For the first time in a decade, the St.George Queensland Reds will play the New South Wales Waratahs in a pre-season fixture in country Queensland.
The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) today announced the Reds will head west to Dalby on Friday 24 January next year, in conjunction with Dalby Rugby Club and Downs Rugby.
Queensland last hosted the Waratahs in country Queensland back in 2009 for a pre-season fixture at Gold Park in Toowoomba.
In the lead-up to the match, the Reds will hit the Darling Downs earlier in the week with community activities and open training sessions scheduled throughout the region.
QRU CEO David Hanham said: “We’re pleased to have the Queensland Reds in Dalby and we thank Western Downs Regional Council for making this event possible.
“This team represents all regions across Queensland and it’s important for us to connect with communities like Dalby.
“The Darling Downs has a strong participation base and is a breeding ground for Rugby talent.
“Harry Hoopert played for the Dalby Wheatmen and is a proud Jondaryan product, while Hamish Stewart hails from Toowoomba,” said Hanham.
Dalby Mayor Paul McVeigh said: "We are very pleased to support Queensland Rugby Union in bringing the Reds and Waratahs out to our fabulous region for the first time, to see why we're so proud to call this place our home.
"We are anticipating around 3,000 people to come and watch this event, many of whom will be travelling from other regional centres.
"While the visitors are here, they will be shopping at our local businesses, which will be a big help to our towns with the current drought conditions being experienced in the Western Downs region.
"In addition, it is an opportunity to provide a fun, family-friendly local event for our social connection.
"Council looks forward to working with local clubs and community groups to prepare for this exciting event,” said Mr. McVeigh.
Following the match in Dalby, Queensland travel to Canberra the following week to play the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Round 1 of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
The Reds return from a two-week tour of Africa and Argentina in Round 4 to host the Sunwolves in their opening home game at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 22 February at 6:15pm AEST.
Further details about the pre-season fixture in Dalby and community activities across the region in the lead-up to the match will be announced soon.