Super Rugby will pack twice the punch in 2021 with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) announcing today a six-week Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament which will kick off on 14 May.
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman will feature 10 Super Rugby clubs, five from New Zealand and five from Australia, playing 25 matches over five weeks before a Final on Saturday 19 June. All 26 matches will be live and exclusive on TV.
The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders will play five matches against the Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force including two home matches each in New Zealand.
All teams will also play two away matches, while their fifth will be part of a ‘Super Round’ featuring all Round 3 matches being played at one location, over one weekend.
NZR and RA will announce kick-off times, dates and venues for Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as well as the process that will be used to select the location of the ‘Super Round’ in due course.
The Final will be played between the top two teams after the five weeks of matches on the combined competition ladder with the team who finished first earning home advantage for the decider.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said:”Super Rugby Trans-Tasman is a great result for fans on both sides of the Tasman and is testament to the strength of the relationship between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia.
“It’s been a testing time for rugby in both countries, but also a chance to reimagine the game in our part of the world for 2021. The result is an exciting and innovative new competition, which will benefit fans, players, broadcasters and Super clubs.
“We all know how special the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is when it comes to sport and this tournament will add another exciting chapter. The banter between Rob Clarke and I has already begun and I’m sure fans will feel the same.”
RA interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “This is a truly historic day for Rugby in the southern hemisphere, with the first-ever Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby competition.
“This will generate enormous excitement across both countries with some of the best players in the world set to challenge each other after the conclusion of Super Rugby AU and Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa.
“It will be a really exciting new product for our 2021 broadcast partners, Stan and Nine, and I know fans right around the world will be glued to their screens and devices to watch it all.
“The Super Round is also great initiative with one lucky city to host all 10 teams on one weekend in a Super Rugby extravaganza.
“I’d like to thank Mark Robinson and his team at New Zealand Rugby for working so closely with us. Bring on 2021!”
*Super Rugby Trans-Tasman 2021 draw
Round One (May 14-15)
Crusaders v Brumbies; Western Force v Chiefs; Melbourne Rebels v Blues; Highlanders v Queensland Reds; NSW Waratahs v Hurricanes
Round Two (May 21-22)
Chiefs v Brumbies; Western Force v Highlanders; Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels; Queensland Reds v Crusaders; Blues v NSW Waratahs
Round Three – Super Round (May 28-29)
Blues v Brumbies; Hurricanes v Western Force; Melbourne Rebels v Highlanders; Queensland Reds v Chiefs; NSW Waratahs v Crusaders
Round Four (June 4-5)
Brumbies v Hurricanes; Crusaders v Western Force; Chiefs v Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds v Blues; Highlanders v NSW Waratahs
Round Five (June 11-12)
Brumbies v Highlanders; Blues v Western Force; Melbourne Rebels v Crusaders; Hurricanes v Queensland Reds; NSW Waratahs v Chiefs
Saturday 19 June
*Draw subject to change