The Blues will begin their 2016 Super Rugby season with a free admission game in Pakuranga against the Rebels next month.

The match against the Melbourne-based team will be held at the Pakuranga Rugby Club on Thursday, February 4, kick-off 5.30pm.

It will be coach Tana Umaga’s first chance to watch his team go through their paces, with the franchise saying it was pleased to be able to reach out to the community.

“The communities in Auckland and Northland are our lifeblood and we want to continue to increase our work in our rugby communities,” said Blues Community and Brand Manager Robyn Rowley.

“Last year we brought back curtain-raisers involving local college rugby, which we will continue this year. And when it allowed, the team also trained at some schools.

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“This year we had the opportunity for a home pre-season game which is an ideal chance to give back a little to the community with free entry.”

Pakuranga Rugby Club manager Stephen Hackett said: “It is exciting for the club and especially for the east Auckland community.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to host the Blues in its roots. It is an opportunity for our members and the fans out here to get in behind the match and for them to meet the Blues.”

The Blues’ other pre-season games will be away against the Hurricanes at Eketahuna on Saturday, February 13 and the Chiefs at Pukekohe on Friday, February 19, a week ahead of the season kick-off when they host the 2015 champions the Highlanders at Eden Park.