Except a cross over tournament with SANZAR teams

The second season of Super Rugby AU will kick off in February, returning top flight rugby union in Australia to its traditional autumn slot in 2021.

The five-team domestic competition filled the breach in Australia from July through September this year after the wider Super Rugby season was shut down in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With Covid-19 virtually eliminated in Australia, Super Rugby AU’s second instalment will be a genuine home-and-away season rather than having teams confined to biosecure hubs in eastern states as happened this year.

The season kicks off with a Friday double-header on Feb. 19 with Reds playing the Waratahs at Lang Park in Brisbane, followed by Western Force hosting the defending champions Brumbies in Perth.

All teams play each other twice over 10 rounds before the two-week finals series starts on May 1, as per the schedule released by Rugby Australia (RA) on Wednesday.

RA confirmed the schedule two days after announcing a three-year broadcasting deal worth A$100 million ($73 million) which has shored up the game’s financial position after months of uncertainty.

From Super Rugby’s second round, the deal includes a free-to-air broadcast of one Saturday game per week on the Nine Network. The other games will be carried on Nine’s streaming platform Stan.

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