‘A wonderful initiative’: 33-year first as Wales to take on Queensland Reds in ‘nod to traditional tours’


Thirty-three years after going down to Queensland at Ballymore, Warren Gatland’s Welsh side will complete their tour of Australia in July by once again taking on the Reds in Brisbane.

The Reds announced on Saturday evening that Les Kiss’ side will take on the Welsh on Friday, July 19 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. The clash will be played a day before the Wallabies take on Georgia in Sydney, meaning Kiss won’t have Joe Schmidt’s chosen internationals at his disposal.

Gatland, who has commenced a rebuilding mission with Wales since returning to the Northern Hemisphere country in late 2022, said he was pleased to have a third match on tour.

“We’re excited for the opportunity we have with our two Tests in Australia in July,” Gatland said in a statement.

“We know the Wallabies will be hurting after the Rugby World Cup but Australia is a tough place to go and play rugby and we’re expecting a fired up side led by new head coach Joe Schmidt.

“We were keen to have a third fixture while in Australia, so we are really pleased that we have been able to arrange that with the Queensland Reds to finish up our tour Down Under.”

Warren Gatland’s Welsh side will take on Queensland following their two Tests against the Wallabies. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

WRU Executive Performance Director Nigel Walker OBE added: “Facing the Queensland Reds in Brisbane will provide the perfect climax to a summer on the road for Wales’ senior men’s side.  

“Tests against South Africa, in London, and Australia in Sydney and then Melbourne mean we should arrive in Brisbane battle-hardened and ready for action.

 “The game against the Reds is a nod to traditional tours when Test teams regularly took on club sides during their travels and we look forward to celebrating the end of a tough season in style at Suncorp Stadium on July 19.”

It’s the first time the Reds will have played an international side since smashing Scotland 41-5 at Ballymore.

You’ve got to go another 13 years further back since the last time the Reds took on Wales, as John Eales commenced his storied career with a 35-24 win.

“It’s a wonderful initiative and Queensland rugby fans will make something special of it,” Eales said in a statement.

“I know for me, facing Wales as a Reds player in 1991 was the first top international side I played against. It was huge.

“That was because there is so much history and heritage to these Queensland clashes against international sides, including wins over the All Blacks (1980) and Lions (1971).

“This match against Wales in July will be a great incentive for Queensland players and a celebration of the heritage of Queensland rugby.”

Reds chief executive David Hanham, who together with general manager Sam Cordingley has long been trying to bring back tours, said the fixture would be a good opportunity to expose the next generation of stars.

“We want International sides to see a tour game against the Reds as an essential part of their tours to Australia,” he said.

“With the British and Irish Lions game against Queensland next year locked in, and the new Nations Championship coming in 2026 there are lots of opportunities for our fans to watch the Reds face top-flight opposition outside of Super Rugby.

“It’s also a vital part of our plan to get our players playing more games.”

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