Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika have both been given conditional licences to join a 12-team Super Rugby competition in 2022.
The New Zealand Rugby Board’s decision to grant two licenses has paved the way for the two Pacific Islands sides to join the southern-hemisphere club rugby competition next spring.
As it stands, five teams from New Zealand and five teams from Australia compete in Super Rugby. The competition is currently split into two domestic tournaments but a trans-Tasman competition will take place later this year.
🌴 Talofa lava, bula vinaka, mālō e lelei and warm pacific greetings! Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua are coming to pro rugby in 2022! Cheeeehoooo 🇫🇯🇼🇸🇹🇴
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) April 14, 2021
‘We are now on the cusp of realising a long-held desire.’
NZR Board member and former Samoa and New Zealand international Michael Jones hailed the granting of the licences as a great step forward for rugby in the Pacific Islands.
“We are now on the cusp of realising a long-held desire to include Pasifika in our professional game and the opportunity to embrace all that comes with that,” Jones said.
“With the approval of licences, Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua can now forge ahead with the final stages of their business plans and crucially start to lock in their playing and coaching rosters for next season. It’s an exciting time for rugby.”
The FRU today welcomed New Zealand Rugby’s announcement that it would award a conditional license to the Fijian Drua to participate in the Super Rugby competition from 2022 onwards.
Read below for more!!!https://t.co/sLMbOXpmt3
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) April 14, 2021
Fijian Drua would primarily be based in Suva, but they could also play some of their home games in Western Sydney, where there is a large expat Fijian population.
Moana Pasifika will likely be based in Auckland, but could also play some home games in Samoa and Tonga.
Teams from South Africa, Argentina and Japan have all previously competed in Super Rugby but none are expected to return to the competition after the 2020 season was cancelled due to the pandemic.