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Super Rugby – The Ins & Outs

Full list of transfers for each Super Rugby side ahead of the 2019 season.

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Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

With the 2019 Super Rugby not too far away, we’ve pulled together a full list of all the transfer activity for each team.

There certainly has been no lack of activity across all teams although the South African sides seem to have the least amount of transfer activity with the Lions, Sharks & Stormers all only adding 1 new name to their 2019 rosters. Melbourne Rebels recruitment team look to have had a very busy and fruitful transfer period adding several household names to their squad for the forthcoming season.

Check out the list of transfers (to date) below:

BLUES

The main transfer news for the Blues ahead of the 2019 season will be the return of Ma’a Nonu and the departure of Jerome Kaino.

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In

Levi Aumua (Chiefs)
Jed Brown (Tasman)
Ezekiel Lindenmuth (Auckland)
Ma’a Nonu (Toulon)
Harry Plummer (Auckland)
Marcel Renata (Hurricanes)
Tom Robinson (Northland)
Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland)
Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (Chiefs)

Out

Lyndon Dunshea (Auckland)
Bryn Gatland (Highlanders)
Sione Havili (Tasman)
Terrence Hepetema (Bay of Plenty)
Jordan Hyland (Northland)
Matthew Johnson (Southland)
Jerome Kaino (Toulouse)
Antonio Kiri Kiri (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Daniel Kirkpatrick (Auckland)
Orbyn Leger (Counties Manukau)
Pauliasi Manu (Sunwolves)
Tumua Manu (Chiefs)
Matiaha Martin (Counties Manukau)
George Moala (Clermont)
Ben Nee-Nee (North Harbour)
Glenn Preston (North Harbour)
Kara Pryor (Sunwolves)
Isaac Salmon (Tasman)
Mike Tamoaieta (North Harbour)
Murphy Taramai (North Harbour)
Tamati Tua (Northland)
Ross Wright (Northland)

BRUMBIES

The Brumbies will be boosted by the big name signings of Wallabies Peter Samu and James Slipper but will certainly miss the presence of Ritchie Arnold in the 2nd row.

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In


Murray Douglas (Hurricanes)
Vunipola Fifita (Canberra Vikings)
Len Ikitau (Canberra Vikings)
Bayley Kuenzle (Southern Districts)
Noah Lolesio (Canberra Vikings)
Toni Pulu (Chiefs)
Tom Ross (Canberra Vikings)
Pete Samu (Crusaders)
Irae Simone (Waratahs)
James Slipper (Reds)

Out

Robbie Abel (Auckland)
Ben Alexander (retired)
Richie Arnold (Yamaha Jubilo)
James Dargaville (North Harbour)
Mees Erasmus (Rebels)
Lolo Fakaosilea (Kintetsu Liners)
Kyle Godwin (Connacht)
Nic Mayhew (North Harbour)
Isi Naisarani (Rebels)
Michael Oakman-Hunt (Canberra Vikings)
Faalelei Sione (Manawatu)
Andrew Smith (Retired)
James Verity-Amm (released)

VODACOM BULLS

Some excellent business has been carried out by the Bulls in the off-season. Some familiar names will make their way back onto South African soil via the Bulls this season including former Springboks captain Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits.

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In

Schalk Brits (Saracens)
Stedman Gans (Sevens)
Cornal Hendricks (free agent)
Dylan Sage (sevens)
Paul Schoeman (Cheetahs)
Rosko Specman (Sevens)
Muller Uys (Western Province)
Duane Vermeulen (Toulon)

Out

Shaun Adendorff (Aurillac)
Francois Brummer (Zebre)
Ruben van Heerden (Sharks)
Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh)
Adriaan Strauss (retired)
Dries Swanepoel (Cheetahs)
Jamba Ulengo (released)

CHIEFS

The Chiefs certainly have more high profile exits than they do entrants this season. They have lost lots of Super Rugby experience in the form of Liam Messam, Tim Nani-Williams & Charlie Ngatai to name a few.

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In


Jack Debreczeni (Rebels)
Tumua Manu (Blues)
Laghlan McWhannell (Waikato)
Ataata Moeakiola (Tokai)
Reuben O’Neill (Taranaki)

Out

Levi Aumua (Blues)
Dominic Bird (Racing 92)
Johnny Fa’auli (Toshiba Brave Lupus)
Mitchell Graham (Taranaki)
Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau)
Matt Matich (Northland)
Liam Messam (Toulon)
Tim Nanai-Williams (Clermont)
Charlie Ngatai (Lyon)
Declan O’Donnell (Waikato)
Jesse Parete (Taranaki)
Sam Prattley (Sunwolves)
Toni Pulu (Brumbies)
Jeff Thwaites (Bay of Plenty)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (Blues)
Regan Verney (Northland)

CRUSADERS

Similar to the Chiefs, the Crusaders look like their exits are higher profile than their newbies ahead of the 2019 season. The retirement of stalwart prop Wyatt Crockett will be a huge loss.

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In

Whetu Douglas (Treviso)
Ere Enari (Canterbury)
Leicester Fainga’anuku (Tasman)
Ngane Punivai (Canterbury)

Out

Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago)
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Hurricanes)
Donald Brighouse (Otago)
Wyatt Crockett (retired)
Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty)
Tima Fainga’anuku (Tasman)
Chris King (Canterbury)
Jone Macilai-Tori (Northland)
Pete Samu (Brumbies)
Sebastian Siataga (Bay of Plenty)
Jack Stratton (Waikato)
Seta Tamanivalu (Bordeaux)

HIGHLANDERS

Otago will be disappointed to lose such a high profile player in the prime in the form of Lima Sopoaga but will be delighted to see the fan favourite Marty Banks return to NZ shores.

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In

Marty Banks (Docomo Red Hurricanes)
Sef Fa’agase (Reds)
Folau Fakatava (Hawke’s Bay)
Bryn Gatland (Blues)
Josh Iosefa-Scott (Waikato)
Ayden Johnstone (Waikato)
Ray Niuia (Tasman)
Jack Whetton (Auckland)

Out


Alex Ainley (Tasman)
Guy Millar (Biarritz)
Greg Pleasants-Tate (Canterbury)
Dan Pryor (Sunwolves)
Josh Renton (Otago)
Fletcher Smith (Hurricanes)
Lima Sopoaga (Wasps)

HURRICANES

There are a few big name departures from the Hurricanes ahead of the 2019 season that include Brad Sheilds, Julian Savea and Ihaia West. They have aquired the services once again of talented utility back James Marshall following a stint in Europe.

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In

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Crusaders)
Geoff Cridge (Hawke’s Bay)
Du’Plessis Kirifi (Wellington)
James Marshall (London Irish)
Liam Mitchell (Manawatu)
Billy Proctor (Wellington)
Salesi Rayasi (Auckland)
Fletcher Smith (Highlanders)

Out

Jamie Booth (Sunwolves)
Murray Douglas (Brumbies)
Michael Fatialofa (Worcester Warriors)
James O’Reilly (Wellington)
Marcel Renata (Blues)
Julian Savea (Toulon)
Brad Shields (Wasps)
Blade Thomson (Scarlets)
TJ Va’a (Wellington)
Nathan Vella (Canterbury)
Ihaia West (La Rochelle)

JAGUARES

The Argentinians will be sad to lose the services of 2 talented playmakers ahead of the 2019 season with Juan Martín Hernández hanging up the boots and Nicolás Sánchez heading to France.

