UPDATE: Force to head to Hunter Valley hub for Super Rugby AU kick-off

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

UPDATE: Western Force coach Tim Sampson hopes the WA side will be able to play all of their scheduled home games as they prepare for the Super Rugby AU competition.

A round two July 11 clash will come almost three years to the day after the Force's last Super Rugby clash, also against the Waratahs, in Perth.

With WA border restrictions forcing any visitors to go into two weeks of quarantine, the Force will be based in the Hunter Valley for the opening half of the competition.

It is hoped those restrictions will be eased later in the competition and if all goes to plan, the Force would play the final four matches of the season in Perth.

Coach Tim Sampson said he was looking forward to heading to the Hunter Valley, a region the team has built a relationship with in recent times.

"The Hunter Valley have been great and they're very accommodating and welcoming to us," he said.

"We've formed some good relationships with us. It's a good area, it's a good rugby heartland, they love their rugby so it'll be good to be amongst that region as well."

"We plan for different scenarios there.

"We're Looking to park up on the east coast for those first two or three rounds but obviously out of our hands, be good to get back and go back to back home games, four in a row, it'd be great to have that here in Perth."

Sampson said he was confident the Force would be competitive in the new competition and hinted at the addition of some overseas players for the competition.

"There's been so much player movement worldwide and we'e been contacted by numerous players and player managers," he said.

"There might be some good news over the next few day for us and we'll just leave that for a few days.

"There's still 30 days out and if guys do join us it's a pretty good prep time, with four weeks lead in."

The Force aren't the only team looking for clarity on some home matches as the Super Rugby AU competition nears.

NSW are yet to finalise a deal for their Sydney games, with Bankwest and the SCG looming as the front runners.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney said on Thursday that he was happy leaving that debate to others.

The competition was given the green light on Wednesday after a broadcast deal was finalised with FOX SPORTS for the competition.

Rugby AU CEO Rob Clarke emphasised the advantage of consistently friendly time zones, a far cry from the challenges fans have faced with South African time zones in regular Super Rugby.

Today is another exciting day for Rugby fans in Australia as we unveil the full competition draw for Vodafone Super Rugby AU," he said.

“One of the main features of the draw is the consistent Friday and Saturday night prime time viewing slots on FOX SPORTS, which rugby fans can set their watches to for the next 12 weeks.

"There will be no need to set the alarms to get up and watch your team in the middle of the night.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back the Western Force and seeing them take on their Australian rivals once again. We know there is a lot of excitement in the west and we cannot wait
to see them in action.

“We know our teams will be desperate to get their hands on the silverware and players will be out to put their best foot forward for Wallabies selection at the end of the season.”

The Super Rugby AU season kicks off on Friday July 3, with all matches LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports.

Super Rugby AU Fixture

All times AEST, unless otherwise stated.

ROUND ONE

Friday July 3, 7:05pm - Reds vs Waratahs, Suncorp Stadium

Saturday July 4, 7:15pm – Brumbies vs Rebels, GIO Stadium

Bye - Force

ROUND TWO

Friday July 10, 7:05pm – Rebels vs Reds, AAMI Park

Saturday July 11, 7:15pm – Waratahs vs Force, TBC, Sydney

Bye - Brumbies

ROUND THREE

Friday July 17, 7:05pm – Reds vs Force, Suncorp Stadium

Saturday July 18 – Waratahs vs Brumbies, Sydney

Bye - Rebels

ROUND FOUR

Friday July 24, 7:05pm – Rebels vs Waratahs, AAMI Park 

Saturday July 25, 7:15pm Force vs Brumbies, TBC

Bye - Reds

ROUND FIVE

Friday July 31, 5:05pm local, 7:05pm AEST – Force vs Rebels, HBF Park, Perth

Saturday August 1, 7:15pm - Brumbies vs Reds, GIO Stadium

Bye - Waratahs

ROUND SIX

Friday August 7, 7:05pm – Rebels vs Brumbies, AAMI Park

Saturday August 8, 7:15pm – Waratahs vs Reds, Sydney

Bye - Force

ROUND SEVEN

Friday August 14, 5:05pm local, 7:05pm AEST – Force vs Waratahs, HBF Park, Perth

Saturday August 15, 7:15pm - Reds vs Rebels, Suncorp Stadium

Bye - Brumbies

ROUND EIGHT

Friday August 21, 5:05pm local, 7:05pm AEST – Force vs Reds, HBF Park, Perth

Saturday August 22, 7:15pm  – Brumbies vs Waratahs, GIO Stadium

Bye - Rebels

ROUND NINE

Friday August 28, 7:05pm – Brumbies vs Force, GIO Stadium

Saturday August 29, 7:15pm - Waratahs vs Rebels, TBC, Sydney

Bye - Reds

ROUND 10

Friday September 4, 7:05pm – Rebels vs Force, AAMI Park

Saturday September 5, 7:15pm – Reds vs Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium

Bye - Waratahs

FINALS

Saturday September 12- Qualifying final

Saturday September 19 - Final