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By ARU Media Unit
The draw for the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season has been revealed, with the opening weekend delivering two blockbuster Australian derbies on 13-15 February next year.
After collectively winning more matches than ever before in the 2014 Super Rugby season, the five Australian teams will be keen to continue their winning form as they take on the best players from the world’s top-ranked Rugby nations, New Zealand and South Africa.
The RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels will get the Asteron Life Super Rugby season underway when they take on this year’s runners-up and most successful team in the history of Super Rugby, the Crusaders, at AMI Stadium, Christchurch on Friday 13 February.
The nation’s capital will then play host to the first Australian derby of the season when the Brumbies host the St.George Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium at 7.40pm, Friday 13 February.
Round one will also see Sydney get its first taste of afternoon Rugby when the 2014 defending champions, the NSW Waratahs, take on the Western Force at Allianz Stadium on Sunday 15 February.
In round four, Reds fans will have the chance to see the highly anticipated match-up between high-profile Rugby recruits Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau as the Reds host the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 7 March.
Round 11 of the 2015 Super Rugby draw (Anzac Day weekend) will provide another highlight, with all 10 Australian and New Zealand teams in action, with a mixture of local derbies and Trans-Tasman clashes.
On Friday 24 April, the Chiefs will host the Western Force at Waikato Stadium before the Brumbies take on the Highlanders in Canberra.
The Waratahs will host the Rebels at ANZ Stadium on Anzac Day, Saturday 25 April, as they contest the Weary Dunlop Shield, which is named in honour of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop who represented Australia and Victoria in Rugby and served as a medical officer in World War II.
The Anzac Day weekend will be capped off by an afternoon match between the Reds and Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 26 April.
In Round 15, all eyes will be on the Waratahs as they host the Crusaders in a Super Rugby Grand Final re-match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 23 May.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said he was looking forward to another terrific season of Super Rugby.
“Super Rugby is the world’s most exciting provincial Rugby competition, producing some incredible attacking Rugby across all three conferences.”
“In 2014, our five Super Rugby teams collectively won more matches than ever before in the competition’s history, and the Waratahs claimed their maiden Super Rugby title.
“With the highlight of the international Rugby calendar, the Rugby World Cup, occurring next year, all players will by vying for national selection, so we’re sure to see some impressive individual as well as team performances.
“I encourage all Rugby fans to get behind their team and sign up as a member in 2015 as we look forward to another Australian success story next year,” Mr Pulver said.
Each team will play 16 regular season matches – eight home and eight away (plus two byes).
The 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season will finish a month earlier than this year to allow national teams adequate time to prepare for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with the regular season running from Friday 13 February to Saturday 13 June, and the Finals Series taking place over a three-week period, from Friday 19 June to Saturday 4 July.
All 125 matches of the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season will be broadcast live and uninterrupted in High Definition on FOX SPORTS.