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In

Gaspar Baldunciel (Alumni)
Santiago Carreras (Córdoba Athletic)
Santiago Chocobares (Duendes)
Santiago Grondona (Champagnat)
Ignacio Mendy (sevens)
Franco Molina (Jockey)
Domingo Miotti (Tucuman)
Lucas Paulos (Olivios)
Lucio Sordoni (Atlético del Rosario)
Mayco Vivas (Atlético del Rosario)

Out

Santiago Álvarez (Sevens)
Felipe Arregui (Duendes)
Franco Brarda (Tala)
Felipe Ezcurra (Leicester Tigers)
Nicolás Leiva (released)
Benjamín Macome (released)
Juan Martín Hernández (retired)
Nicolás Sánchez (Stade Francais)

LIONS

Former Lions coach Johan Ackermann has raided the Lions ahead of the 2019 season taking 3 of his former players with him to Gloucester. Lions will be particularly disappointed to lose Jaco Kriel and Franco Mostert.

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In


Danie Mienie (Toulouse)

Out

Ruan Dreyer (Gloucester)
Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Sale Sharks)
Marco Jansen van Vuuren (sevens)
Jaco Kriel (Gloucester)
Franco Mostert (Gloucester)
Jacques van Rooyen (Bath)

REBELS

The Rebels back line on paper is now an exceptionally mouth watering prospect with the addition of Wallabies Quade Cooper & Matt Toomua into an already stacked backline they will be looking to make at least the play-offs in 2019.

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In


Quade Cooper (Reds)
Mees Erasmus (Brumbies)
Luke Jones (Bordeaux)
Campbell Magnay (Suntory Sungoliath)
Isi Naisarani (Brumbies)
Hugh Roach (Waratahs)
Matt Toomua (Leicester Tigers)
Brad Wilkin (Waratahs)

Out

Jack Debreczeni (Chiefs)
Colby Fainga’a (Connacht)
David Horwitz (Connacht)
Henry Hutchinson (sevens)
Amanaki Mafi (NTT Shining Arcs)
Jack McGregor (Force)
Sefa Naivalu (Reds)
Geoff Parling (Retired)
Lopeti Timani (La Rochelle)
Laurie Weeks (Retired)

REDS

No real house-hold names being added to the Reds roster ahead of the 2019 season but certainly lots of house-hold names leaving. 100’s of Wallabies caps will be missing from the group in 2019 with Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas and George Smith just a few of the names leaving Queensland.

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In

Jock Campbell (Queensland Country)
Will Eadie (Brisbane City)
Gavin Luka (Bond University)
Efi Ma’afu (Queensland Country)
Matt McGahan (Yamaha Jubilo)
Fraser McReight (Brisbane City)
Sefa Naivalu (Rebels)
Harry Wilson (Queensland Country)

Out

Quade Cooper (Rebels)
Kane Douglas (Bordeaux)
Sef Fa’agase (Highlanders)
Michael Gunn (Brisbane City)
Reece Hewat (Brisbane City)
Jono Lance (Worcester Warriors)
Ben Lucas (Grenoble)
Lachlan Maranta (Brisbane City)
Eto Nabuli (Bordeaux)
Jayden Ngamanu (Brisbane City)
Izaia Perese (released)
Andrew Ready (Southland)
James Slipper (Brumbies)
George Smith (Bristol Bears)
Karmichael Hunt (Waratahs)

Markus Vanzati (Force)

SHARKS

The retirements of Keegan Daniel and Michael Claassens are the main squad movement headlines ahead of the 2019 season.

In


Ruben van Heerden (Bulls)

Out

Garth April (NTT Shining Arcs)
Tristan Blewett (Kings)
Michael Claassens (retired)
Keegan Daniel (retired)
Johan Deysel (Colomiers)
Ross Geldenhuys (Bay of Plenty)
Franco Marais (Gloucester)

STORMERS

In


Ruhan Nel (sevens)

Out

Nizaam Carr (Wasps)
Dewaldt Duvenage (Treviso)
JC Janse van Rensburg (Grenoble)
Jan de Klerk (Canon Eagles)
Dean Muir (Kintetsu Liners)
Raymond Rhule (Grenoble)
Stephan de Wit (Kings)
George Whitehead (Griquas)
Eduard Zandberg (released)

SUNWOLVES

Some good business for the Sunwolves sees former All Black Rene Ranger link up with the Japanese outfit ahead of the 2019 season.

