Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have announced the match draw for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific tournament, which includes three straight days of double-headers in Melbourne.
The exciting new 12-team format will have 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 one bye week in either round seven, eight or nine 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 they host the Brumbies on Friday, 18 February in Auckland. The season starts in Australia on the same evening with the Waratahs hosting the Hurricanes in Sydney. The Fijian Drua will play their first match against the Blues 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 in Christchurch, and an Australian derby with the Force hosting the Rebels in Perth.
In an innovative move for the tournament, round two will feature a ‘super round’ with all matches to be played in Melbourne between 25-27 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 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 their 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.
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC AT A GLANCE
- 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 Melbourne: Round 2, Friday-Sunday 25-27 February @ AAMI Park Melbourne Park.
- Moana Pasifika vs Waratahs
- Blues vs Highlanders
- Chiefs vs Hurricanes
- Crusaders vs Reds
- Rebels vs Brumbies
- Fijian Drua vs Force.
Click HERE for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific match schedule.