20 NZ derbies, one final! Super Rugby Aotearoa draw announced for 2021

Super Rugby - Aotearoa
by Christy Doran

Tony Brown's Highlanders will host the Crusaders in the opening round of Super Rugby Aotearoa on February 26, New Zealand Rugby confirmed on Monday night.

The Hurricanes and Blues will then face each other on the following day to round out the first weekend of action on the Shaky Isles.

The second edition of the five-team tournament will include 10 rounds of derby action culminating in a winner takes all final on Saturday, May 8. It's a change from 2020, which saw Scott Robertson's Crusaders wrap-up the title with one round to go.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ENTIRE SUPER RUGBY AOTEAROA DRAW

In a boost for the tournament, NZR General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum confirmed that the nation's Test players would be available for selection from the outset unlike in 2020.

“We saw how exciting this home and away format was last year, and all five teams now know what’s required to compete and win every week. With the availability of the All Blacks locked in for round one there are going to be fireworks from the opening whistle," he said.

“It’s fantastic to have some certainty for fans, players and partners after what’s been a year of uncertainty. Confirming the 2021 draw is a significant milestone and a positive step for rugby in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have our broadcast partner Sky come on board as naming rights sponsor.”

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New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed it is working closely with Rugby Australia on a trans-Tasman competition.

Meanwhile, Rugby Australia is also preparing to announce their Super Rugby AU draw for 2021 after signing their broadcast deal with Nine Entertainment on Monday. 

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