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In

Mark Abbott (Coca-Cola Red Sparks)
Jamie Booth (Hurricanes)
Phil Burleigh (Canterbury)
Jamie Henry (Toyota Verblitz)
Pauliasi Manu (Blues)
Sam Prattley (Chiefs)
Dan Pryor (Highlanders)
Kara Pryor (Blues)
Rene Ranger (Northland)
Tom Rowe (Otago)
Hiroshi Yamashita (Kobe Steelers)

Out

Nika Khatiashvili (Angoulême)

WARATAHS

Taqele Naiyaravoro has been in destructive form since his move from the Waratahs to Northampton Saints this season and his presence will no doubt be missed on the wing. Ashley-Cooper will make a return to NSW ahead of the 2019 campaign.

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In


Adam Ashley-Cooper

Karmichael Hunt (Reds)

John Folau (Sydney Rays)
Rory O’Connor (Sydney Rays)
Le Roux Roets (Pumas)

Out

Andrew Kellaway (Northampton Saints)
Kelly Meafua (Béziers)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Northampton Saints)
Hugh Roach (Rebels)
Paddy Ryan (NSW Country Eagles)
Matt Sandell (Sydney Rays)
Irae Simone (Brumbies)
Michael Snowden (retired)
Kalivati Tawake (Biarritz)
Brad Wilkin (Rebels)

We can’t wait for the Super Rugby season to kick off. Roll on February.

Rugby Championship

Fijian Drua confirm coach and initial signings

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Former All Blacks assistant coach Mick Byrne will be the first head coach for Fijian Drua in next season’s Super Rugby competition.

Byrne, who was part of the All Blacks’ World Cup-winning coaching team in 2011-15, specialised in kicking and taking of high kicks for the side. But he also worked as a skills coach for the Wallabies, Japan and Scotland, and he was an assistant coach with the Blues in 2012-14.

His appointment is for two-years.

Byrne said: “I have followed and admired the way Fijian teams play the game over my coaching career. It’s a style of play that puts the joy of rugby at its core, and I’m very excited to help our club showcase this to the world when the new Super Rugby season starts.

“None of us are under any illusions that it will be easy. We understand the challenges ahead of us in this first season based away from home.

“But within that challenge likes the opportunity to grow stronger as a team and club. It will allow us to be patient with our players, help them find their way and naturally grow into the game we want to play.

“It will be that brand of exciting Fijian rugby that our players and fans love, but with clinical aspects to it in both attack and defence. It will be hard work in our first two seasons but the journey will be rewarding and enjoyable,” he said.

Fijian Drua interim chief executive Brian Thorburn was delighted to secure Byrne.

“He is a seasoned professional and shone through the intensive selection process by displaying real passion for the club and Fijian rugby, and by outlining solid plans for success both on and off the field.

“Mick prioritises maintaining a respectful and cordial relationship with players, staff and partners, which is particularly important for us.”

Also confirmed in the coaching unit is Fiji’s Sevens sides strength and conditioning coach Nacanieli Cawanibuka who will be the head of athletic performance.

“His work ethic, discipline and commitment is world-class,” Thorburn said.

Cawanibuka shared in Fiji’s two Olympic gold medal Sevens wins and several World Sevens titles.

On the playing side Olympic gold medalist Ratu Meli Derenalagi, a former Fiji Sevens captain, has signed with the side along with wing Vinaya Habosi, prop Meli Tuni, utility back Serepepeli Vularika and Tasman Mako forward Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

They join five players named in the initial signings: Olympic gold medalist and utility back Napolioni Bolaca, hooker Tevita Ikanivere, wing Onisi Ratave, who is playing for Bay of Plenty in the Bunnings NPC, loose forward Nemani Negusa and halfback Simione Kuruvoli, who played for Fiji against the All Blacks in the July Steinlager series.

