The NSW Waratahs have had their Super Rugby schedule finalised for 2021, as they embark on a second season of the AU competition.
In a format that will run in similar fashion to the season finished in late-September, Rob Penney’s side will play four games on home soil, with two bye rounds across the 10-week regular season.
The five respective teams will be battling out it out for a spot in a three-team Finals Series, with first place earning a path directly to the Grand Final before a 2nd v 3rd playoff to decide their opponent.
All Super Rugby AU matches in 2021 will be live and ad-free on video-on-demand streaming service, Stan with every Saturday night fixture live, free-to-air on the Nine Network along with the entirety of the Super Rugby AU finals.
The Waratahs will open the competition against their traditional rivals, the Queensland Reds, followed by a trip to the nation’s capital to take on 2020 Champions, the Brumbies.
Hosting the Western Force in Round 3 will be the Waratahs first outing on home soil before a bye in Round 4.
A trip to Melbourne to face the Rebels at the competition’s mid-point then sees the Waratahs with three home games in their final five fixtures, as well as a second bye in Round 8.
Whilst the draw itself has been finalised, NSW Rugby (NSWRU) is now working closely with the SCG Trust to confirm venues for each of their home fixtures, as they navigate a busy sporting schedule heavily impacted by the Sydney Football Stadium redevelopment.
NSWRU will be aiming to confirm these locations in the coming weeks, aligning with the availability of 2021 NSW Waratahs Memberships.
NSWRU CEO, Paul Doorn said that whilst the finer details of the draw were yet to be finalised for the Waratahs, it was exciting to work towards a schedule for 2021.
“With the fixtures locked in, it’s now just a case of working with our venue partners at the SCG Trust to confirm where we’ll be playing – which is no simple task in the current environment,” Doorn said.
“It’s [venue confirmation] part of a much larger body of work that we’ll now put into action right across the business, with some clarity around the structure and nature of our competition next season.
“We’ll be keeping our Members and fans updated as to the progress of that work around venues and ticketing as soon as it’s known, to ensure everyone can get out and support the Waratahs throughout 2021.
“It’s been an extremely positive couple of weeks for our game, following the announcement of a new broadcaster and now the draw, with plenty more still to come.
“We’ve faced some significant challenges right throughout this year and I think there’s a lot for rugby fans to be optimistic about.”
NSW Waratahs 2021 Super Rugby AU draw:
Round 1: Reds v Waratahs, Friday 19 February, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Round 2: Brumbies v Waratahs, Saturday 27 February, GIO Stadium, Canberra
Round 3: Waratahs v Force, Friday 5 March, Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
Round 4: BYE
Round 5: Rebels v Waratahs, Friday 19 March, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Round 6: Waratahs v Reds, Saturday 27 March, Stadium Australia, Homebush
Round 7: Waratahs v Brumbies, Friday 2 April, Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park
Round 8: BYE
Round 9: Force v Waratahs, Saturday 17 April, HBF Park, Perth
Round 10: Waratahs v Rebels, Saturday 24 April, Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
Rugby Australia is also working closely with New Zealand Rugby on a trans-Tasman competition and plans to announce details shortly.
For more information on NSW Waratahs 2021 Membership visit nsw.rugby/experience/membership.