New Zealand gave its approval, on Wednesday morning, to the merger of two new teams from the South Pacific islands, starting with the next edition of Super Rugby in 2022.
New Zealand rugby officials are following in the footsteps of World Rugby, the supreme authority in the global rugby game, which last month announced it would bring in “High performance financial, administrative and support” Into two franchises in the South Pacific to help them integrate Super Rugby.
These two teams will be called Fiji Drua, which will be based in Fiji, and Moana Pasifika, which will likely be based in Auckland.
“We are convinced that Moana Pasifika and Fiji Drua will be able to fulfill the terms of their license issuance, which includes agreeing to a business plan that they must submit by 30 June.”Said New Zealand Rugby Executive Director Mark Robinson.
Pacific Island players will no longer have to migrate
While the number of rugby players in the world from the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, etc.) is estimated at 20%, these players are forced to migrate due to poor sports infrastructure in their region. Country. The aim is for Fiji Drui and Mawana Pacifica to fill this gap.
Since the creation of what was then known as Super 12 in 1996 combining franchises from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, Super Rugby has seen many developments. It has grown to 14 and up to 18 teams, with the incorporation of new franchises from Australia, Argentina and Japan. The Japanese Sunwolves franchise withdrew in 2019 due to financial reasons.
With the difficulties arising from the epidemic and its health consequences but also on international travel, representatives of Argentina and South Africa split in 2020.
Twelve teams in 2022
These departures, as well as confinement rules, led to the creation of two Super Rugby in 2020 that were reduced to competition between national clubs: Super Rugby AU in Australia and Super Rugby Aotearoa in New Zealand.
Super Rugby is expected to regain its international character in 2022 and features twelve teams: five from New Zealand, five from Australia, and two new teams from the Pacific.