No Toulon showdown for the champion Chiefs
The much anticipated showdown between the club champions of the northern and southern hemispheres will not take place this season after the Chiefs announced their Super Rugby warm-up games today.
It was hoped the Super Rugby-winning Chiefs would take on Heineken Cup champions Toulon in France at some point early next year, however, both failed to get the required clearance from their respective national bodies.
Other factors were also taken into account such as travel logistics, the availability of top players and injuries.
It was reported that Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal had offered to pay all expenses for the Chiefs, including a match fee, in return for the New Zealand side fielding a full-strenght team.
Instead the Chiefs will travel to Queensland to face the Reds on February 8 before taking on the Blues in Rotorua a week later on Feburay 14th.
Speaking today, Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman regretted the Toulon clash was a non-runner: "The Toulon match was always contingent on us being able to take a full strength squad, however due to our circumstances, this has changed, so now we will put our focus on our existing pre-season campaign and an important season ahead.
"We have not ruled out playing matches off-shore in the future."