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Warm up S14 matches begin

Published: 1:51PM Monday January 16, 2006 Source: One Sport

New Zealand teams start their pre-season campaigns on Saturday ahead of kick off in the inaugural Super 14 on Friday 10 February.

The country's five teams - the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes - will play a total of 10 pre-season matches in Australia and around New Zealand, including Queenstown, Oamaru and Masterton.

The 2005 Super 12 champion Crusaders meet the Highlanders in Queenstown on Saturday 21 January, followed by a trip to Melbourne for their game against competition newcomers the Western Force a week later. On Saturday 4 February, the Crusaders will play the Waratahs in Sydney.

One of last year's beaten semifinalists, the Hurricanes, travel to Masterton for the first of their two warm-up matches, against the Brumbies on Friday 27 January. The Hurricanes conclude their pre-season schedule against the Chiefs in Rotorua on Thursday 2 February.

Meanwhile, the Blues kick off their pre-season campaign with back-to-back matches in Australia - against the Reds in Brisbane and against last year's beaten finalists the Waratahs in Gosford. On Thursday February 2 the Blues host the Western Force in Auckland.

The Highlanders' second match at the Queenstown Events Centre is against the Chiefs on Thursday 26 January followed by a match against the Reds in Oamaru on Thursday 2 February.

The Chiefs play two pre-season matches, against the Highlanders and Hurricanes.

2006 Super 14 warm-up match schedule (kick off times local) 

21 January
Highlanders v Crusaders at Queenstown Events Centre, 5.30pm
Blues v Reds at Ballymore, Brisbane, 7.30pm

26 January
Highlanders v Chiefs at Queenstown Events Centre, 6.00pm

27 January
Hurricanes v Brumbies at Memorial Park, Masterton, 5.30pm

28 January
Blues v Waratahs at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, 7.30pm
Crusaders v Western Force, Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne, 7.30pm

2 February
Chiefs v Hurricanes at International Stadium, Rotorua, 2.30pm
Blues v Western Force at Eden Park, Auckland, 6.00pm
Highlanders v Reds at Centennial Park, Oamaru, 6:00pm
4 February
Crusaders v Waratahs at Aussie Stadium, Sydney, 7.30pm