The ACT Brumbies are bracing for the heat of the earliest start to Super Rugby season in the competition's history with officials set to announce a January kick-off.
The Brumbies have been penciled in to play their first game of the 2020 season against the Queensland Reds on January 31.
It's also understood the Brumbies could be granted rights to two afternoon fixtures as the club attempts to rebuild crowd support in the capital.
But the earlier-than-usual start to the regular season will catch everyone off guard, with the Brumbies to play the Reds in a Friday night showdown at a time of year usually reserved for cricket.
The Super Rugby season has pushed forward after organisers decided to scrap the four-week mid-competition window to play international games against European opponents.
The June Test matches will now be shifted to July and Super Rugby will move forward to January to accommodate the final year of the existing broadcast deal.
Super Rugby seasons have traditionally started in either February or March since 1996.
Clubs have used January as a crucial training block in the past, mixing trial games with pre-season camps to be fit for round one.
Pre-season games in January in the past have been modified because of extreme heat, including the Brumbies' clash against the Melbourne Rebels on January 26 this year.
But teams will now have to scramble to arrange trials just days after players return from their Christmas holiday to ensure they're ready to start the season.
The 2020 campaign with start at a time of the year when temperatures are nudging 40 degrees and players will have to adjust quickly to avoid being left behind.
It's understood Super Rugby bosses are finalising details for the season schedule, which will come at a crucial time for Australian rugby.
Crowds dropped across the competition this year, prompting the decision to axe the Japan Sunwolves from 2021 and beyond.
The opening round of Super Rugby will clash with the final days of the Australian Open tennis tournament and the end of the Australian summer of cricket, which includes the high-rating Big Bash.
The popular Sydney Sevens, which will be doubly important in an Olympic Games year, has will be played at the new Parramatta Stadium on February 1-2.
The Brumbies have also been working with Super Rugby bosses and broadcasters in the hope of securing afternoon fixtures during Canberra's colder months.
Canberra crowds were at one of their lowest points in Brumbies history this season despite the team's end-of-season surge to the finals.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is rebuilding his squad after the departure of veterans Christian Lealiifano, David Pocock, Henry Speight, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter and Rory Arnold.
Speight will return with the Reds in round one, but he will be facing a very different Brumbies side as the club ushers in a changing of the guard.
McKellar has spent part of the off-season working with NRL coaches to get ideas to help the Brumbies snap a 15-year title drought.
McKellar picked the brains of Brisbane Broncos mentor Anthony Seibold and Melbourne's Craig Bellamy as part of his off-season research.
The Brumbies have a handful of contracts still to fill, with announcements expected in the coming weeks.
SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE 2020
January 31: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm