Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have confirmed a new format for Southern Hemisphere provincial rugby for the next two years, announcing Super Rugby Pacific for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua join the existing five Australian and five New Zealand sides to create a 12-team competition set to kick off on 18 February 2022.
The Fijian Drua, who previously competed in Australia's National Rugby Championship, are expected to announce where their home matches will be played shortly, while Moana Pasifika plans to play their home fixtures primarily in New Zealand.
The new competition for 2022 and 2023 features a 91 match, 18-week season with teams playing 14 regular season matches, with a top eight contesting a three-week finals series.
Teams will face every other side in the competition at least once, with a further three fixtures added with a focus on derby matches to create seven home and away fixtures for each franchise.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said "We're thrilled to confirm the competition model for next year and beyond and want to thank NZR for their hard work and effort along with Fijiian and Moana Pasifika for their patience, and the effort that has been put into their proposals.
"I want to thank Mike and Martin at Nine and Stan for their endorsement of the competition as well as Foreign Minister Marise Payne and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their terrific support.
"This is a game-changer for Rugby in the Pacific, and indeed, the rest of the Rugby world. We have seen the brilliant rugby that Fiji play in all formats of the game and their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world,” Marinos said.
NSWRU CEO, Paul Doorn said that whilst the finer details of the competition were yet to be finalised for the Waratahs, it was exciting to work towards a schedule for 2022.
“This is a historic time for the game in the Southern Hemisphere and with the competition structure locked in, it’s now just a case of waiting for a draw so we can work with our venue partners at Venues NSW to confirm where we’ll be playing,” Doorn said.
“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 2022.
NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) is now working closely with Venues NSW 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 months, aligning with the availability of 2022 NSW Waratahs Memberships.
All 91 Super Rugby Pacific matches will be ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport with the Saturday night match in each round also simulcast free-to-air on the Nine Network.