Chiefs to play in Rotorua

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The crowd at the Chiefs v Bulls super rugby match at the Rotorua International Stadium in May 2015. FILE
The crowd at the Chiefs v Bulls super rugby match at the Rotorua International Stadium in May 2015. FILE

The Chiefs will play a preseason game in Rotorua next month.

It is one of two trial games in preparation for their 2016 Investec Super Rugby campaign which kicks off against the Crusaders in Christchurch in six weeks.

The two-time Investec Super Rugby champions will play their first preseason fixture against the Waratahs at 4pm on Friday, February 12 at Rotorua International Stadium.

The following week they take on the Blues, at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe, with kick-off scheduled for 5.05pm on Friday, February 19.

In addition to assisting the Chiefs in preparing for their on-field performances, holding the two trial games within the Chiefs region contributes to the team's objective to connect with their valued fan-base.

The two games follow the Chiefs Summer Roadie later this month, which will see the team engage with communities in more than 18 towns and cities from Opotiki to Waihi.

The decision to hold the two trial games in Rotorua and Pukekohe was determined in view of several factors including the regional spread of games and the existing infrastructure at potential venues within the Chiefs region. Despite extensive efforts to hold a game at the Tauranga Domain, ultimately the lack of infrastructure and time constraints rendered it unsuitable.

Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman said in light of that, Rotorua International Stadium became the logical venue.

"We're very aware of the huge following the Gallagher Chiefs have in Tauranga and it remains an important market for us. We are disappointed that preliminary plans to hold a preseason game at the Tauranga Domain did not eventuate, but ultimately the lack of infrastructure and associated costs of delivering a venue to the required standard became prohibitive.

"We have a strong desire to play games in Tauranga in the future and will continue working with the Tauranga City Council and other stakeholders to make this a reality. That aside we are delighted to be returning to ECOLight Stadium for the first time since 2012 and to Rotorua International Stadium.

"These two venues are purpose built for rugby and are home to many passionate and loyal Gallagher Chiefs supporters," said Flexman.

Tickets for the two Gallagher Chiefs trial fixtures against the Waratahs and Blues will be on sale from February 2. Chiefs season members will be granted free entry to the games.

Memberships are available now, for further information please visit chiefs.co.nz or call 0800 4 CHIEFS.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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