The Hurricanes are welcoming news of a Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition set to kick off in May 2021.
Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman will feature 10 Super Rugby clubs, five from New Zealand and five from Australia, playing 25 matches over five weeks before a Final on Saturday 19 June. All 26 matches will be live and exclusive on Sky.
The Hurricanes, Chiefs, Blues, Crusaders and Highlanders will play five matches against the Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force including two home matches each in New Zealand.
All teams will also play two away matches, while their fifth will be part of a ‘Super Round’ featuring all Round 3 matches being played at one location, over one weekend.
NZR and RA will announce kick-off times, dates and venues for Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as well as the process that will be used to select the location of the ‘Super Round’ in due course.
The Final will be played between the top two teams after the five weeks of matches on the combined competition ladder with the team who finished first earning home advantage for the decider.
Hurricanes CEO, Avan Lee, says it is fantastic to see the Super Rugby rivalry broaden beyond the New Zealand franchises.
“After 10 weeks of domestic rugby, I think it’s fantastic our team will get to measure themselves against some top Australian sides. It’s also fantastic news for our members, commercial partners and fans who will get to see more international rugby on NZ soil.”
Lee says the Wallabies have shown just how competitive our neighbours across the ditch can be.
“It’s been a long time since we have had a Bledisloe series which was as competitive as the one we witnessed this year. I think it sets our Trans-Tasman tournament up to be quite the spectacle.”
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said:
”Sky 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 reimagine the game in our part of the world for 2021. The result is an exciting and innovative new competition, which will benefit fans, players, broadcasters and Super clubs.
“We all know how special the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is when it comes to sport and this tournament will add another exciting chapter. The banter between Rob Clarke and I has already begun and I’m sure fans will feel the same.”
RA interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “This is a truly historic day for Rugby in the southern hemisphere, with the first-ever Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby competition.
“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 Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa.
“It will be a really exciting new product for our 2021 broadcast partners, Stan and Nine, and I know fans right around the world will be glued to their screens and devices to watch it all.
“The Super Round is also great initiative with one lucky city to host all 10 teams on one weekend in a Super Rugby extravaganza.
“I’d like to thank Mark Robinson and his team at New Zealand Rugby for working so closely with us. Bring on 2021!”