Rugby League

Final Stage On Drua Bid

O’Connor said they were going to officially announce the Drua chief executive officer and head coach once they had finalised everything with RA and NZR.
26 Aug 2021 18:52
Final Stage On Drua Bid

It’s a matter of time before the deal is sealed for the Fijian Drua to play in next year’s Super Rugby.

This was the gist of Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor’s interview on the Drua’s bid for a licence to play in the Super Rugby.

“We’re in the final stage of our discussion with New Zealand Rugby,” O’Connor told SUNsports yesterday.

“We’re close to reaching an agreement. It’s a matter of tidying our end with New Zealand Rugby.”

He indicated the discussions were now on the pandemic restrictions, border issues and finalising the costs since COVID-19 was still a threat.

This is to avoid the current problems related to the pandemic that is disrupting the Rugby Championship.

“All our discussions with Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have been positive.”

O’Connor said they were going to officially announce the Drua chief executive officer and head coach once they had finalised everything with RA and NZR.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Australian media have reported the structure for next season’s Super Rugby competition is in place after organisers in New Zealand and Australia came to an agreement over its basic format.

It’s understood the 12-team tournament will see every participant play 14 regular-season games, with the top eight finishers in the table advancing to the play-offs.

The post-season structure will reward those teams finishing higher in the table, with first facing eight, second going up against seventh, and so on.

The competition will feature five franchises apiece from New Zealand and Australia, while the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika outfits will each make their Super Rugby debuts.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the teams will play one game against each of the other 11 outfits, though there’s still debate over how to structure those three additional fixtures.

One proposal is for the matches to be randomly decided, but there are obvious difficulties with that method given it could leave some sides facing considerably easier schedules than others.

Another possibility is for teams to face sides from within the same domestic union, but that may favour Australia’s franchises given New Zealand has dominated the competition in recent years.

The New Zealand Herald reported that proposal was swiftly shot down: “A formula is being developed based on how the Trans-Tasman table finished this year and the only certainty to date is that the two new teams, Moana Pasifika and Fiji Drua, will definitely play each other twice in 2022.”

Clubs from New Zealand have lifted the last five straight Super Rugby titles, with Crusaders responsible for the last three of those (2017-19).

It’s understood the 2022 Super Rugby season will kick off in February with plans to conclude the campaign in mid-June, identical to the old format prior to the coronavirus pandemic.


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