With trans-Tasman borders open, New Zealand-based clubs and Australian-based clubs will come together for the first time in 2022 to compete for vital points on a crowded DHL Super Rugby Pacific ladder. The Super Round will provide a unique opportunity for rugby to celebrate the Anzac spirit and the final match of Round 10, between the Crusaders and Rebels on Sunday, will feature the traditional reading of The Ode, playing of The Last Post and a moments silence to remember the servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries, including many Pasifika heritage.
The Moana Pasifika v Western Force match has unfortunately been postponed due to Covid-19 impacts on the Western Force, but AAMI Park in Melbourne will host five Round 10 DHL Super Rugby Pacific matches over three action packed days with New Zealand-based teams playing as the ‘home’ teams.
Schedule for the Super Round presented by Fiji Airways in Melbourne (all times NZT)
Friday, 22 April
9pm: Chiefs v Waratahs
Saturday, 23 April
7.05pm: Blues v Fijian Drua
9.45pm: Hurricanes v Reds
Sunday, 23 April
4pm: Highlanders v Brumbies
6.30pm: Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels
Super Round will also signal the culmination of the Tries for Tonga fund raising initiative that has seen New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) team up with their respective broadcast partners, Sky and Stan Sport/Nine to donate NZD$500 per try to the New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal during the first 10 rounds of the competition.
A total of 305 tries have been scored during the first nine rounds of DHL Super Ruby Pacific and the player who scores the final try of the Super Round, presented by Fiji Airways, will present a cheque New Zealand Red Cross following the final whistle on Sunday evening. New Zealand-based Super Rugby naming rights partner DHL kick-started Tries for Tonga with a $20,000 donation in Round 1 and the 23 tries scored during the inaugural season of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki will also be included in the final amount raised.
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said it was great to bring all teams together in Melbourne.
“COVID restrictions have meant we’ve seen nine exciting weeks of rugby played on different sides of the Tasman, but everyone is intrigued to see how the New Zealand-based and Australian-based teams measure up against each other. Super Round will be crucial to the aspirations of teams and their fans as the race to make the top-eight intensifies.
“This is also an opportunity to embrace the trans-Tasman spirit through sport and acknowledge and commemorate the sacrifice and service of the Anzac's. There are close connections between Australia, New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours and it has been great to see Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua bring so much to the competition during their first season in Super Rugby.”
Sky Chief Executive Sophie Moloney said: “It was important for our team to be part of the Tries for Tonga initiative to show support for our Tongan community. This combined with the proceeds from a televised pre-season match between Moana Pasifika and the Gallagher Chiefs shows just how much the rugby community cares about our brothers and sisters affected by the eruption and tsunami. The DHL Super Rugby Pacific action to date has been electric, fresh, full of energy and try-scoring, which is great for fans around the motu.”
New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Sarah Stuart-Black says the donation would make a difference in Tonga. “Our funds have already supported the Tonga response and will continue to support ongoing recovery efforts. Any response and recovery effort following a disaster is complex and takes time. This is especially true for Tonga, which, on top of the eruption and tsunami, is now also in the midst of its first significant COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve been working closely with Tonga Red Cross on how we can best help them recover. Thank you for the generosity of those who donated to Tries for Tonga and to the wider appeal.”
The RSA’s National President BJ Clark, said that sporting fixtures in the lead up to Anzac Day provide an important opportunity to remember and reflect.
“Having New Zealanders, Australians and Pacific Nations side by side is always special. Bonds forged on the battle field and strengthened through service mean our nations are stronger together, and it’s particularly significant that we can gather together to remember in the days leading up to Anzac Day.”
The RSA’s Poppy Appeal runs throughout April, and the funds raised directly support New Zealand’s Veterans. Donations can be made at: www.rsa.org.nz/support-us/donate
Tickets to attend the Super Round presented by Fiji Airways in Melbourne are available for purchase here.