Crusaders to face Highlanders first up

Chris Lendrum. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Chris Lendrum. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Crusaders will open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign next year with a game against the Highlanders.

The draw was released last night and the Crusaders are set to start the competition at Forsyth Barr Stadium against the Highlanders on February 26, the first game of the competition.

The competition is once again involving the five New Zealand sides although a final has been added and will be played on May 8.

The door has been left open for games against Australian Super Rugby sides.

In a press release, New Zealand Rugby professional rugby and performance general manager Chris Lendrum said discussions were continuing with the Australian union and it was hoped details would be revealed soon.

The Crusaders and other franchises have already started advertising season ticket sales for next year which indicate six home games, so the games against the Australian sides look likely.

The 20 games across the competition will be played mostly on Friday and Saturday nights although there will be four games on Sunday afternoons.

The final will be between the top two sides on May 8.

If a transtasman series takes place, it is likely to follow a couple of weeks after the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa schedule:

Round 1

Highlanders vs Crusaders, Dunedin – Friday February 26, 7.05pm

Hurricanes vs Blues, Wellington – Saturday February 27, 7.05pm

Round 2

Chiefs vs Highlanders, Hamilton – Friday March 5, 7.05pm

Crusaders v Hurricanes, Christchurch – Saturday March 6, 7.05pm

Round 3

Crusaders vs Chiefs, Christchurch – Saturday March 13, 7.05pm

Blues vs Highlanders, Auckland – Sunday March 14, 3.35pm

Round 4

Hurricanes vs Chiefs, Wellington – Saturday March 20, 7.05pm

Blues vs Crusaders, Auckland –Sunday March 21, 3.35pm

Round 5

Highlanders vs Hurricanes, Dunedin – Friday March 26, 7.05pm

Chiefs vs Blues, Hamilton – Saturday March 27, 7.05pm

Round 6 (Easter Weekend)

Crusaders vs Highlanders, Christchurch – Friday April 2, 7.05pm

Blues vs Hurricanes, Auckland – Saturday April 3, 7.05pm

Round 7

Highlanders vs Chiefs, Dunedin – Saturday April 10, 7.05PM

Hurricanes vs Crusaders, Wellington – Sunday April 11, 3.35pm

Round 8

Highlanders vs Blues, Dunedin – Friday April 16, 7.05pm

Chiefs vs Crusaders, Hamilton – Saturday April 17, 7.05pm

Round 9 (Anzac weekend)

Chiefs vs Hurricanes, Hamilton – Friday April 23, 7.05pm

Crusaders vs Blues, Christchurch – Sunday April 25, 3.35pm

Round 10

Hurricanes vs Highlanders, Wellington – Friday April 30, 7.05pm

Blues vs Chiefs, Auckland – Saturday May 1, 7.05pm

Final

Saturday May 8

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