Due to the continual presence and constraints of COVID-19 in both Australia and Japan, the Queensland Reds and Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights have confirmed their proposed 2021 fixture has been postponed.
Queensland was scheduled to travel to Japan in December this year and play the Wild Knights at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Saitama but the presence of COVID-19 in both countries remains a risk.
The match was set to be the inaugural interaction between the two teams following the announcement of their partnership in December last year.
Reds General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “It is unfortunate we’ve had to postpone our match this year with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan.
“I know both organisations take this pandemic seriously and much consideration was made into this decision including player and staff welfare in relation to travel and associated quarantine requirements.
“We remain open to finding an appropriate window between September and December next year to travel to Saitama for our inaugural match and we thank the Wild Knights for their valued partnership and continued support.”
Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights General Manager Hitoshi Iijima said: “We are very much looking forward to make this great event happen in the future and continue to seek and discuss the suitable timeframe for it.
“We are grateful the Reds remain interested in travelling to Saitama between September and December in 2022 for the match and we are very hopeful to find the best timing for this opportunity.
“We thank the Queensland Reds for all their efforts and support to Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights so far.”
The Queensland Reds and Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights will continue to work proactively together to promote and contribute to the development of each team and region in both Queensland and Saitama Prefecture.
It follows Panasonic shifting their home base to Saitama Prefecture located in the Greater Tokyo Area which shares a sister state relationship with Queensland.
Saitama Prefecture was Queensland’s first sister state relationship formed in 1984 and remains one of the most active among the many currently still operating between the two countries.