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'Rivalry' match ups in Super Rugby draw

By AAP
Jack Goodhue of the Crusaders is seen on the bench after coming off the field (R) during the round 10 Super Rugby Pacific match between the Crusaders and the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on April 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Three “rivalry” match ups for each team are a feature of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific draw announced on Sunday.

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Each of the 12 teams will play 14 regular season matches, meeting every other side at least once and playing three designated opponents twice, home and away.

Next season’s competition also sees Fijian Drua playing six home matches in Fiji after being based in Australia last season while New Zealand-based Moana Pasifika will play an historic first home match in Apia against the Queensland Reds in round eight.

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Defending champions the Crusaders kick off the season on Friday, February 24 in a home clash with the Chiefs.

Round two is the previously-announced Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne where all 12 teams will gather.

All teams get one bye round in weeks 7, 8 or 9 and the top eight teams will again qualify for the finals.

Afternoon kick-offs are another feature of the draw with 24 daytime matches.

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The “rivalry” matc h ups for the home and away clashes are mostly against teams from the same country .

The match ups are:-

Brumbies v Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs

NSW Waratahs v Fijian Drua, Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies

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Queensland Reds v Fijian Drua, Force and ACT Brumbies

Melbourne Rebels v Western Force, NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies

Western Force v Highlanders, Reds and Rebels

Blues v Hurricanes, Highlanders and Crusaders

Chiefs v Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders

Crusaders v Blues, Chiefs and Moana Pasifika

Highlanders v Blues, Force and Chiefs

Hurricanes v Blues, Chiefs and Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika v Hurricanes, Highlanders and Fijian Drua

Fijian Drua v Moana Pasifika, Reds and Waratahs.

“Being able to play regularly in front of home fans, and to travel across the Tasman and around the Pacific is massive for the competition, especially for fans, who can support their teams through a full home schedule,” s aid Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos.

“Everyone saw what Super Rugby Pacific had to offer in its first season and all 12 clubs have taken that excitement into the off-season and will be primed for a shot at the title in 2023.”

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