- Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua to launch new era for Super Rugby Pacific
- Super Round with all matches to be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne in Round 2
- 91 matches at fan-friendly kick-off times and competition-wide themed rounds
Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have today announced the match draw for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific tournament. The exciting new 12-team format will see the incumbent five Australian teams and five New Zealand teams joined by newcomers Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika.
The 18-week tournament will kick-off on 18 February with the final to be played on 18 June. Each team will play 14 regular season matches comprising one match against each of the other teams plus an additional match against three of the other teams, with an emphasis on in-territory derby matches.
Each team will have seven home matches and each team will have one bye week in either Round 7, Round 8 or Round 9 providing a level playing field for all teams in the lead up to the Finals. The top eight teams on the table after the regular season will qualify for the three-week finals playoff.
Moana Pasifika will have the honour of kicking-off Super Rugby Pacific when it hosts the Brumbies on Friday 18 February in Auckland. The season kicks-off in Australia the same evening with the Waratahs hosting the Hurricanes in Sydney. The Fijian Drua will play their first match against the Blues who will host them in Auckland on Saturday 19 February.
The blockbuster first round will also deliver a classic southern derby between the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa champion Crusaders and the Highlanders at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, and an Australian derby with the Force hosting the Rebels at HBF Park in Perth.
In an innovative move for the tournament Round 2 will feature a ‘Super Round’ with all matches to be played in Melbourne on Friday 25, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 February. The six matches, delivered as three double-headers across the three days, will all be played at AAMI Park creating a weekend festival of rugby in the city. The Super Round in Melbourne is being backed by TEG Live, Asia Pacific’s leading live entertainment company and is supported by the Victorian Government and Visit Victoria.
Super Rugby Pacific will also embrace diversity with a Women in Rugby round celebrated in Round 3, a Culture Round in Round 6, and a Heritage Round in Round 12. The five Australian teams and five New Zealand teams will also square off for an ANZAC Round in Round 10 across the weekend of 22/23 April.
In 2022 due to ongoing pandemic issues Fijian Drua will play a limited number of matches in Fiji and will be based in New South Wales, while Moana Pasifika will play all its home matches in Auckland where they will be based. It is hoped that in the future many more matches will be played in the Pacific Islands.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “It’s fantastic to be able to confirm our draw for the 2022 competition, and I’d like to thank our teams, broadcasters, New Zealand Rugby and SANZAAR for their corporation and collaboration in getting to this point.”
“Super Rugby Pacific is fresh and exciting as we look to provide fans a new game-day experience every time they go to a match, all at family-friendly kick-off times. It will be a Rugby extravaganza at our first-ever Super Round in Round Two in Melbourne, with all six games at AAMI Park over one weekend. “
“We will also host an ANZAC, Heritage, Culture and Women in Rugby Round, as we acknowledge, recognise and celebrate the communities who make our game so great, and I’m excited to see this play out during match days,” added Marinos.
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said the draw was easy to understand and a level playing field for the teams involved; “The draw reflects the new look and feel of the competition whether it’s the historic opening match at Mt Smart Stadium, the ‘Super Round’, the traditional rivalries that have built up over more than 20 years, or the first time Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua go head-to-head.”
“We have two new clubs who are building competitive squads right now, and ten other clubs who are excited by a fresh challenge. I think the inaugural season of Super Rugby Pacific will be a true celebration for rugby in the Pacific and will showcase the immense playing and coaching talent in the region. We can’t wait to get started next February.”
The tournament will update the ‘To Be Confirmed’ venues in the near future.
Click HERE for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific match schedule
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC AT A GLANCE
Format: 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 derby [rivalry] matches
One bye round per team (all byes in Rounds 7,8 & 9)
8 team playoffs format (QFs: 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5)
Total Matches: 91
Season Length: 18 weeks = 15-week regular season + three-week playoff series
Opening match: Friday 18 February: Moana Pasifika v Brumbies @ Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.
Super Round: Round 2, Friday-Sunday 25-27 February @ AAMI Park Melbourne Park.
Moana Pasifika v Waratahs; Blues v Highlanders; Chiefs v Hurricanes; Crusaders v Reds; Rebels v Brumbies; Fijian Drua v Force.
Women in Rugby – Round 3 (4-5 March)
Culture Round – Round 6 (25-26 March)
ANZAC Round – Round 10 (22-23 April)
Heritage Round – Round 12 (6-8 May)