Heavyweights ready to square off at the Brisbane Tens
Monday, January 15, 2018 allblacks.com Getty Images
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Home town favourites the Reds are in action early – and also involved in a rematch – this time against the Blues, as the traditional rivals look to wrest the upper hand after drawing 17-17 in 2017.
French Top 14 heavyweights Pau – whose line-up features legendary centre Conrad Smith and former All Blacks team mates Colin Slade, Tom Taylor, Frank Halai and Benson Stanley as well as former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen – take their bow against Kurtley Beale’s Waratahs ahead of a mid-evening showdown with the defending champion Chiefs.
“It’s going to be really interesting coming up against all those fellas, that’s for sure,” said Chiefs captain Liam Messam. “There’s no doubt from that line-up that Pau are coming to Brisbane to win it.”
As well as two full rounds of the men’s event, Friday night features two rounds of women’s action as the Brumbies, Rebels, Queensland women and New South Wales women slug it out in pool play.
Play then begins from 1.15pm on Saturday with a final round of pool play followed by elimination playoffs.
In a new format for 2018, the top six teams across all three pools will qualify for finals play. The top two qualifiers will receive a bye into the semi-finals, while teams ranked three to six will contest two qualifying finals.
“Two-day tickets remain by far the best value, but we’re very conscious of catering for all fans so we’ve decided to offer single day tickets,” tournament chief executive Rachael Carroll said.
The move to a day-night format sees play begin on at 2.15pm on Friday afternoon with a clash between 2017 crowd favourites the Panasonic Wild Knights and the Melbourne Rebels. The contest is a rematch of a 2017 pool clash between the clubs, when the Japanese Top League club posted a stunning 17-12 victory.
“The new format means there is a real reward for dominating pool play,” Ms Carroll said. “It’s certainly going to add another level of excitement as teams push for that free pass straight into the semi-finals.”
Playoff matches begin with the first qualifying final at 5.00pm on Saturday and run through to the Grand Final, which will kick off at 7.30pm local time.
“Last year’s final against the Crusaders was a match I’ll never forget,” said Messam, who dedicated the victory to former team mate Sione Lauaki, who tragically passed away on the eve of the match.
“We really wanted to do it for our mate Wax and it was fantastic to pull it off. Suncorp Stadium is an amazing place to play and the atmosphere was incredible. We were all pretty emotional.”
Messam will be joined at the 2018 tournament by rampaging All Blacks wing Julian ‘The Bus’ Savea, former Blues legend Carlos Spencer, former All Blacks tighthead prop Carl Hayman, plus a host of international rugby stars.
NEWS | @BrisbaneTens opening day schedule features crunch games for all five New Zealand teams in action.
MORE: https://t.co/lXovqN0Htt#BrisbaneTens pic.twitter.com/O1K4atBApi— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) January 15, 2018
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