Brisbane Global Rugby Tens Pool A features this year’s surprise package the Panasonic Wild Knights from Japan’s Top League alongside the Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds and Blues.
That draw sets up a fitting rematch between the Blues and Reds following their 17-17 draw at this year’s inaugural tournament.
Blues Head Coach, Tana Umaga, said “We’re happy with our draw and excited to be involved. I’m looking forward to being on the ground in Brisbane this time.”
“It’s going to be really hot so, I’m glad that there will be day and night games.”
There will also be a rematch between the Robbie Deans-coached Wild Knights and the
Rebels – with the Rebels seeking revenge after being sensationally upset by the thrilling Japanese side 17-12 earlier this year.
Featuring New Zealand heavyweights the Crusaders and Hurricanes and Australia’s strongest Super Rugby club the Brumbies alongside sevens Olympic gold medalists Fiji, the 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens ‘pool of death’ doesn’t take much spotting.
That said, there will be no easy pathway to the finals for any of the elite 12 men’s and four women’s teams competing at the showcase season-opening spectacular at Suncorp Stadium over Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10.
Star-studded French heavyweights Section Paloise (Pau) – whose line-up will feature former All Blacks Conrad Smith, Colin Slade, Jamie McIntosh, Benson Stanley and Frank Halai and former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen – have been drawn in Pool B alongside the defending-champion Chiefs, the Highlanders and the NSW Waratahs.
Queensland Reds star James Slipper said he was relieved his team had avoided Fiji and the rugged looking Pool C. “We’ve got a tough pool but I am pretty excited about it,” Slipper said. “I was a bit
worried we’d end up in Pool C with the Fijians.”
The four-team women’s pool was also drawn into slots that will determine the order of their fixtures. The expanded women’s event will feature a full round robin between the Brumbies Women, Melbourne Rebels Women, Queensland Women and New South Wales Women’s teams.
“Today’s draw underlines the fact that rugby fans are in for a spectacular experience in 2018,” tournament chief executive Rachael Carroll.
“The men’s competition will be just as action-packed and thrilling as it was earlier this year, while the expanded women’s tournament will be a real highlight.
2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens Pools
Pool A: Panasonic Wild Knights; Melbourne Rebels; Blues; Queensland Reds
Pool B: Section Paloise (Pau); NSW Waratahs; Chiefs; Highlanders
Pool C: Fiji; Brumbies; Hurricanes; Crusaders
Women: Queensland; New South Wales; Melbourne Rebels; Brumbies