The countdown to the start of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki has officially begun with the draw and naming partner announced this afternoon.
Following on from the first-ever women’s Super Rugby match in New Zealand last May, the Blues will host the Chiefs Manawa at Eden Park on Saturday, March 5, to kick off the inaugural season. The opening weekend concludes with Matatū taking on the Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium.
The four clubs will all get one home game, with the third round dubbed the ‘Super Round’ with the competition descending on Hamilton for a women’s rugby extravaganza.
The two best-placed teams will compete for the title in a final on the last weekend of March.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager of Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said the inaugural season of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki was a game-changer for the women’s game.
“This year is going to be something we’ve never seen before when it comes to the women’s game and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki is a great way to get things started.
“We have seen the four clubs put together strong, exciting teams and this draw was the final piece of the puzzle before the competition launched in March. We look forward to seeing New Zealand get behind the players and teams and really make this first season a benchmark for years to come,” said Lendrum.
All matches will be live and exclusively on Sky – who have confirmed their support for the women’s game and have come on board as the competition’s naming rights partner.
“As part of Sky’s commitment to improving women’s sport in every aspect, we are absolutely delighted to name the rights sponsor and official broadcaster for the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki competition. New Zealanders are craving more with the inaugural Super Rugby match between Blues and Chiefs, which will prove popular with fans in 2021,” said Sky CEO Sophie Moloney.
“Our sponsorship and expert coverage of this historic women’s rugby match in Aotearoa will enable us to showcase their skills and talent and tell the stories of the Wāhine Toa who love this game. But our support doesn’t stop there.
“Sky is committed to ensuring that everyone in Aotearoa can see our wahine in action, so to support this new exciting competition we are proud to offer all Sky Super Rugby Aupiki games on Prime and Sky Sport for free”, said Moloney.
Super Rugby Aupiki at a glance
• 4 teams: Blues, Chiefs Manawa, Hurricanes, Matatū
• 3 regular season games (one home, one away, one Super Round game)
• 1v2 play standalone Finals over the weekend of March 26-27
Draw Super Rugby Aupiki
Saturday March 5th
Blues v Chiefs Manawa, Eden Park, kickoff 1:45 PM
Sunday March 6
Matatū v Hurricanes, Orangetheory Stadium, kick-off at 3:45 PM
Saturday March 12
Hurricanes v Blues, Sky Stadium, kickoff 1:45 PM
Sunday 13 March
Chiefs Breath v Matatū, FMG Stadium, kick-off at 3:45 PM
Round Three – Super Round – FMG Stadium
Saturday March 19
Blues v Matatū, kick-off 13:45
Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes, kick-off 4:35 PM
Saturday 26 or Sunday 27 March