Super Rugby Pacific: A guide to the unique Super Round in Melbourne
Super Rugby Pacific made a thrilling return last weekend in an opening round jam-packed with running rugby and exciting tries.
The competition continues this weekend with the much-anticipated Super Round in Melbourne, where all teams showcase their talents in the Australian city.
Planet Rugby takes a closer look at the make-up of the unique round of action in the southern hemisphere’s premier club competition.
Double header on double header
The Super Round sees all teams descend on AAMI Park in Melbourne for a festival of rugby this week.
The weekend’s action will see three consecutive days of double headers, beginning with Crusaders facing the Highlanders on Friday, March 3 and ending with Western Force up against the Reds on Sunday, March 5.
Also known as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, AAMI Park’s construction was finished in 2010 and was the first purpose-built rectangular stadium in the city, seating around 30,000 people.
The ground plays host to several teams across a number of sporting disciplines, including the Melbourne Rebels in rugby union, Melbourne Storm in rugby league and A-League sides Melbourne Victory FC and Melbourne City FC.
The stadium underwent an upgrade earlier this year courtesy of a $25 million injection from the Victorian Government to improve video screens, lighting as well as player and broadcast facilities.
Matches to watch
Rebels v Hurricanes
All eyes will be on the hosts as they welcome the Hurricanes in their first clash against a New Zealand side in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific.
The Rebels‘ campaign did not get off to a hot start after they lost 34-27 to the Western Force in Perth last weekend. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes looked fantastic in their 47-13 dismantling of the Reds in round one.
It will be an uphill battle for the underpowered hosts, who will do brilliantly to get any points from their visitors this weekend.
Blues v Brumbies
This is probably the match-up of the weekend and a replay of last season’s dramatic semi-final that saw the Blues sneak past their Australian opponents to qualify for the final, where they fell short to the Crusaders.
The Aucklanders are looking to make the next step this season and started with a monster 60-20 win over the Highlanders and looked extremely dangerous with ball in hand, particularly Mark Telea.
Meanwhile, the Brumbies also had a good start in round one and claimed a hard-fought 31-25 win over the Waratahs in a thrilling Australian derby. At times Stephen Larkham’s side looked very good going forward, making for a fascinating match-up this weekend.
READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific: Freddie Burns gets his first start against the Crusaders in the Super Round
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