Super Rugby Pacific will kick off a new era 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 announced.
The 2022 season will be historic for rugby in the Pacific region with the introduction 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 kick off on 18 February next year with an eight-team playoff series culminating in a final on 18 June with all 91 matches live and exclusive on Sky in New Zealand.
Features of the Super Rugby Pacific competition structure are:
- 12 teams (in alphabetical order), being the Blues, Brumbies, Chiefs, Crusaders, Fijian Drua, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Melbourne Rebels, Moana Pasifika, NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds and Western Force
- 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 emphasis on derby matches
- There will be one points table with teams ranked one to 12 based on competition points
- The top eight teams on the points table will qualify for a three-week playoff format
- Quarterfinals will be – 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 with the top ranked team playing at home
- Top ranked quarter-final winners will host the semi-finals, and top-ranked winner of the semi-finals will host the final
- 18-week season all completed prior to the July international window
Fiji Rugby Union will announce where the Fijian Drua’s home matches will be played in the coming days, while Moana Pasifika will play their home fixtures primarily in New Zealand. Super Rugby Pacific’s two new entrants will play each other twice in the first two seasons with other examples where teams play twice to be determined by a seeding process based on 2021 results, with an emphasis on local derbies.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said:
"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 the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika for their patience, and the effort that has been put into their proposals.
"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 Fijians play in all formats of the game and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world.”
The Super Rugby Pacific draw will be announced in the coming weeks.