Queensland Reds to host Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights at Ballymore in November

Thu, Aug 24, 2023, 12:00 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) is excited to confirm the Queensland Reds will host the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights at Ballymore Stadium later this year.

Following last year’s inaugural Queensland-Saitama Shield fixture in Japan, the Reds and Wild Knights will face-off again on Saturday 4 November at 3:05pm AEST in what will be a historic occasion being the first capped Queensland fixture at the iconic venue since 2010.

QRU General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “This year’s match at Ballymore continues the long history and genuine connection between two proud organisations.

“Last year’s fixture was an overwhelming success, and we thank the Wild Knights for the warm hospitality shown to us.

“We aim to provide that same experience for the Wild Knights later this year and we look forward to celebrating another successful fixture.”

Reds head coach Les Kiss said: “We’re excited to welcome the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights to Brisbane later this year.

“Coached by Robbie Deans, they’re a quality outfit and will not only provide a great spectacle for fans at Ballymore, but an important hit-out for our Reds players as part of our 2024 Super Rugby Pacific pre-season preparations.

“The fixture will also be a great development opportunity. Eight players made their Queensland debut in last year’s match over in Japan with two later awarded contracts, which further reinforces the value of this partnership for both clubs.”

Wild Knights General Manager Hitoshi Iijima said: "We are delighted to be playing an international fixture with the Queensland Reds following our previous encounter at Kumagaya, Saitama in October 2022.

"We express our deepest gratitude to the State of Queensland, Saitama Prefecture, and all other related parties for their support and cooperation.

"We hope this fixture between the two teams from Super Rugby Pacific and League One will help both teams to grow and promote friendship and goodwill between the two States.

"We also hope this match will contribute to the regional development of Queensland and Saitama Prefecture. We look forward to having your support on the ground."

Wild Knights head coach Robbie Deans said: "It is with great pleasure that we are able to confirm the visit of the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights to Brisbane in late October 2023 to celebrate the opening of the redeveloped Ballymore facility.

"In October 2022, the Reds visited Kumagaya to celebrate the completion of our new training facility. The visit concluded with an entertaining, high-scoring festival match against the Wild Knights, which the Reds won 55-30.

"We look forward to furthering our relationship and being part of a new era in Queensland rugby at Ballymore Oval under the tutelage of new head coach Les Kiss."

The 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.

The two sides played off for the first time in 1991 with a Queensland team which featured the likes of Tim Horan, Jason Little, John Eales and Paul Carozza facing the Saitama XV in Japan that included Wild Knights GM Hitoshi Iijima.

Queensland were victorious in the first edition of the Queensland-Saitama Shield in 2022, as the Reds ran-out 55-30 winners at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.

A ticket pre-sale for this year’s Wild Knights fixture at Ballymore will be available exclusively for 2024 Reds members on October 9.

General public tickets for the match will go on-sale from October 11.

For information regarding Corporate Hospitality please email corporate.sales@redsrugby.com.au

Register your interest for 2024 Reds memberships today via https://am.ticketmaster.com/redsrugby/2024membership

Queensland-Saitama Shield
Queensland Reds v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights
Saturday 4 November at 3:05pm AEST – Ballymore Stadium

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