Source – All Blacks Rugby

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6 Nations

World Rugby to introduce contact training restrictions

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World Rugby

World Rugby and International Rugby Players (IRP) have published new contact training load guidance aimed at reducing injury risk and supporting short and long-term player welfare. The guidance is being supported by national players’ associations, national unions, international and domestic competitions, top coaches and clubs.

Earlier this year, World Rugby unveiled a transformational six-point plan aiming to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. These new best-practice guidelines focus on the intensity and frequency of contact training to which professional rugby players should be exposed and have been shaped by consultation with players and coaches as well as leading medical, conditioning and scientific experts.

While the incidence of training injuries is low relative to that of matches, the volume of training performed means that a relatively high proportion (35-40 per cent) of all injuries during a season occur during training, with the majority of these being soft tissue injuries. Since the training environment is highly controllable, the guidelines have been developed to reduce injury risk and cumulative contact load to the lowest possible levels that still allow for adequate player conditioning and technical preparation.

Global study

The guidelines are based on a global study undertaken by IRP of almost 600 players participating across 18 elite men’s and women’s competitions, and a comprehensive review of the latest injury data. This reveals that training patterns vary across competitions, with an average of 21 minutes per week of full contact training and an average total contact load of 118 minutes per week. A more measured and consistent approach to training will help manage the contact load for players, especially those moving between club and national training environments. The research supports minimising contact load in training, in order that players can be prepared to perform but avoid an elevated injury risk at the same time. The guidelines aim to help strike that balance.

New ‘best practice’ training contact guidelines

World Rugby and International Rugby Players’ new framework [https://www.world.rugby/the-game/player-welfare/medical/contact-load] sets out clear and acceptable contact guidelines for training sessions, aiming to further inform coaches – and players – of best practice for reducing injury risk and optimising match preparation in season. The guidance covers the whole spectrum of contact training types, considering volume, intensity, frequency and predictability of contact, as well as the optimal structure of sessions across the typical training week, including crucial recovery and rest periods.

Recommended contact training limits for the professional game are:

  1. Full contact training: maximum of 15 minutes per week across a maximum of two days per week with Mondays and Fridays comprising zero full contact training to allow for recovery and preparation
  2. Controlled contact training: maximum of 40 minutes per week 
  3. Live set piece training: maximum of 30 minutes set piece training per week is advised

The guidelines, which also consider reducing the overall load for players of particular age, maturity and injury profile (in line with the risk factors and load guidance published in 2019), will feature in the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup player welfare standards.

Instrumented mouthguard research programme to inform effectiveness

World Rugby is partnering with elite teams to measure the ‘real life’ effect of these guidelines (in training and matches) and assess the mechanism, incidence and intensity of head impact events using the Prevent Biometics market-leading instrumented mouthguard technology and video analysis to monitor implementation and measure outcomes.

The technology, the same employed in the ground-breaking Otago Rugby Head Impact Detection Study, will deliver the biggest ever comparable bank of head impact data in the sport with more than 1,000 participants across the men’s and women’s elite, community and age-grade levels. The teams that have signed up so far are multiple Champions Cup winners Leinster, French powerhouse Clermont Auvergne and Benetton Treviso while discussions are ongoing with several other men’s and women’s teams across a range of competitions.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “This important body of work reflects our ambition to advance welfare for players at all levels of the game. Designed by experts, these guidelines are based on the largest study of contact training in the sport, developed by some of the best rugby, performance and medical minds in the game. We believe that by moderating overall training load on an individualised basis, including contact in season, it is possible to enhance both injury-prevention and performance outcomes, which is good for players, coaches and fans.”

World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance and former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt added: “Training has increasingly played an important role in injury-prevention as well as performance. While there is a lot less full contact training than many people might imagine, it is our hope that having a central set of guidelines will further inform players and coaches of key considerations for any contact that is done during training.

