Whangarei’s Semenoff Stadium will be the venue for the Blues clash against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday 5 March 2022.
The Blues are thrilled to venture back north for a strong competition game against Australian rivals.
“We have travelled north for pre-season and non-competition games, and it has been an ideal destination for training camps,” said Blues CEO, Andrew Hore.
“We are committed to develop the pathway for players and coaches in our region and Northland are a fundamental part of that mix. I want to thank Northland Rugby Union and Whangarei District Council for the tremendous support to enable us to bring this fixture to life in front of a full stadium of our Northland fans.“
Whangarei District Council Venues and Events Manager Carina de Graaf said: “Hosting a Super Rugby game is a significant achievement for the region.
“The Blues have a special place in Northlanders’ hearts. Watching our local players representing the Blues on their home turf is the ultimate experience.
“This event will be huge for our community. The timing is perfect for whānau and allows plenty of travel time. It will be beneficial to the local business community, who have greatly suffered over the last couple of years. We can’t wait to see Whangārei full of visitors that weekend enjoying our cafes, restaurants and beaches.”
Northland Rugby Union CEO, Cameron Bell said: ”This is fantastic news for the Northland Rugby community, the chance to see some of our local heroes running out onto Semenoff Stadium in the Blues will be awesome after two years of Covid affected viewing.
“We welcome the Rebels from Melbourne in hearty Northland fashion, but warn them that our pride and passion which is right behind our Blues.
“The Northland Rugby Team are already deep into planning with the Blues to ensure that the event is a fantastic family-friendly day and we are looking at some really cool initiatives to help schools in our region.”
The game will be staged with a 2.35pm kick-off to attract as many families as possible to the occasion.
“Our team will be on hand working with the communities of the north as we know the locals will come out in droves for this game – and hopefully a number of fans from Auckland and North Harbour will take the chance for a weekend away in this very special part of our region,” said Hore.
The Blues have played three Super Rugby games at Whangarei previously, in 2001 when they lost to the Cats 26-23, beating the Reds 62-20 in 2003 and outlasting the Cheetahs 29-23 in 2011.
While the Blues have not played a competition game in the region since, they have played pre-season games in Kaikohe and on the border in Mahurangi, and have staged training camps in Tutukaka and Kerikeri.
Tickets will go on sale in early December, with a special offer for families. There will also be a ticket opportunity which will help raise funds for local schools and junior rugby clubs in the region with details to be released next week.