Rugby Australia has confirmed its adapted five-team version of Vodacom Super Rugby will get under way on 3 July.
The confirmation of the return-to-play date comes after RA and Fox Sports settled on a deal to broadcast the new spin-off tournament.
RA did not reveal the figure of the updated deal for the reduced Super Rugby competition, but it is believed to be a significant reduction on its original deal.
According to reports, the agreement reached on Wednesday is also just for the Super Rugby competition, with a separate deal yet to be finalised for any Test matches this year and then for 2021 and beyond.
The Reds and Waratahs will open the season at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, 3 July, followed by a match between the Brumbies and the Rebels in Canberra on 4 July.
The Western Force will play their first game in week two of the competition, based in an east-coast hub.
Teams, who will all start on zero points after the Super Rugby shutdown in March, will play each other twice before a two-week playoff series, culminating in a grand final on 19 September.
The competition will be played without crowds for the immediate future unless the advice around Covid-19 restrictions changes.
‘We are excited to announce the return of professional rugby in Australia and the kick-off of Super Rugby AU on July 3,’ RA CEO Rob Clarke said.
‘Our focus is now back where it should be, getting Super Rugby AU up and running next month and watching our five Australian teams go head to head in week after week of Aussie derby action.
‘Fans can also expect to see something different during the new season, as we use the opportunity to innovate and push the boundaries and we look forward to showcasing a new brand of rugby throughout this 12-week competition.’
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