“These new guidelines, developed by leading experts and supported by the game, are by necessity a work in progress and will be monitored and further researched to understand the positive impact on player welfare. We are encouraged by the response that we have received so far.

“We recognise that community level rugby can be an almost entirely different sport in terms of fitness levels, resources and how players can be expected to train, but the guidelines can be applied at many levels, especially the planning, purpose and monitoring of any contact in training.”

International Rugby Players Chief Executive Omar Hassanein said the guidelines are being welcomed by players: “From an International Rugby Players’ perspective, this project represents a significant and very relevant piece of work relating to contact load. We’ve worked closely with our member bodies in gathering approximately 600 responses from across the globe, allowing us to have sufficient data to then be assessed by industry experts. The processing of this data has led to some quite specific recommendations which are designed to protect our players from injuries relating to excessive contact load. We will continue to work with World Rugby as we monitor the progress of these recommendations and undertake further research in this area.”

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster, who was involved in reviewing the study and advising the development of the guidelines, said: “We have a responsibility to make the game as safe as possible for all our players. For coaches, optimising training plays a significant role in achieving that objective. It is important that we do not overdo contact load across the week in order that players are fresh, injury-free and ready for match days. These guidelines provide a practical and impactful approach to this central area of player preparation and management.”

Ireland international and IRP Head of Strategic Projects and Research Sene Naoupu said: “While this is the first step of the implementation and monitoring process, it is an incredible outcome that shows just how much players care about this area. It also provides a foundation to review and determine future direction of implementation across the game, within an evidence-based injury-prevention programme for performance and welfare.” 

World Rugby is also progressing a wide-ranging study of the impact of replacements on injury risk in the sport with the University of Bath in England, a ground-breaking study into the frequency and nature of head impacts in community rugby in partnership with the Otago Rugby Union, University of Otago and New Zealand Rugby, and further research specific to the professional women’s game. All of these priority activities will inform the decisions the sport makes to advance welfare for players at all levels and stages.

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Super Rugby

Super Rugby Pacific Tournament Announced

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Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have formed a new partnership to deliver Super Rugby Pacific from 2022.

The world’s best provincial competition will kick off a new era in 2022 following a new joint venture partnership between Rugby Australia (RA) and New Zealand Rugby (NZR). Set to kick-off on 18 February 2022, the new 12-team Super Rugby Pacific competition welcomes the introduction of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika who will join the five Australian and five New Zealand sides.

The competition structure for Super Rugby Pacific will be as follows:

  • 12 teams (alphabetical order) with Blues, Brumbies, Chiefs, Crusaders, Fijian Drua, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Melbourne Rebels, Moana Pasifika, NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Western Force
  • 18-week competition window from 18 Feb to 18 June 2022 and 24 February to 24 June 2023
  • 91 matches in total
  • Teams will play 14 regular season matches with each team to host seven matches
  • Teams will play 8 teams once and 3 teams twice with a focus on derby matches
  • One competition table with teams ranked 1 to 12 based on competition points
  • Three-week playoff format involving the top eight teams on the overall competition table with quarters, semis and final as follows:
    • Quarterfinals – 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 with the top-ranked team hosting
    • Semi-Finals – top-ranked quarter-final winner hosts against lowest-ranked quarter-final winner & 2nd highest ranked quarterfinal winner hosts 3rd highest ranked winner
    • Final – top-ranked semi-final winner hosts the other semi-final winner

The Fijian Drua had previously competed in Australia’s National Rugby Championship [pictured below], winning the title in 2018. Their inclusion was confirmed thanks to the support of Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby as well as that of the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports program.

Fiji Rugby Union will announce where Fijian Drua home matches will be played shortly, 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 Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika for their patience, and the effort that has been put into their proposals.”

“I want to thank Nine and Stan for their endorsement of the competition as well as Foreign Minister Marise Payne and the Australian Government for their terrific support. 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 Fiji play in all formats of the game and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world,” Marinos said.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby & High Performance Chris Lendrum said: “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.”

Source – Super Rugby

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