With the 2020 Super Rugby season frozen due to COVID-19, the NZRU has announced a “Super Rugby Aotearoa” competition that will begin on June 13. The tournament will only feature New Zealand’s five Super Rugby franchises: the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Hurricanes, and Highlanders.
Rugby Australia is planning to launch their own domestic competition with the previously axed Perth-based Western Force to be included alongside the Brumbies, Rebels, Reds and Waratahs.
The Sunwolves, who were to be axed from Super Rugby after this year, may also be included in the competition but would have to base themselves in Australia.
Rugby Australia hopes to launch the competition in July.
South African competition
South Africa has announced plans for a new domestic competition to replace the Super Rugby and Pro14 tournaments.
They are working towards a competition that features the Cheetahs & Southern Kings, who play in the Pro14, alongside the Bulls, Lions, Sharks & Stormers from Super Rugby. The aim is to run the competition from June until August.
New Zealand competition
The Kiwi Super Rugby franchises will play each other home and away over ten weeks, with two matches each round. Each team will receive two byes during the course of the tournament.
The first game each week will kick off at 5.05 PM (3:05 PM AEST) on Saturday and the second game will start at 3.05 PM (1:05 PM AEST) on Sunday.
The fixtures will at least initially be played in closed stadiums.
The start date of June 13 was chosen to give the clubs four weeks to adequately prepare their players with contact training.
Below is the schedule.
All times AEST.
Saturday June 13 at 3:05 PM – Highlanders v Chiefs, Dunedin
Sunday June 14 at 1:05 PM – Blues vs Hurricanes, Auckland
Saturday June 20 at 3:05 PM – Chiefs vs Blues, Hamilton
Sunday June 21 at 1:05 PM – Hurricanes vs Crusaders, Wellington
Saturday June 27 at 3:05 PM – Blues vs Highlanders, Auckland
Sunday June 28 at 1:05 PM – Crusaders vs Chiefs, Christchurch
Saturday July 4 at 3:05 PM – Highlanders vs Crusaders, Dunedin
Sunday July 5 at 1:05 PM – Chiefs vs Hurricanes, Hamilton
Saturday July 11 at 3:05 PM – Crusaders v Blues, Christchurch
Sunday July 12 at 1:05 PM – Hurricanes vs Highlanders, Wellington
Saturday July 18 at 3:05 PM – Hurricanes vs Blues, Wellington
Sunday July 19 at 1:05 PM – Chiefs vs Highlanders, Hamilton
Saturday July 25 at 3:05 PM – Crusaders vs Hurricanes, Christchurch
Sunday July 26 at 1:05 PM – Blues vs Chiefs, Auckland
Saturday August 1 at 3:05 PM – Chiefs v Crusaders, Hamilton
Sunday August 2 at 1:05 PM – Highlanders vs Blues, Dunedin
Saturday August 8 at 3:05 PM – Hurricanes vs Chiefs, Wellington
Sunday August 9 at 1:05 PM – Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch
Saturday August 15 at 3:05 PM – Highlanders vs Hurricanes, Dunedin
Sunday August 16 at 1:05 PM – Blues vs Crusaders, Auckland
It appears there won’t be any playoffs at the end of Round 10. The team with the most competition points will be deemed the winner.