The ACT Brumbies are confident their round-one fixture will go ahead as scheduled in Canberra despite the city's smoke haze prompting officials to implement a hazardous air quality policy.
Brumbies chief executive Phil Thomson says it is "extremely unlikely" the club will have to move its January 31 clash against Queensland as officials prepare to discuss the new measures.
Super Rugby, World Rugby and Rugby Australia have been working to implement air-quality guidelines for the first time in the sport's history after bushfire smoke in Canberra forced the Brumbies to relocate to Newcastle.
Melbourne has also been hit by the smoke wave this week, while Brumbies staff are monitoring the air quality in Albury ahead of their regional trial match against the Rebels next week.
Super Rugby bosses are expected to speak with the Brumbies on Friday to discuss details and contingency plans for the coming weeks.
But the improving air quality, and apparent lack of an alternative venue for round one, is set to see the Brumbies-Reds match locked in to Canberra Stadium.
"There's a minimal chance of any disruption to round one, I'd say it's extremely unlikely there will be any change to the location," Thomson said. "We had some discussions around contingencies, but now those are extremely unlikely."
The Brumbies restarted training in Canberra on Thursday after moving to Newcastle for a smoke-enforced 10-day coastal getaway.
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The capital's air quality plummeted at the start of the year as smoke from surrounding fires choked the city and forced national league basketball, soccer and baseball to be cancelled, as well as a Big Bash match at Manuka Oval.
The Canberra Raiders moved their NRL pre-season to the Sunshine Coast to get some clean air, but conditions are starting to improve.
One of the biggest issues is the uncertainty of surrounding fires. The Mary's Hill fire is less than 5 kilometres from the ACT border and hot and windy conditions could push it closer to Canberra.
It's understood Brisbane was being considered as a back-up option for the match against Queensland in what could have been a swap of home games for the clubs, with the Brumbies to host the Reds on March 27 instead of January 31.
There are no A-League or NRL games scheduled in Brisbane for the January 31 weekend, but it is believed the stadium will be unavailable due to maintenance work.
Super Rugby broadcasters are also watching the situation given the Brumbies-Reds contest is the first Australian match of 2020 and will be in the new 7.15 timeslot on Friday night.
"Of course it would be nice to play here, but it's round one and you'll be excited anyway," said Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.
"We're really confident it will be played [in Canberra]. There's a bit of rain due, hopefully the areas that need it, receive it so that everyone can get their lives back to normal.
"I'm sure SANZAAR [have a contingency plan], but I'll just concentrate on the footy."
The Brumbies will have an internal trial on Friday, giving McKellar a chance to cast his eye over several players before making selection decisions for the start of the regular season.
SUPER RUGBY TRIAL
January 23: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Greenfield Park, Albury. Game one at 3.45pm, game two at 6.15pm.
SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE
January 31: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.