A series of blockbuster Australian derbies will launch the opening round of a revised Super Rugby Pacific draw announced by joint venture partners New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia today.
- Australian-based and New Zealand-based teams to play opening eight matches on their respective sides of the Tasman
- Moana Pasifika v Blues to kick-off Super Rugby Pacific at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland
- NSW Waratahs v Fijian Drua marks first match of new competition on Australian soil
- Super Round moved to Round 10 for ANZAC weekend in Melbourne
- Full round-robin, single points table, home and away rivalry matches retained
The opening round of the new competition will see the NSW Waratahs hosting new side the Fijian Drua on Friday 18 February 2022, followed by Australian derbies with the Queensland Reds v Melbourne Rebels and Western Force v Brumbies on the Saturday night.
A local derby between Moana Pasifika and the Blues at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Friday 18 February 2022 will kick off the revised draw, commencing the start of a new era.
The new schedule retains the same competition format announced in November with a full round robin and single points table but will see the six New Zealand-based teams and six Australian- based teams play their opening eight matches on different sides of the Tasman due to COVID- 19 travel restrictions.
All 12 clubs will converge on Melbourne in Round 10 for a Super Round that will feature a unique celebration of the ANZAC spirit and trans-Tasman fixtures will resume in Round 11 (29 April-1 May). The Super Round Melbourne is being backed by TEG Live, Asia Pacific’s leading live entertainment company and supported by the Victorian Government and Visit Victoria.
Family friendly afternoon kick-offs are a feature of the draw with 23 daytime matches in total.
The revised draw maintains the same key elements of the original draw with each team to play a total of 14 matches during the regular season, 11 round-robin fixtures plus three additional rivalry matches which will see each team play a home and away series against three other teams.
Themed rounds celebrating a Women in Rugby Round, Culture Round, and Heritage Round will also remain on the schedule with confirmation of new dates and other details to be announced early next year.
All 12 clubs will still have their bye in either Round 7, Round 8 or Round 9 providing a fair chance for all teams to recharge as they launch their final push for a place in the Grand Final with all 91 matches ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sport with Saturday night’s game simulcast free-to-air on the Nine Network.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “We’re pleased to be able to confirm the revised draw for Super Rugby Pacific.
“We believe these changes will allow us to navigate the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, while ensuring we maintain the integrity of the draw and the format of the new Super Rugby Pacific competition.
“It’s been a challenging environment over the last two years, but we’re thankful to our teams and our partners in New Zealand Rugby, SANZAAR and our broadcasters for their support as we worked through this process together.
“This is an exciting new era for Rugby in the Pacific and I would encourage all fans to get out and support their teams and sign up to catch all the action on Stan Sport.” NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said it was great to be in a position to provide teams, fans and partners certainty ahead of the 2022 season.
“We are thrilled that we’ve been able to maintain the integrity of the draw with the key elements of Super Rugby Pacific remaining despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19. We believe the full round-robin schedule, the Super Round, bye rounds, Themed Rounds and playoffs were all critical to retain in revising the schedule.
“I’d like to thank Rugby Australia and all 12 Super Rugby clubs, and all our fans and partners, for their understanding, patience and flexibility in ensuring the competition is locked and loaded for 2022. The season opener between Moana Pasifika and the Blues shapes as an historic occasion in Auckland, as does the Fijian Drua’s first match against the Waratahs on the same night.”
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC AT A GLANCE
Friday 18 February: Moana Pasifika v Blues @ Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.
- 12 teams: Moana Pasifika, Fijian Drua, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders, Waratahs, Reds, Force, Brumbies, Rebels
- 14 regular season matches = 11 round-robin matches + 3 rivalry matches
- One bye round per team (all byes in Rounds 7, 8 & 9)
- Season Length: 18 weeks = 15-week regular season + three-week playoff series
- Total Matches: 91
- 8-team playoffs format - QFs: June 3-5; SFs: 10-11 June; FINAL 18 June.
- Round 10, Friday-Sunday 22-24 April @ AAMI Park Melbourne Park.
- Highlanders v Brumbies; Moana Pasifika v Force; Blues v Fijian Drua; Hurricanes v Reds; Chiefs v Waratahs; Crusaders v Rebels.
Australian-based team’s home and away rivalry matches:
Force (A) Rd 1; (H) Rd 6
Drua (H) Rd 2; (A) Rd 8
Reds (H) Rd 5; (A) Rd 7
Waratahs (A) Rd 1; (H) Rd 7
Brumbies (A) Rd 2; (H) Rd 8
Rebels (H) Rd 3; (A) Rd 6
Reds (A) Rd 1; (H) Rd 9
Force (H) Rd 2; (A) Rd 8
Drua (A) Rd 3; (H) Rd 6
Drua (H) Rd 1; (A) Rd 7
Reds (H) Rd 2; (A) Rd 6
Force (A) Rd 4; (H) Rd 9
Rebels (H) Rd 1; (A) Rd 9
Waratahs (A) Rd 2; (H) Rd 6
Brumbies (A) Rd 5; (H) Rd 7
Brumbies (H) Rd 1; (A) Rd 6
Rebels (A) Rd 2; (H) Rd 8
Waratahs (H) Rd 4; (A) Rd 9