Sport | Rugby

Historic launch of revamped super rugby competition

The 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season was launched in Auckland today.

The 12 teams’ captains came together for the first time in the history of the revamped competition, which replaces the previous Super Rugby format. It features teams from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, with newcomers Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua.

Auckland Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu has recently returned from Japan where his squad nabbed two pre-season victories against Suntory Sungoliath (43-7) and Okohama Canon Eagles (57-22).

“I’m looking forward to seeing our young players thrive. We have had quite a few on our team waiting on the side and waiting for their opportunity, so it will be good to see them in action and hopefully help us get to a final.”

With 91 games to be played across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, the upcoming expansion of the competition to include these Pacific Island teams not only adds a new level of excitement but also reflects a commitment to inclusivity and the global growth of the sport.

Pulotu says this Pacific-focused competition will have a positive impact on up-and-coming players, especially from the high school level.

“We’ve got a few guys in our team now who just came out of high school last year.

“Back when I was playing you had to wait a couple of years and then get your shot but now scouts are seeing talent straight out of school, and that bridge between school and professional rugby is getting smaller and smaller.”

The season kicks off on Friday, February 23, with last season’s finalists, the Crusaders and the Chiefs, shaping up for another epic encounter.