Rugby Union

Six-week, 10-team trans-Tasman Super Rugby set to be played in 2021

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

A six-week, 10-team trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition is days away from being signed off by Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby powerbrokers.

While some element of trans-Tasman Super Rugby was tipped to return next year, it was expected to simply be the winner of Super Rugby AU facing the winner of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Jake Gordon and the Waratahs will again face the best of New Zealand next year.Credit:Getty Images

The financial windfall from the increase in home games – combined with the new $114 million broadcast deal – will give the clubs a chance to keep their heads above water in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Kiwi teams bring a great audience, they bring great attendance to our matches in Queensland – the Crusaders, Blues, Hurricanes, Highlanders, Chiefs – they all bring a market," Queensland Rugby Union chief executive David Hanham said.

"You just have to watch the [Bledisloe Cup] game here on Saturday where we had 38,000, which was close to COVID capacity.

"Trans-Tasman is absolutely the right future for us and I know we're excited to have the Kiwi rivalries in there and to test ourselves against the best teams in the world. That's what people want to see."

While the full trans-Tasman draw is expected to be revealed either at the end of this week or the start of next week, RA unveiled the Super Rugby AU draw on Wednesday.

The Reds and Waratahs will dominate the newly minted free-to-air slots, as rugby's two heartland states lead Nine’s push for a television ratings lift.

Queensland will play six of their 10 matches in the live free-to-air slots and NSW have been given five prime-time spots.

The Brumbies, despite being reigning Super Rugby AU champions, will play four matches in the coveted slot, the Rebels will play three, while the Force will feature just twice.

"There's compromises across the board but overall, we're happy with the draw that's been put together," Brumbies chief executive Phil Thomson said.

"We understand the reason behind the way the draw has eventuated through Nine and what their requirements are. At this stage, we can live with the four games on free-to-air on the Saturday night."

All bar one match shown on Nine will feature a traditional heartland state. The only game that won't is the round-three clash between the Rebels and Brumbies.

"Clearly there has been a couple of iterations before today’s final arrangement and I think from our perspective we’re very happy with the way it’s landed for us as a business," Waratahs chief executive Paul Doorn said. "But also for how it looks for the team. Really delighted actually."

The Reds and Waratahs will also have the honour of being the first two Super Rugby teams to feature live on free-to-air television when they open the season on Friday, February 19.

That night will feature a double-header to kick off the season, as the action will then move west, where the Force will host the Brumbies.

At the end of the 10-week season, the team that finishes on top of the ladder will progress straight through to a home grand final.

The second- and third-placed teams will then square off, with the winner progressing to the decider, as was the case this year in the inaugural Super Rugby AU.

Super Rugby AU 2021 draw

Round 1

Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs, Friday 19 February, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Western Force v Brumbies, Friday 19 February, HBF Park, Perth

Round 2

Queensland Reds v Melbourne Rebels, Friday 26 February, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brumbies v NSW Waratahs, Saturday 27 February, GIO Stadium, Canberra

Round 3

NSW Waratahs v Western Force, Friday 5 March, Venue TBC

Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies, Saturday 6 March, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Round 4

Western Force v Melbourne Rebels, Friday 12 March, HBF Park, Perth

Brumbies v Queensland Reds, Saturday 13 March, GIO Stadium, Canberra

Round 5

Melbourne Rebels v NSW Waratahs, Friday 19 March, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Queensland Reds v Western Force, Saturday 20 March, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Round 6

Brumbies v Western Force, Friday 26 March, GIO Stadium, Canberra

NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds, Saturday 27 March, Venue TBC

Round 7

NSW Waratahs v Brumbies, Friday 2 April, Venue TBC

Melbourne Rebels v Queensland Reds, Saturday 3 April, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Round 8

Melbourne Rebels v Western Force, Friday 9 April, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Queensland Reds v Brumbies, Saturday 10 April, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Round 9

Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels, Friday 16 April, GIO Stadium, Canberra

Western Force v NSW Waratahs, Saturday 17 April, HBF Park, Perth

Round 10

Western Force v Queensland Reds, Friday 23 April, HBF Park, Perth

NSW Waratahs v Melbourne Rebels, Saturday 24 April, Venue TBC

Qualifying Final

Saturday 1 May

Final

Saturday 8 May

*All kick off times to be confirmed

Sport newsletter

Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Sport

Source: Read Full Article