Super Rugby Trans-Tasman: New Zealand, Australia competition unveiled for 2021

A newlook Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition has been unveiled for 2021, featuring the five New Zealand and Australian franchises. 

The tournament will kick off on May 14 - a week after both Super Rugby Aotearoa and Australia conclude - with a final scheduled for June 19. 

The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders will play five matches against Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force, with the final played between the top two-placed teams on the combined competition table.

All teams will play two home games and two away games, as well as 'Super Round', where all third-round matches will be played at one location over the same weekend.

In the opening round, the Crusaders host the Brumbies, the Chiefs hit the road to play Western Force, the Blues face the Rebels in Melbourne, the Highlanders welcome the Reds and the Hurricanes travel to Sydney to play the Waratahs.

NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia are both fairly confident a trans-Tasman travel bubble will be open by May 2021, as the tournament concept only works if quarantining isn't needed.

As it stands, New Zealanders don't need to quarantine entering some Australian states, but are required to go into managed isolation for two weeks after heading home. 

"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," says NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson. 

"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 Brumbies won the Super Rugby Australia title.
The Brumbies won the Super Rugby Australia title. Photo credit: Getty

That competition will replace the old Super Rugby format, which included teams from South Africa and Argentina. South African teams have indicated they will join the Pro14 tournament in Europe.

The competition is likely a precursor to a full trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, starting in 2022, with all 10 teams from both countries being joined by two Pacific Island-focused sides.

The Rugby Championship would likely follow on from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. 

NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia have been at loggerheads since July over the future direction of Super Rugby as they deal with the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"This is a truly historic day for Rugby in the southern hemisphere, with the first-ever Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby competition," says Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke. 

"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."

Kick-off times, dates and venues will be announced in due course.

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)

Blues v Brumbies, 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 (Saturday, June 19)

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