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By ARU Media Unit
The 2013 Australian Super Rugby Season has been officially launched in Melbourne, three days out from the opening match between the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels and the Emirates Western Force.
The Season launch, held at Sketch in Docklands, saw all five Australian Super Rugby captains and coaches gather ahead of what is the biggest season in Australian Rugby since the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Now in its third season of the five-team national conference format, Super Rugby will have the added excitement this June of all five Australian franchises taking on the iconic British & Irish Lions when they tour Australia for the first time in 12 Years.
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, who was on hand to officially launch the 2013 Australian Super Rugby season, said there was high anticipation for the year ahead amongst Rugby fans and Australian sports fans.
“With the Lions touring our shores this year there is certainly an added element of excitement surrounding Super Rugby in 2013,” Mr Pulver said.
“On top of 11 local derbies in the first 10 rounds and 20 over the course of the season our Australian Super Rugby sides will have the chance to tackle the best of the best from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
“The last time the Lions toured in 2001 the Rebels and the Force didn’t exist, which adds an even greater element of precedent and excitement to the upcoming season.
“Last year we saw the Reds qualify for the finals as defending champions.
“Hopefully this year we will see all five of Australian sides will step up another gear with one of them bringing the Super Rugby Championship trophy back to Australia.”
The 2013 Super Rugby Season will kick-off on Friday night at AAMI Park in Melbourne when the Rebels host the Force, then on Saturday night the 2012 Australia Conference champions, the St.George Queensland Reds fly to Canberra to the tackle the University of Canberra Brumbies.
Once again Fox Sports will show every match of the 2013 Super Rugby Season Live and uninterrupted in HD, while fans can catch up on all the weekend’s action on Sunday mornings with Triple M’s The Ruck returning in 2013.
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!