Moana Pasifika to host Blues, Drua to play Tahs in opening round of Super Rugby

Moana Pasifika will face off against the Blues in Auckland in their opening match of the revised Super Rugby Pacific competition while the Fijian Drua take on the Waratahs in New South Wales.

The draw has been revised due to new Covid-19 trans-Tasman travel restrictions.

The five New Zealand-based teams, and the six Australian-based teams will play their first eight games in their respective countries.

Moana Pasifika will be based in New Zealand and the Fijian Drua are based in Australia.

Moana Pasifika's game against the Blues takes place at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday February 18; the Drua's game against the Waratahs follows that game on the same evening at a venue to be confirmed.

In the second round Moana visit the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday February 25; the Drua play the Brumbies in Canberra the following day.

Moana Pasifika's rugby director Kevin Senio welcomed the revised draw as a dream way to kick off the club's first season.

"We are thrilled that we are still hosting the opening round, and we couldn't have asked for a more fitting way to kick off our debut season," he said.

"I know that a lot of our fans will be torn between their loyalties. But I also know that we are able to attract a lot of new fans to the game because of their pride in our heritage."

Head Coach Aaron Mauger said regardless of the opposition, the opportunity to play the opening round at home, was a significant milestone that would not be lost on the team.

"It doesn't really matter how you carve up the draw, every game is as hard as the next. But it is pretty special to be able to play at our home ground three times in the first six rounds, but to play in New Zealand for all of the first seven rounds is something I think will be a huge advantage to us.

"We're under no illusions that we are up against arguably the five strongest teams in the competition for eight games straight but our primary focus will be on ourselves and the things that we can do to compete with and challenge the New Zealand teams consistently during that period. It's a challenge we look forward to." he said.

Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn said the team was excited to get the revised schedule confirmed so we can get on to locking in our home matches and logistics for the first season.

"We'll welcome the Tahs and their supporters to Fiji for the first time ever, and look forward to showcasing Fiji as a fantastic sporting and events destination. We are still evaluating prospects for another match to be hosted in Fiji, which could either be against the Force in Round 5 [March 19], the Highlanders in Round 11 [30 April] or the Chiefs in Round 15 [27 May]. Border restrictions and other commercial considerations will be a factor, and we'll make announcements in due course after these ongoing evaluations."

Thorburn says the Drua will finalise all other home venues for 2022 in Australia shortly against the Rebels, Brumbies, Highlanders, Moana Pasifika and the Chiefs.