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Super Rugby trans-Tasman draw released, Highlanders to host Reds in opener

The draw for the five-week trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition has been revealed this afternoon with the tournament set to kick off with the Highlanders hosting the Reds one week after Super Rugby Aotearoa finishes.

James Lentjes of the Highlanders makes a run during a Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds. Source: Photosport

The competition kicks off with the Highlanders and Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday May 14 – six days after the final of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition which begins in February and features just the New Zealand franchises.

Matches throughout the trans-Tasman competition will feature double-header Fridays at 7:00pm and 9:45pm NZT along with three further matches of varying times on Saturdays.

Two family-friendly 4:35pm afternoon games are scheduled in New Zealand with the Blues hosting the Waratahs for one of them in round two at Eden Park while the Chiefs collect the other in round four against the Rebels at Waikato Stadium.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed Round 3 will feature a Super Round with all matches being played at one venue but they and Rugby Australia will announce the finer details, including the venue for it, in due course.

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said it was great to have certainty around venue and kick off times heading into Christmas.

“When you see the weekly match ups you realise how compelling the competition will be and I think it’s something that will capture the imagination of fans and players on both sides of the Tasman.

“We’ll get a chance to see all the teams in action in Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU and there will be a lot of intrigue in how they measure up to each other when Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman kicks off.”

NZR noted the draw is subject to change and contingent on a two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble being established prior to tournament’s first match.

Super Rugby Trans-Tasman draw

Round 1
Highlanders v Reds, Friday 14 May, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7:05pm
Waratahs v Hurricanes, Friday 14 May, TBC, 9:45pm
Crusaders v Brumbies, Saturday 15 May, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 7:05pm
Rebels v Blues, Saturday 15 May, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 9:45pm
Force v Chiefs, Saturday 15 May, HBF Park, Perth, 11:55pm

Round 2
Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels, Friday 21 May, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 7:05pm
Force v Highlanders, Friday 21 May, HBF Park, Perth, 9:45pm
Blues v Waratahs, Saturday 22 May, Eden Park, Auckland, 4:35pm
Chiefs v Brumbies, Saturday 22 May, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 7:05pm
Reds v Crusaders, Saturday 22 May, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 9:45pm

Round 3 - Super Round
Brumbies v Blues
Hurricanes v Force
Rebels v Highlanders
Reds v Chiefs
Waratahs v Crusaders

Round 4 
Crusaders v Force, Friday 4 June, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 7:05pm
Reds v Blues, Friday 4 June, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 9:45pm
Chiefs v Rebels, Saturday 5 June, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 4:35pm
Highlanders v Waratahs, Saturday 5 June, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7:05pm
Brumbies v Hurricanes, Saturday 5 June, GIO Stadium, Canberra, 9:45pm

Round 5
Hurricanes v Reds, Friday 11 June, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 7:05pm
Brumbies v Highlanders, Friday 11 June, GIO Stadium, Canberra, 9:45pm
Rebels v Crusaders, Saturday 12 June, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 4:35pm
Blues v Force, Saturday 12 June, Eden Park, Auckland, 7:05pm
Waratahs v Chiefs, Saturday 12 June, TBC, 9:45pm

Final
Saturday, 19 June