Historic game of three halves set for Pukekohe

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Both games will be played in a 'Game of Three Halves' format with three 30-minute periods at Navigation Homes Stadium on Friday 17 February. Sky Super Rugby Aupiki reigning champions, the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, will face the nib Blues and the Waratahs. Following this game, the Gallagher Chiefs will face the Blues.

It will be the first time a Super Rugby Aupiki side has faced a Super W side from Australia. 

These games will provide a great test for the teams ahead of their respective competitions commencing at the end of February, and a fantastic opportunity for fans to get an early taste of the best from both clubs.

"It is great we are able to take this exciting occasion to Pukekohe and for our Counties-Manukau based fans to see some of their local players in action,” said Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis.

“It’s a short drive from the Waikato and Auckland city and we are hoping for a big turnout to support the Chiefs Rugby Club in an exciting new concept.

“The past couple of years have been challenging with restrictions around crowds, so it is great to be able to promote this special occasion and to see the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa and Gallagher Chiefs playing in this exciting format.”

Counties Manukau Head of Operations Dale Tucker said: "We are excited to be hosting the Gallagher Chiefs and the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa here at Navigation Homes Stadium next month. Covid-19 squashed our chance of hosting a regular season game, so to not only get the Gallagher Chiefs and Blues but also three Super Rugby level women’s teams right here in Pukekohe is huge."

"This is a great opportunity for our local community to see their heroes in their own backyard. Also, having All Blacks and Black Ferns running out on Navigation Homes Stadium will be great."

The women’s game will kick off at 2.40pm with nib Blues vs Waratahs, and offer the chance to see the Australian Super W runner-up, the Waratahs play and provide an insight into the possible future of the women's game with a Pacific-wide competition similar to the men's game.

The men's game will begin at 6pm, with family-friendly times allowing younger fans to enjoy an evening at the game.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday 26 January from: https://chiefs.flicket.co.nz

NSW women's coach Campbell Aitken said the games benefited their programme as it would be the first time they had been able to get away as a team during pre-season work.

"It's a huge year for us as we're desperately trying to get our trophy [Super W]  back, and this tour provides us with the chance for our team to test themselves against players they've never played before.

"This tour is something that the Waratahs tried to get across the line last year. We reached out to the New Zealand franchises to try and get some matches in, but unfortunately, Covid travel restrictions put paid to that.

"We can't wait to get over there, bring the two competitions closer together, and challenge ourselves in a different environment."

The Gallagher Chiefs DHL Super Rugby Pacific season begins on 24 February against the Crusaders in Christchurch, while the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season begins the following day against the Hurricanes Poua in Levin.

Pre-Season at Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe:

Gates Open: 2.15pm 

Women's Kick Off: 2.40pm

nib Blues vs Waratahs

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa vs nib Blues

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa vs Waratahs

Men's Kick Off: 6pm

Gallagher Chiefs vs Blues


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