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Super Rugby Pacific is scheduled for 2022 and a new format confirmed for New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia

Super Rugby Pacific will start another time for the world’s most exciting professional rugby competition next February with a 15-week regular season and a refreshed finals format, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) have declared.

Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika will join the best Australian and New Zealand rugby sides in a new-look Super Rugby Pacific competition from 2022. The 12-team competition was rubber-stamped on Monday, with the debut season to kick off on 18 February 2022.

Super Rugby Pacific will kick off a new era for the southern hemisphere’s leading professional rugby competition next February with a 15-week regular season and a refreshed finals format, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) have declared.

The 2022 season will be historic for rugby in the Pacific region with the presentation of the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika, who will join New Zealand’s five clubs and Australia’s five clubs in a 12-team competition.

Delivered by the joint venture partnership between NZR and RA, Super Rugby Pacific will start on February 18, 2022, with an eight-team playoff series culminating in a final on June 18, 2022.

The old Super Rugby competition, which likewise featured teams from South Africa, Argentina, and Japan, has now officially been disbanded – a result that would have eventually happened even without the staggering impacts of Covid-19.

Australia and New Zealand will hold their five professional franchises for the new Pacific competition. The Western Force had been axed from Super Rugby in 2017, yet they were brought once more into the fold for Super Rugby AU and the trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition once Covid hit.

The Force, backed by billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest, made the Super Rugby AU finals this year and are relied upon to get stronger because of their strong financial position.

Fijian Drua had recently contended in Australia’s National Rugby Championship, winning the title in 2018. It is still yet to be affirmed where the Fijian Drua home matches will be played. Moana Pasifika will play their home fixtures principally in New Zealand.

Teams will play 14 regular season matches with each franchise to host seven of them. The fixture will be set out in a way where each team plays each other once, alongside three double-up matches. Those double-up matches will have an accentuation on derbies.

The top eight sides on the ladder will qualify for the finals, which will run more than three weeks in a basic quarter-final, semi-final, final format. The 18-week season will be finished preceding the July international window.

Games will be broadcast on Stan Sport, with the Saturday night match in each round likewise simulcast free-to-air on the Nine Network.

“This is a game-changer for Rugby in the Pacific, and indeed, the rest of the Rugby world,” Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said. “We have seen the brilliant rugby that Fiji plays in all formats of the game and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world.”

New Zealand’s general manager of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said the Super Rugby Pacific competition denoted an intriguing new phase.

“The trans-Tasman rivalries are crucial to our sport in the southern hemisphere, and the existing Super Rugby clubs have built a wonderful history and legacy over 26 years,” Lendrum said.

More local derbies

Teams will play each other once across the 14-week regular season, alongside playing three teams twice, with an additional focus on delivering more local derbies following the achievement of Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa.

The final series will see the top eight teams fight it out, with quarters, semis, and final as follows:

– Quarter-finals – one vs eight, two vs seven, three vs six, and four vs five with the top-ranked team hosting.

– Semi-finals – top-ranked quarter-final winner hosts against lowest-ranked quarter-final winner and second-highest ranked quarter-final winner hosts third-highest ranked, quarter-final winner.

– Final – top-ranked semi-final winner hosts the other semi-final winner.

The Fiji Rugby Union will declare where the Fijian Drua home matches will be played shortly, while Moana Pasifika will play their home fixtures primarily in New Zealand.

“We’re thrilled to confirm the competition model for next year and beyond and want to thank NZR for their hard work and effort along with Fijian and Moana Pasifika for their patience, and the effort that has been put into their proposals,” said RA CEO Andy Marinos.

“I want to thank Mike and Martin at Nine and Stan for their endorsement of the competition as well as Foreign Minister Marise Payne and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their terrific support.

“This is a game-changer for Rugby in the Pacific, and indeed, the rest of the Rugby world. We have seen the brilliant rugby that Fiji play in all formats of the game and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world.”

NZR general manager professional rugby and high-performance Chris Lendrum added: “We are entering an incredibly exciting new phase for rugby in the Pacific region. The trans-Tasman rivalries are crucial to our sport in the Southern Hemisphere, and the existing Super Rugby clubs have built a wonderful history and legacy over 26 years.

“Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua will add an enormous amount of energy, skill, and talent to the competition, not to mention a passionate support base. The Pasifika nations have added so much to world rugby over the years and this is an opportunity to enhance the standing of Pasifika rugby.

“Fans are going to see incredible skill and physicality, and the regular season and finals series will undoubtedly unearth the best side in the tournament.”

The 2022 season will be historic for rugby in the Pacific region with the presentation of the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika who will join New Zealand’s five clubs and Australia’s five clubs in a 12-team tournament.

Delivered by the joint venture partnership between NZR and RA, Super Rugby Pacific will start on 18 February 2022 with an eight-team playoff series culminating in a final on 18 June with NZR’s long-standing broadcast partner Sky giving live and exclusive access to every one of the 91 matches.

Super Rugby Pacific will begin next February with a 15-week regular season followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final.

The 2022 season will be historic with the introduction of the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika in a 12-team competition.

Delivered by the joint venture partnership between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia, Super Rugby Pacific will finish in a final on June 18, 2022.

The 12 teams will play 14 regular season matches with each team to host seven matches.

Teams will play eight teams once and three teams twice with an accentuation on derby matches.

The conference system has been deserted with and there will be one points table with teams ranked one to 12 dependent on competition points.

The top eight teams on the points table will qualify for a three-week playoff format.

The quarterfinals will be seeded, so the top-ranked team hosts the lowest at home, etc.

Top-ranked quarter-final winners will have the semi-finals, and the top-ranked winner of the semi-finals will host the final.

The competition will be an 18-week season finished preceding the July international window

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby and High-Performance Chris Lendrum are satisfied with what the two unions have come up with.

Fiji Rugby Union will declare where the Fijian Drua’s home matches will be played in the coming days, while Moana Pasifika will play their home fixtures essentially in New Zealand.

Super Rugby Pacific’s two new entrants will play each other twice in the first two seasons with different models where teams play twice still up in the air by a cultivating interaction dependent on 2021 results, with an accentuation on local derbies.

Moana Pasifika Chair Savae Sir Michael Jones is anticipating the historic season.

“Moana Pasifika acknowledges and thanks New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia for their commitment to building an exciting Super Rugby Pacific competition and the round-robin format definitely makes it even more attractive. It is a historic time for rugby in the Pacific and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Fiji Rugby CEO, John O’Connor, in the interest of the Fijian Drua, said they are excited to see a format that offers all partaking teams a fair shot at the playoffs.

“The South Pacific has traditionally been the game’s talent goldmine globally, but NZR and RA’s commitment will help us provide professional pathways for our players right here at home. We will repay the steadfast faith shown by our partners by bringing high octane flair and skills that are uniquely Fijian to Super Rugby Pacific.

“The Fijian Drua eagerly look forward to announcing the next milestones in our journey, which will include assembling a squad of players who will light up the competition and delight fans week in, week out.”

The Super Rugby Pacific draw will be declared in the coming weeks.

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