Australia’s 2023 Super Rugby Pacific preseason kicks off!

Australia’s 2023 Super Rugby Pacific preseason kicks off!

The 2023 pre-season rugby matches are almost upon us! More than a month’s worth of matches begin from January 28, first in Fiji and then across Australia and New Zealand.

All five Australian Super Rugby Pacific franchises compete against other Australian teams, local clubs and teams from New Zealand and Fiji. There is even an Australian state team in the schedule.

Everything will be worth watching, to see how players and teams form, the combinations, playing styles, rustiness, and for the sheer pleasure of watching rugby from the sidelines where you see how fast the sport is, and how little space the players have – things you don’t fully appreciate when all your watching is on TV.

The 2023 Super Rugby Pacific competition itself kicks off on Friday 24 February when the Crusaders play the Chiefs, and the Waratahs play the Brumbies at the brand new Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

A week later, it’s the Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne, where all 12 teams come together to play in six matches scheduled over March 3-5. A great start followed by a great weekend!

The women’s Super Rugby Pacific pre-season program compares well in its scale and some days both men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to play.

Many matches are family fun days. Matches are often free and others may have a small entry fee.

The full schedule is at the bottom.

Good reasons to make a day of it
The Rebels’ match on January 28 is the first ever trial match the Drua have hosted in Fiji, and the first time Super Rugby has been played at Prince Charles Park.

February 11th in Narrabri looks like a good place to be, with a Rugby Festival taking place.

On February 17, NSW Women play in a triple header in Pukekohe, which is also a curtain raiser for the men’s teams Blues vs Chiefs.

On February 18, the Waratahs will play a 40-minute match against each of the Shute Shield teams, with the matches being the first games played at the recently refurbished Concord Oval – the new home of the West Harbor Pirates.

The women’s game on March 11 in Perth is the first time the South Australian women’s team will compete against a Super W team.

Tom Hooper of the Brumbies in action during the fifth Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match between the ACT Brumbies and the Highlanders at GIO Stadium on June 11, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

As in previous years, the assumption continues that surely everyone knows where such-and-such ground is, so sometimes I’ve added suburb, city, postcode and national stadium names. Oddly enough, kick-off times are still considered nice to know rather than essential information, so please take a closer look at the time to discover it. A recipe for disappointment is showing up at night for an afternoon game.

I’d like to think the days of hiding the preseason game schedules in a locked file cabinet are over. A few years ago, the Rebels might have assumed that the only people interested in preseason games were also registered members on their email list. This year, the Reds communicated their information via video rather than text, referencing the major brand partner rather than preseason. My thanks to the Waratahs for providing content on behalf of the Reds that was more accessible.

Finally, the mystery remains about the February 18 in NSW, where “the event will be free and feature a host of match day activations and a meet and greet with the Waratahs team.” If anyone knows what a “host of gameday activations” looks like, then you’re doing better than me. These could be “start-ups” or “ignitions” such as a rocket engine or the installation of an air conditioner or indeed the launch of a rugby team’s season, but perhaps they are “activities”. In the same way that “visitations” can be used to mean “visits” rather than the situation where a ghost or spirit makes its presence felt.

It’s time to get into the spirit of rugby in 2023 – go along, enjoy the rugby and the festive activations!

(Men) Saturday, January 28 Rebels v Fijian Drua, 3pm (FJT) Prince Charles Park, Nadi, Fiji.

(Women’s) Saturday 4 February, ACT Brumbies Super W vs South Australia Black Falcons, 4pm (AEDT), Exies Sports Club, Griffith 2680

(Men’s) Saturday, February 4 NSW Waratahs vs ACT Brumbies, 6.30pm (AEDT), Exies Sports Club, Griffith, NSW 2680.

(Men’s) Saturday, February 4 Western Force vs Queensland Reds – noon, McGillivray Oval (UWA Sports Park), Mt Claremont, Perth, WA 6060.

(Women’s) Saturday 11 February, Rebels v ACT Brumbies, 4.30pm (AEDT), McDonald’s Park (Wagga Equex Centre), Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650.

(Men’s) Saturday 11 February, Rebels v ACT Brumbies, 6.30pm (AEDT), McDonald’s Park (Wagga Equex Centre), Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650.

(Women) Saturday 11 February – NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds, Dangar Park, Narrabri, NSW 2390.

(Men’s) Saturday 11 February – NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds, Dangar Park, Narrabri, NSW 2390.

(Men’s) Thursday February 16, Fijian Drua vs Force, Queensland. No further details.

(Women) Friday 17 February, three x 30 minute matches, from 14:40 (NZT). Blues vs Waratahs; Chiefs Manawa vs Blues; Chiefs Manawa vs Waratahs. Navigation Homes Stadium (Pukekohe Stadium), Pukekohe, NZ.
(Men’s) Saturday February 18, NSW Waratahs vs West Harbor Pirates and Western Sydney Two Blues. 3pm Waratahs v West Harbour; 4pm Waratahs v Western Sydney Two Blues, Concord Oval, Concord, Sydney, NSW 2137.

(Women) Saturday 25 February, Rebels vs Western Force, 5pm (AWST) HBF Park (Perth Oval/Rectangular Stadium), Vincent, Perth, WA 6000.

(Women) Saturday 4 March, Rebels vs ACT Brumbies, time TBC, Albury, NSW.

(Women’s) Saturday 11 March, South Australia v Force, HBF Park (Perth Oval/Rectangular Stadium), Vincent, Perth, WA 6000.

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