The Super Rugby 2021 is still debated both in Australia and New Zealand. A week after the CEO of Highlanders, Roger Clark, commented at a conference that the next Super Rugby season will include Australian teams, the news now comes from the country of the Wallabies where they indicate that in the meeting held by the Aussie Union, the possible incorporation of the Aotearoa teams in more of a match.
New Zealand Rugby was initially not interested in any form of trans-Tasmania competition in 2021, citing Covid-19 concerns, but after Rugby Australia agreed to move the Bledisloe Cup match from December 12 to October 31 at the request of New Zealand, a concession was made and negotiations began.
RA carried out the update of its member unions and one of the main items on the states’ agenda was the format of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
As is, the clubs will start the preseason in fifteen days without being clear about what the competition will be like in 2021, and if the franchises of Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby they will face each other.
As minimum, Australian clubs anticipate that the winner of Super Rugby AU will face the winner of Super Rugby Aotearoa at the end of their 12-week seasons.
But various sources have told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Super franchises of both countries they want more than just a crossover match, before returning to a full trans-Tasman tournament in 2022.
Clubs have debated various formats for the coming year, all of which would require the opening of the trans-Tasman free movement.
Various formats are being analyzed for a final with extended crosses, as well as a trans-Tasmania knockout competition, to be held after the respective national seasons.
The formats that would see the Australian and New Zealand teams play in regular season competition are also being discussed, albeit within the framework of a shorter season.
One of the formats would see Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa play for a period before two trans-Tasman competitions are held side by side, with the 10 Australian and New Zealand franchises divided into groups of five.
After playing a round-robin, the top two of each group could meet in the semi-finals, or the winner of each group would simply face each other in a grand finale.
RA President Hamish McLennan is a strong advocate for a trans-Tasman competition in 2021 and Highlanders CEO Roger Clark also revealed his thoughts on the concept late last week.
“I think in 2021, it will be us and the Australians, and in 2022, Fiji and a Pasifika team will enter that competition,” Clark said.