A blockbuster local derby between Moana Pasifika and the Blues at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Friday, 18 February 2022 will kick-off a revised Super Rugby Pacific draw announced by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) on Thursday.
– Moana Pasifika v Blues to kick-off the Super Rugby Pacific season at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland
– New Zealand-based and Australia-based teams to play the opening eight matches on their sides of the Tasman
– Super Round moved to Round 10 for blockbuster ANZAC weekend in Melbourne
– Full round-robin, single points table, home and away rivalry matches retained
The competition will get under way on Australian soil the same night, with the Waratahs hosting the Fijian Drua, while a Super Saturday start in New Zealand sees the Chiefs hosting the Highlanders in Hamilton and the Crusaders welcoming the Hurricanes to Christchurch.
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.
Click here for the full 2022 Super Rugby Pacific draw
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 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.
Family friendly afternoon kick-offs are a feature of the draw with 23 daytime matches in total, including ten in New Zealand. 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 live and exclusive on Sky including an eight-team play-off series which will kick-off in the first week of June.
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, all 12 Super Rugby clubs, and 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.”
RA 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.”
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