The Fijian Drua will play six of their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific games in Fiji, the venues for which will be revealed tomorrow, including their fixtures against season finalists, champs Crusaders, and the runners-up, Blues.
Also coming to Fiji next year are the Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds, Moana Pasifika, and Hurricanes. For its away games in 2023, the Drua will travel to Auckland, Brisbane, Dunedin, Canberra, Hamilton, Perth, and Sydney.
Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn said: “It will be a fascinating 15 weeks of Super Rugby Pacific and we cannot wait to play six games right here in front of our Drua vuvale. We’re delighted with the draw which will see some of the competition’s best teams heading to our home, including both finalists from last year. We’re delighted that our amazing fans will get to witness the Crusaders, Melbourne Rebels, Blues, Hurricanes, Moana Pasifika, and Queensland Reds right here! A trip to Fiji now presents visiting teams with a daunting challenge on the field but a wonderful Fiji tourism experience for their fans off it.”
“The fact that all our home games in Fiji are on Saturday afternoons will make it easy and convenient for all our fans to attend and cheer on their Drua as they take on some of the world’s best rugby teams. Our players are now preparing for pre-season and are focused on doing even better in their second season. As a Club, we’re also taking a number of exciting steps to enhance the fan experience on matchdays and will roll these out in the coming weeks.”
The competition will see all 12 teams play a total of 14 matches during the regular season, which includes the 11 round-robin fixtures plus three additional rivalry matches, that will yet again ignite the trans-Tasman and Pasifika rivalries like never before.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said: “There is a real feeling that Super Rugby Pacific is ready for take-off after a successful, but COVID disrupted inaugural season. We saw massive potential on the field in 2022, but also some huge challenges off it, so to have a fully integrated and uninterrupted draw in 2023 is great news for the players and the fans. I think we are going to see one of Super Rugby’s most competitive seasons.”
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “Being able to play regularly in front of home fans, and to travel across the Tasman and around the Pacific is massive for the competition, especially for fans, who can support their teams through a full home schedule. Everyone saw what Super Rugby Pacific had to offer in its first season and all 12 clubs have taken that excitement into the off-season and will be primed for a shot at the title in 2023.”
The opening weekend will also see Pasifika pride on the line as Moana Pasifika host the Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland in what will be the start of historic campaigns for last year’s two competition newcomers.
●Round 1: Moana Pasifika v Fijian Drua, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland – 4.35pm (local) / 3:35pm (Fiji)
●Round 2: Fijian Drua v Waratahs, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm (local) / 8.45pm (Fiji)
●Round 3: Fijian Drua v Crusaders, Venue TBC –3.35pm (Fiji)
●Round 4: Reds v Fijian Drua, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane – 3pm (local) / 5pm (Fiji)
●Round 5: Highlanders v Fijian Drua, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – 4.35pm (local) / 3.35pm (Fiji)
●Round 6: Fijian Drua v Rebels, Venue TBC- 3.35pm (Fiji)
●Round 7: Bye
●Round 8: Brumbies v Fijian Drua, GIO Stadium, Canberra – 7:35pm (local) / 9:35pm (Fiji)
●Round 9: Chiefs v Fijian Drua, FMG Stadium, Waikato, Hamilton – 7.05pm (local)/ 7.05pm (Fiji)
●Round 10: Fijian Drua v Blues, Venue TBC – 12.05pm (local) / 2.05pm (Fiji)
●Round 11: Fijian Drua v Hurricanes, Venue TBC –2.05pm (Fiji)
●Round 12: Force v Fijian Drua, HBF Park, Perth – 5.35pm (local) / 9.35pm (Fiji)
●Round 13: Waratahs v Fijian Drua, Allianz Stadium, Sydney – 7.45pm (local) / 9.45pm (Fiji)
●Round 14: Fijian Drua v Moana Pasifika, Venue TBC- 2.05pm (Fiji)
●Round 15: Fijian Drua v Reds, Venue TBC – 4:45pm (Fiji)