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Super Rugby Aupiki draw released for inaugural 2022 season

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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Women’s rugby in New Zealand will open a new chapter on March 5 when the first-ever Super Rugby Aupiki match takes place at Eden Park.

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New Zealand Rugby [NZR] announced the draw for the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki season on Friday, with the Blues to stage the competition’s maiden fixture against Chiefs Manawa in Auckland on the first Saturday of March.

The match will act as a curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby Pacific clash between the men’s teams of each franchise, which is scheduled to kick-off at Eden Park later that afternoon.

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The following day, the Hurricanes will open their Super Rugby Aupiki account against Matat?, a composite South Island side made up of players from the Crusaders and Highlanders regions, at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

Super Rugby Aupiki’s debut season will comprise of three rounds in which all four teams play each other once, with the top two teams to play each other in a one-off final on either March 26 or March 27.

Round three of the competition will be a Super Round, whereby all fixtures – Blues vs Matat? and Chiefs Manawa vs Hurricanes – will be staged at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.

“This year is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before when it comes to the women’s game and Super Rugby Aupiki is a great way to get things underway,” NZR general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said.

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“We’ve seen the four clubs assemble strong, exciting squads and this draw was the last piece of the puzzle before launching the competition in March.

“We’re looking forward to seeing New Zealand get in behind the players and teams and make this first season really set a benchmark for years to come.”

Confirmation of the Super Rugby Aupiki draw comes in the same year that New Zealand will host the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup between October and November.

All Super Rugby Aupiki matches will be broadcast live in New Zealand on Sky Sport, as well as free-to-air channel Prime.

2022 Super Rugby Aupiki draw

Round One    
Saturday 5 March
Blues v Chiefs Manawa, Eden Park, kick off 1:45pm

Sunday 6 March
Matat? v Hurricanes, Orangetheory Stadium, kick off 3:45pm

Round Two     
Saturday, 12 March
Hurricanes v Blues, Sky Stadium, kick off 1:45pm

Sunday, 13 March
Chiefs Manawa v Matat?, FMG Stadium, kick off 3:45pm

Round Three – Super Round – FMG Stadium 
Saturday, 19 March
Blues v Matat?, kick off 1:45pm
Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes, kick off 4:35pm

FINAL     
Saturday, 26 or Sunday, 27 March

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