 18:54
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Super Rugby teams will step up their preparations for the upcoming season and shake off some rust in pre-season friendlies in the coming weeks.

Preparing for the gruelling Super Rugby tournament, which gets underway on February 15 and culminates on August 2, is not an exact science.

This is evident in the number of contrasting approaches teams have opted for when it comes to on-field preparation and the number of warm-up matches they have scheduled.

While several sides have lined up three trial games, the Pretoria-based Bulls have scheduled just one pre-season outing.

The Sharks, under new coach Jake White, will undertake the longest trip for a warm-up game when they head to London to play England Premiership side Saracens on January 25.

These games are scheduled independently and will often feature changed aspects such as unlimited substitutions and 20-minute quarters, pending an agreement between the teams.

Here’s the schedule of confirmed pre-season clashes (kick-off times are local)   

Blues:

Saturday, February 1:
v Hurricanes, Memorial Park, Masterton - 15.00

Friday, February 7:
v Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney - 19.30

Friday, February 14:
v Chiefs, Rotorua - 18.00

Brumbies:

Friday, January 31:
v Highlanders, Queenstown Recreation Ground - 18.00

Bulls:

Saturday, February 1:
v Stormers, Peter Mokaba Stadium - 17.00

Cheetahs:

Friday, January 17:
v Shimlas and Griquas, Bloemfontein - TBC

Saturday, January 25:
v Southern Kings, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - 19.00

Saturday, February 1:
v Pumas, Parys - TBC

Chiefs:

Saturday, February 8:
v Reds, Toowoomba Sports Ground - 18.30

Friday, February 14:
v Blues, Rotorua - 18.00

Crusaders:

Friday, February 7:
v Highlanders, Motueka - 17.30

Friday, February 14:
v Hurricanes, Levin - 16.00

Hurricanes:

Saturday, February 1:
v Blues, Memorial Park, Masterton - 15.00

Saturday, February 8:
v Melbourne Rebels, Simonds Stadium, Geelong - 21.30

Friday, February 14:
v Crusaders, Levin - 16.00

Highlanders:

Friday, January 31:
v Brumbies, Queenstown Recreation Ground - 18.00

Friday, February 7:
v Crusaders, Motueka - 17.30

Friday, February 14:
v Waratahs, Hunter Stadium - 19.30  

Lions:

Friday, January 24:
v Leopards, Ellis Park - TBC

Saturday, February 1:
v Southern Kings, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - TBC

Friday, February 7:
v the Sharks, Ellis Park - TBC

Melbourne Rebels:

Saturday, February 1:
v Waratahs, Albury Sports Ground - 17.00

Saturday, February 8
v Hurricanes, Simonds Stadium, Geelong - 19.30

Friday, February 14:
v Reds, Ballymore - 19.40

Reds:

Saturday, February 8:
v Chiefs, Toowoomba Sports Ground - 18.30

Friday, February 14:
v Melbourne Rebels, Ballymore - 19.40

Sharks:

Saturday, January 25:
v Saracens, Allianz Stadium - 14.30; 16.30 SA time

Friday, February 7:
v the Lions, Ellis Park - TBC

Stormers:

Saturday, February 1:
v Bulls, Peter Mokaba Stadium - 17.00

Friday, February 7:
v Southern Kings, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - 19.00

Saturday, February 15:
v Boland, Wellington - TBC

Waratahs:

Saturday, February 1:
v Melbourne Rebels, Albury Sports Ground - 17.00

Friday, February 7:
v Blues, Allianz Stadium - 19.30

Friday, February 14:
v Highlanders, Hunter Stadium - 19.30  

Western Force:

Friday, February 7:
v Samoa A, Lark Hill Sportsplex - 19.30

Friday, February 14:
v Pampas XV, Arena Joondalup - 19.30

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