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2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa draw announced

Tū Kōtahi Aotearoa trophy

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 24: The Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy on display during an unveiling at New Zealand Rugby on July 24, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the draw for Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 with 10 weeks of derby matches to kick off on 26 February next year and finish with a winner-takes-all Final for the Tū Kōtahi Aotearoa trophy.

The second edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa will kick off at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday, 26 February where the Highlanders will host the defending champion Crusaders, with the Hurricanes and Blues rounding off Round 1 at Stadium in Wellington the following day.

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The Chiefs will have the opening round bye before hosting the Highlanders at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on Friday, 5 March.

All 21 Super Rugby Aotearoa matches including a Final on Saturday, 8 May, will be live and exclusive via new competition naming rights sponsor Sky.

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said the 2021 season would build on the excitement generated by the first edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

“We saw how exciting this home and away format was last year, and all five teams now know what’s required to compete and win every week. With the availability of the All Blacks locked in for round one there are going to be fireworks from the opening whistle.

“It’s fantastic to have some certainty for fans, players and partners after what’s been a year of uncertainty. Confirming the 2021 draw is a significant milestone and a positive step for rugby in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have our broadcast partner come on board as naming rights sponsor.”

Lendrum also confirmed NZR is working closely with Rugby Australia on a trans-Tasman competition and would announce details shortly.

A feature of the Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 draw is four family-friendly Sunday afternoon kick-offs, two at Eden Park in Auckland and one each at Wellington’s Stadium and at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

Each team will have four home matches and two byes with the Final between the top two qualifying teams scheduled for Saturday, 8 May.

“We’ve listened to the fans and our players and added a Final, which we think will provide a fitting climax to the competition,” Lendrum said.

NZR Head of High-Performance Mike Anthony confirmed the All Blacks would be available from Round 1.

“The later start date for Super Rugby Aotearoa means our players will be ready to go on the start line, which is a good result for everyone. From a high-performance point of view it will once again give us an ideal platform to assess our top playing talent going head to head in a high-quality competition.”

Super Rugby Aotearoa fact sheet:

2021 Super rugby Aotearoa draw

7:05 pm Friday 26 February Highlanders v Crusaders Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
7:05 pm Saturday 27 February Hurricanes v Blues Sky Stadium, Wellington
7:05 pm Friday 5 March Chiefs v Highlanders FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
7:05 pm Saturday 6 March Crusaders v Hurricanes Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
7:05 pm Saturday 13 March Crusaders v Chiefs Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
3:35 pm Sunday 14 March Blues v Highlanders Eden Park, Auckland
7:05 pm Saturday 20 March Hurricanes v Chiefs Sky Stadium, Wellington
3:35 pm Sunday 21 March Blues v Crusaders Eden Park, Auckland
7:05 pm Friday 26 March Highlanders v Hurricanes Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
7:05 pm Saturday 27 March Chiefs v Blues FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
ROUND 6 (Easter weekend & Daylight saving ends in New Zealand)
7:05 pm Friday 2 April Crusaders v Highlanders Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
7:05 pm Saturday 3 April Blues v Hurricanes Eden Park, Auckland
7:05 pm Saturday 10 April Highlanders v Chiefs Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
3:35 pm Sunday 11 April Hurricanes v Crusaders Sky Stadium, Wellington
7:05 pm Friday 16 April Highlanders v Blues Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
7:05 pm Saturday 17 April Chiefs v Crusaders FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
7:05 pm Friday 23 April Chiefs v Hurricanes FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
3:35 pm Sunday 25 April Crusaders v Blues Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Bye: Crusaders
7:05 pm Friday 30 April Hurricanes v Highlanders Sky Stadium, Wellington
7:05 pm Saturday 1 May Blues v Chiefs Eden Park, Auckland

Final – Saturday 8 May

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