Due to the latest threat posed by Covid-19, the New Zealand Rugby team and the Australian Rugby team will adjust the competition draw so the derby game will take place in the first half of Super Rugby Pacific.
Although there are still several venues to be confirmed, as expected, the first games will play in New Zealand and Australia until mid-April. The draw may release on Thursday via official channels.
It is still expected that the Trans-Tasman competition will be played in New Zealand and Australia later in the season, but this may depend on the threat of the Omicron variant, which has triggered a radical change in New Zealand’s Covid-19 plan, such as pushing back the gradual reopening of the border by the end of February.
The first draw for the competition is scheduled to start on February 18th and is expected to remain unchanged. The Crusaders, who always planned to hit the Highlanders in Christchurch, will not change their plans.
Moana Pasifika is expected to now host the Blues at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland instead of hosting the Fijian Drua - they cannot travel from their Australian base - at Eden Park. Moana Pasifika was originally planned to play against the Brumbies at Mt Smart.
Derby match venues are not expected to change. The NZ Rugby and Rugby Australian teams still hope that there will be a game where the first eight teams are eligible to enter the playoffs within three weeks.
The final will still be held on June 18.
The new 12-team competition includes Moana Pasifika and Fiji Drua for the first time. Fiji Drua will participate in the Australian event.
The decision to change the format means that New Zealand fans will receive another Super Rugby Aotearoa event, which was won by the Crusaders in 2020 and 2021.
Although their popularity with the masses, derby games have proven difficult for players, and high turnover can still be an unfortunate weakness for quality games.