NZ get early Super Rugby start
Auckland - Eight matches have been confirmed for the New Zealand 2012 Super Rugby pre-season campaigns, with all teams playing each other while the only non-kiwi combatant will see the Rebels entertain the Chiefs and Crusaders.
According to the allblacks.com website, the bulk of the Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks are expected to be back in training in late January.
The weekend before the season proper begins will see all five New Zealand franchises in action, with the only location confirmed at this stage being a Chiefs v Hurricanes match in Taupo.
The Blues and the Crusaders kick off round one of Super Rugby on Friday, February 24 at Eden Park, with the Chiefs and Highlanders playing at Waikato Stadium the following day. The Hurricanes open their season against the Stormers at Newlands.
New Zealand pre-season fixtures:
Rebels v Chiefs - Skilled Stadium
Crusaders v Highlanders - Rugby Park Greymouth
Blues v Hurricanes - Whangarei
Highlanders v Chiefs - Queenstown
Hurricanes v Crusaders - Mangatainoka
Blues v Highlanders - TBC
Rebels v Crusaders - TBC
Chiefs v Hurricanes - Taupo