FMG Stadium to host Super Rugby Aupiki Round as historic season edges closer

By James Perry

Mirroring the first women’s Super Rugby match in New Zealand in 2021, the Blues will host the Chiefs Manawa at Eden Park on Saturday, March 5 to get the inaugural season underway.

The opening weekend concludes with Matatū going head-to-head with the Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium.

The four clubs all get one home match, with round three dubbed the ‘Super Round’ with the competition descending on Hamilton for a women’s rugby extravaganza.

Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Allan Bunting is excited for Super Rugby Aupiki to kick off.

“Preparations for our campaign are well underway, we have a talented squad and they are all eager to demonstrate to our fans and whānau what they can bring to the field.”

Sky Stadium in Wellington will play host to the first Hurricanes Women’s and Men’s doubleheader on Saturday, March 12. The Hurricanes women will take on the Blues before the men's side clash with Moana Pasifika. 

"To be able to play a doubleheader at Sky Stadium is fantastic for us as a club. The competition is going to be excellent for women’s rugby. We can’t wait.” 

Matatū head coach Blair Baxter said it is exciting to know the first time combined South Island side take the field will be on home soil.

“We’re really looking forward to representing the South Island in Super Rugby Aupiki, and the opportunity for this team to run out for the first time as Matatū in front of a home crowd is going to be pretty special.

“It’ll be a proud moment for our wāhine to put on the jersey and take the field as Super Rugby players, and the chance to celebrate how far the women’s game has come with our friends, whānau, and our home fans on March 6 is something we’ll certainly embrace during that week.”

Following the three week round-robin, the two top-placed teams will battle it out for the title in a final in the last weekend of March.

New Zealand Rugby today also confirmed Sky has secured the naming rights to the country's first professional women's rugby competition.

NZR General Manager of Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said the inaugural season of Super Rugby Aupiki was a game-changer for the women’s game.

“This year is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before when it comes to the women’s game and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki is a great way to get things underway.

“We’ve seen the four clubs assemble strong, exciting squads and this draw was the last piece of the puzzle before launching the competition in March. We’re looking forward to seeing New Zealand get in behind the players and teams and make this first season really set a benchmark for years to come,” Lendrum said.

All matches are live and exclusive on Sky, which has cemented its support for the women’s game, coming on board as the naming rights partner of the competition.

“As part of Sky’s commitment to elevating women in sport in every aspect, we are absolutely delighted to be naming rights sponsor and official broadcaster for the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki competition. New Zealanders are hungry for more, with the inaugural Super Rugby match between Blues and Chiefs proving popular among fans in 2021,” Sky CEO Sophie Moloney said.
 
“Our sponsorship and expert coverage of this landmark competition for women’s rugby in Aotearoa will enable us to showcase their skill and talent and tell the stories of the wāhine toa who love this game. But our support doesn’t stop there.
 
“Sky is committed to ensuring everyone in Aotearoa can watch our wāhine in action, so to support this new exciting competition we will proudly offer all Sky Super Rugby Aupiki games free to air on Prime as well as Sky Sport,” she said.

Super Rugby Aupiki draw:

Round One   
Saturday 5 March 
Blues v Chiefs Manawa,  Eden Park.

Sunday 6 March 
Matatū v Hurricanes, Orangetheory Stadium. 

Round Two    
Saturday 12 March 
Hurricanes v Blues, Sky Stadium,

Sunday 13 March 
Chiefs Manawa v Matatū, FMG Stadium,

Round Three - Super Round - FMG Stadium
Saturday 19 March 
Blues v Matatū.
Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes.

FINAL    
Saturday 26 or Sunday 27 March  TBC