The first nine rounds of the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season will feature Australian and New Zealand derbies after competition organisers unveiled a revamped schedule for 2022 today.
New Zealand’s response to the Omicron outbreak in Australia meant the borders wouldn’t allow the initial draw to be fulfilled.
Instead, the first crossover games are now slated for week 10, when all 12 clubs will converge on Melbourne for a ‘Super Round.’
Watch the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season on Stan Sport, ad-free, live and on demand. Start your seven day free trial here!
The two new Pacific teams will feature on the opening night of the competition on February 18 with Moana Pasifika playing the Blues and the Waratahs taking on Fijian Drua.
The new schedule retains the same competition format announced in November with a full round robin and single points table.
“We’re pleased to be able to confirm the revised draw for Super Rugby Pacific,” Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said.
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“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 on Stan Sport.”
Family friendly afternoon kickoffs are another feature of the draw with 23 daytime games.
NZ Rugby’s Chris Lendrum thanked RA for their “understanding, patience and flexibility.”
“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,” Lendrum said.
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“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.
“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.”
All 91 matches will be shown ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport with Saturday night’s game simulcast free-to-air on the Nine Network.
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