Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 schedule revealed
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the draw for Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 with 10 weeks of derby matches.
The second edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa will kick off at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday, February 26 where the Highlanders will host the defending champion, Crusaders, with the Hurricanes and Blues rounding off Round 1 at Stadium in Wellington the following day.
The Chiefs will have the opening round bye before hosting the Highlanders at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on Friday, March 5.
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said the 2021 season would build on the excitement generated by the first edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
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“We saw how exciting this home and away format was last year, and all five teams now know what’s required to compete and win every week. With the availability of the All Blacks locked in for round one there are going to be fireworks from the opening whistle.
“It’s fantastic to have some certainty for fans, players and partners after what’s been a year of uncertainty. Confirming the 2021 draw is a significant milestone and a positive step for rugby in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have our broadcast partner come on board as naming rights sponsor.”
Lendrum also confirmed NZR is working closely with Rugby Australia on a trans-Tasman competition and would announce details shortly.
A feature of the Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 draw is four family-friendly Sunday kick-offs, two at Eden Park in Auckland and one each at Wellington’s Stadium and at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.
Each team will have four home matches and two byes with the Final between the top two qualifying teams scheduled for Saturday, May 8.
“We’ve listened to the fans and our players and added a Final, which we think will provide a fitting climax to the competition,” Lendrum said.
NZR Head of High-Performance Mike Anthony confirmed the All Blacks would be available from Round 1.
“The later start date for Super Rugby Aotearoa means our players will be ready to go on the start line, which is a good result for everyone. From a high-performance point of view, it will once again give us an ideal platform to assess our top playing talent going head to head in a high-quality competition.”
Fixtures for the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa (all times local) :