Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have resolved to stage an exciting six-week trans-Tasman tournament next year following their respective domestic Super Rugby competitions.
The trans-Tasman tournament will feature five teams from each country with the Western Force the big winners, the Perth franchise effectively resurrected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featuring 26 games over six straight weeks, the tournament will kick off on May 14 with the final to be played on June 19.
In a deal that has taken months of negotiations to thrash out, each Australian team will play every New Zealand side in 25 crossover games before the championship decider.
All teams will play two home games and two away games as well as a ‘Super Round’, where all matches played in round three will be played at the one location, on a single weekend.
The final will be played between the top-two placed teams on the combined competition table with the team who finished first to host the decider.
“This is a truly historic day for rugby in the southern hemisphere, with the first-ever Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby competition,” Rugby Australia boss Rob Clarke said.
“This will generate enormous excitement across both countries with some of the best players in the world set to challenge each other after the conclusion of Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa.”
Friday’s announcement comes in the same week that RA revealed its new $100-broadcast deal with Stan and Nine.
“The Super Round is also great initiative with one lucky city to host all 10 teams on one weekend in a Super Rugby extravaganza,” Clarke said.
“I’d like to thank Mark Robinson and his team at New Zealand Rugby for working so closely with us. Bring on 2021.”
New Zealand Rugby chief Mark Robinson said: “Super Rugby Trans-Tasman is a great result for fans on both sides of the Tasman and is testament to the strength of the relationship between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia.
“It’s been a testing time for rugby in both countries, but also a chance to re-imagine the game in our part of the world for 2021.”
2021 Super Rugby trans-Tasman draw:
Round one, May 14-15
- Crusaders v Brumbies
- Western Force v Chiefs
- Melbourne Rebels v Blues
- Highlanders v Queensland Reds
- NSW Waratahs v Hurricanes
Round two, May 21-22
- Chiefs v Brumbies
- Western Force v Highlanders
- Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels
- Queensland Reds v Crusaders
- Blues v NSW Waratahs
Round three – Super Round, May 28-29
- Brumbies v Blues
- Hurricanes v Western Force
- Melbourne Rebels v Highlanders
- Queensland Reds v Chiefs
- NSW Waratahs v Crusaders
Round four, June 4-5
- Brumbies v Hurricanes
- Crusaders v Western Force
- Chiefs v Melbourne Rebels
- Queensland Reds v Blues
- Highlanders v NSW Waratahs
Round five, June 11-12
Brumbies v Highlanders
Blues v Western Force
Melbourne Rebels v Crusaders
Hurricanes v Queensland Reds
NSW Waratahs v Chiefs
Final, June 19
*draw subject to change, venues to be decided