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10 things to be excited about for in 2022

Mon, 03/01/2022, 12:48 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Game On for Australia's Bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027.

2022 is finally here and it shapes up to be one of the more exciting years in recent memories.

World Cups, new competitions and the return of Rugby across the wider community has plenty of people eagerly looking forward to the year.

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With this in mind, Rugby.com.au examines ten major events to mark down on the calendar for 2022.

1.England coming

The International season is expected to start with a bang with old rivals England expected to make their return Down Under in July for a three-Test series.

Memories of 2016 will still be in the heads of both sides, with the 3-0 drubbing starting England's recent run of success against the Wallabies.

This was stretched to eight games in November and Eddie Jones' men will be keen to extend it as they build for the World Cup.

As for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies, a series win will be crucial towards setting up 2022 and will be a true test of where they lie within the current landscape.

2. Super Rugby Pacific

It's a new era for Super Rugby as 2022 welcomes the inaugural Pacific season.

The inclusion of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika will provide a different element to the competition, expected to bring a fan-friendly style of Rugby along with passionate groups of supporters.

A re-jig of the draw will see those teams join their Australian and NZ counterparts in derby matches before Trans-Tasman clashes resume with a blockbuster round over the ANZAC weekend.

The Australian teams need to avoid a similar slump to 2021 in order to compete with finals spots and prevent another prolonged losing streak.

3. Rugby World Cup Sevens

The 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens heads to South Africa with both Australian teams looming as major threats to the title.

The women have started the 2021-22 Series with back-to-back titles and will be out to avenge their disappointing Tokyo campaign.

Meanwhile, the men's side will be full of confidence after their Dubai Final and will have to get through qualifying if they wish to make a statement.

Three consecutive World Cups without a semi-final appearance places major pressure on the team and new coach John Manenti to perform.

4. Commonwealth Games

Before they get there, they will first have to contend with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Commonwealth Games gold is always something that has alluded the Australian sides, who have two silver and two bronzes to their names from seven events.

The women's side will be especially eager to bring home the gold following their extra-time defeat to New Zealand on the Gold Coast.

As for the men, they will look to match with the likes of New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa, having never finished lower than 5th in their six appearances to date,

5. Super W

The Super W is set to return to its usual format in a crucial year for Women's Rugby.

After a COVID-interrupted 2021 season, the home-and-away system will be welcomed as NSW looks to continue their dominance over the competition.

With the potential for a Fijiana team to be added in the future, it looms to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory as players push for Wallaroos selection ahead of the World Cup.

6. Rugby World Cup 21

Speaking of which, the Wallaroos will enter the Rugby World Cup hopeful of causing a boilover.

They head to the event with a new coaching staff led by Jay Tregonning as they attempt to build on their sixth-place finish in 2017.

Further tests before October's opener against New Zealand will be vital towards building confidence and match fitness after COVID cancelled series against Samoa and the Black Ferns last year.

They will fancy their chances at making the quarters, rounding out the pool stages against Wales and a Repechage winner.

7. Formal Cup announcement

Australia will know whether it has been successful for the 2027 World Cup in May.

It enters 2022 as the preferred candidate for the event, with formal dialogue already underway with World Rugby as they work out an ideal competition model.

The importance of ensuring the World Cup comes to Australia has been already established by Rugby Australia and the Bid Committee and would be a huge part of the sport's future.

8. Bledisloe battle as World Cup build-up intensifies

Whilst talk about the '27 World Cup will dominate conversations, 2022 will be massive for setting up the Wallabies ahead of the 2023 event.

A return to the usual format of the Bledisloe and Rugby Championship marks a return to away games against South Africa and Argentina whilst hopefully not seeing the Wallabies playing twice at Eden Park.

The Wallabies were brought back to Earth by the All Blacks after a thrilling French series, however, will learn a lot from the success Fabien Galthié's side and Ireland had against the Kiwis at the end of 2021.

Coupled with another Spring Tour and Dave Rennie should have a decent idea of his ideal line-up 12 months out from the event.

9. Club Rugby return

Whilst COVID has featured a lot in this preview, arguably its effects were felt most at club level.

It caused constant changes to the schedule across the country, eventually leading to a cancellation of a number of competitions.

This was most notably felt in Sydney with the Shute Shield, who were forced to abandon their season for the first time since World War 1.

To have comps at all levels of grassroots Rugby back up and running will give a nice boost to the wider community as the return to normality continues.

10. Super Round

As part of Super Rugby Pacific, Super Round will see all the best teams flock to Melbourne in Round Ten.

It looms as a key moment for the comp as the initiative has the potential to become an event for all sporting fans and ultimately engage a new audience with the new format.

A successful weekend across an area dominated by other codes will be huge for ensuring support for the Rebels and the wider Victorian Rugby community whilst attracting fresh eyes to the product.

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