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Super Rugby 2022 format confirmed, includes Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua

The format for the 2022 Super Rugby season has been confirmed with Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua joining the five New Zealand and Australian sides.

Moana Pasifika during the cultural challenge before the match between Moana Pasifika and the Maori All Blacks 2020.
Moana Pasifika during the cultural challenge before the match between Moana Pasifika and the Maori All Blacks 2020. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

By RNZ Pacific

Super Rugby Pacific will start 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 tournament.

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

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 emphasis on derby matches.

The conference system has been abandoned with and 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.

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

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

The competition will be an 18-week season completed prior to the July international window

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby & High Performance Chris Lendrum is pleased with what the two unions have come up with.

“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 athleticism, and the regular season and finals series will undoubtedly unearth the best side in the tournament.”

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.

Moana Pasifika Chair Savae Sir Michael Jones is looking forward to 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.”

Sir Michael Jones after being Knighted
Moana Pasifika Chair Savae Sir Michael Jones Photo: © www.Photosport.nz 2017

Fiji Rugby chief executive, John O’Connor, on behalf of the Fijian Drua, said they are thrilled to see a format that offers all participating 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 announced in coming weeks.

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