Super Rugby takes three-week break- 11 Jun 2012 00:00:00
This weekend saw a temporary regular season break for 2012 Super Rugby, the first time in the tournament’s 17-year history that the campaign has been interrupted before a champion has been crowned.
The June Internationals took place this weekend, and will continue for the next two weeks, with the All Blacks, Springboks, Pumas and Wallabies entertaining Northern Hemisphere opposition in a new test window that hails a return to ‘traditional tours’ for the first time in the professional era.
No less than 100 Super Rugby players will be in action for their respective test sides over this time.
The All Blacks final 30-man squad features 10 Crusaders, six Highlanders, five Chiefs, five Blues and four Hurricanes representatives.
The Springboks 32-man squad boasts 13 Bulls, 11 Sharks, three Western Province players, and two players from both the Golden Lions and Cheetahs.
The Wallabies 39-man training squad has 11 players from the defending Super Rugby champions, 11 NSW Waratahs, eight Brumbies, five Melbourne Rebels and four Western Force players.
The remainder of the players and teams have differing schedules over this time, with the bulk of the Super Rugby franchises taking the time to reassess and rest tired bodies.
In Australia, a series of matches over the June International window have been planned by the Brumbies, Reds and Western Force to keep fit throughout the three-week break.
The Brumbies will play Six Nations Grand Slam champions Wales at Canberra Stadium on June 12th, the Reds will play the Hurricanes at Stockland Stadium in the Sunshine coast on June 15th, while the Force will play a South Australian invitational side on June 22th at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.
In New Zealand, the North versus South fixture has been revived (for the first time since 1995), and will feature former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie and former Highlanders coach Tony Gilbert coach the North and South Island teams respectively.
Featuring Super Rugby players not in the All Blacks squad, the match will be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 10th.
Ireland, who will play the All Blacks in a three-test series, will not play any midweek matches or fixtures against Super Rugby franchises.
The touring English will play two South Africa Barbarians teams featuring a host of Super Rugby, Sevens and provincial players, with the South Baa-Baas playing at Kimberly on June 13th, while the North Baa-Baas play at Potchefstroom on June 19th.