Reigning Super Rugby champions the Queensland Reds resume preparations to become just the fourth team in history to win back-to-back titles.
The 2011 champions return from their Christmas break for pre-season training at Ballymore on Monday.
Only three times in the professional Rugby era has a team won back-to-back Super Rugby titles – the Blues (1996 and 1997), Crusaders (the only team with three consecutive titles - 1998, 1999 and 2000, as well as 2005 and 2006), and the Bulls (2009 and 2010).
The Reds are just over a month away from their opening trial game of 2012 - coming against the Brumbies in Cairns on February 11 - while their Super Rugby season opener against the Waratahs kicks off next month on February 25 in Sydney.
For the second straight year the Reds will commence their pre-season campaign in North Queensland after Cairns successfully hosted the Reds opening trial match of 2011 in what turned out to be a preview of the eventual Super Rugby Final against New Zealand's Crusaders.
The Reds will be stationed in Cairns for five days from February 9 to 14, with their 2012 trial match to be played at Barlow Park.
Following the match in Cairns the Reds will travel to Perth for their second and final trial, against the Western Force on February 16, before beginning their Super Rugby season with a highly anticipated grudge match against the Waratahs in Sydney on February 25.
Reds Head Coach Ewen McKenzie said the team was excited to return to Cairns.
"Our preparations in Cairns at the beginning of 2011 were extremely beneficial to the overall success we had during the Super Rugby season and the support we received from our fans in North Queensland was quite special," McKenzie said.
"Everyone enjoyed the time we spent in Cairns last year so we've chosen to extend our trip for 2012 to include a five-day mini camp, allowing us some extra time to engage with our fans in North Queensland.
"Rugby continues to grow in Queensland and to see the Cairns community embrace the Reds and our sport as much as they have has our coaching and playing group excited to spend time with the locals again during our February visit.
"The Cairns community has a deep appreciation and understanding of Rugby and I look forward to seeing everyone coming along to support us in what is our only trial match in Queensland for 2012."
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