Get to know the 12 teams taking part in the new-look tournament
Super Rugby Pacific Team Guide 2022
Super Rugby has taken on many guises over the past 25 years but the 2022 version is arguably the most exciting yet.
Super Rugby Pacific features not only the best franchises from Australia and New Zealand but two Pacific Islands teams.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos has described the addition of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika as “a game-changer for rugby in the Pacific. Their inclusion will make this new competition one of the toughest in the world”.
Moana Pasifika will be based in New Zealand while the Drua will play the majority of home games in Oz this year due to Covid but hope to play out of Fiji from 2023.
The 12-team tournament kicks off on 18 February and reaches its climax on 18 June. There are 14 regular rounds, with sides playing all other teams at least once.
Due to Covid travel restrictions, the Australia-based and NZ-based teams will play their opening eight matches on their sides of the Tasman, with the Kiwi sides basing themselves in Queenstown early on, while there is also set to be a ‘Super Round’ in April where all teams play in Melbourne.
The top eight teams at the end of the regular season go into the quarter-finals, with the first-placed team playing eighth, second playing seventh and so on.
The top four seeds will host the last-eight ties, with higher-ranked teams given home advantage for the semis and final too. Find out how to catch the action with our how to watch Super Rugby Pacific article and below you’ll find the lowdown on the sides involved with our Super Rugby Pacific Team Guide.
Super Rugby Pacific Team Guide 2022
Coach Leon MacDonald
Squad news Beauden Barrett’s Japan sabbatical is over but Patrick Tuipulotu, plus fellow locks Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and Jacob Pierce, have headed the opposite way. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the big-name arrival from league while Dalton Papalii has been named captain.
Key player With second-row resources depleted, the signing of veteran Luke Romano from Crusaders is crucial.
Coach Dan McKellar
Squad news Jesse Mogg returns after half a decade in France while Chris Feauai-Sautia switches from the Reds. Expect Nic White to continue to be an important mentor for Noah Lolesio.
Key player Wallaby full-back Tom Banks is the major threat in attack. He topped the charts for tries, carries, breaks and metres in Super Rugby AU last year.
Coach Clayton McMillan
Squad news This will be an emotional season for Chiefs following the tragic death of Sean Wainui. Other regulars in Damian McKenzie and Lachlan Boshier have left, but Brodie Retallick is back and Josh Ioane joins from Highlanders.
Key player Sam Cane has hardly played for Chiefs for two years due to injury. He’ll be eager to show his talents.
Coach Scott Robertson
Squad news Prop Michael Ala’alatoa is now at Leinster, but the Crusaders, who have won five titles in five years, have retained the rest of last season’s starting line-up. Argentina flanker Pablo Matera is the major recruit.
Key player Super Rugby Player of the Year for the past two seasons, Richie Mo’unga is the Crusaders’ conductor.
Coach Mick Byrne
Squad news There’s a mix of local Fijian talent, sevens stars and players joining from overseas clubs in the team for their first campaign. Keep an eye out for Olympic champions Napolioni Bolaca, Kalione Nasoko and Meli Derenalagi.
Key player Fiji hooker Mesulame Dolokoto will be vital in this new team developing a solid set-piece.
Coach Tony Brown
Squad news A third of the starting XV from the Trans-Tasman final – Ash Dixon, Josh Ioane, Michael Collins, Siate Tokolahi and Kazuki Himeno – have all departed, while Pari Pari Parkinson will miss the entire season with injury and Jona Nareki is also sidelined.
Key player Aaron Smith – talismanic both as a scrum-half and a leader.
Coach Jason Holland
Squad news Ngani Laumape, Vince Aso and Vaea Fifita are notable departures, while the returning Owen Franks is out long term with an Achilles injury. Dom Bird adds experience at lock while fellow All Black TJ Perenara is back from Japan.
Key player Ardie Savea’s influence for the Canes and All Blacks continues to grow, wherever he plays in the back row.
Coach Kevin Foote
Squad news Marika Koroibete is a big loss while another Wallaby outside back, Dane Haylett-Petty, has been forced to retire. Isi Naisarani has left too, while Matt Philip is back from a stint in France.
Key player Carter Gordon is a rising star at ten but Matt Toomua’s input from midfield will be critical, both in guiding the youngster and rallying the Rebels.
Coach Aaron Mauger
Squad news Sekope Kepu, who has been named captain, and Christian Lealiifano are the headline signings for this debut season but Samoa and Tonga internationals feature too, as do a host of up-and-comers. They will play home games at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium.
Key player Former All Black Mauger wants his side to show courage, power and flair. Step forward Samoa’s Jack Lam.
Coach Brad Thorn
Squad news Minimal movement at last year’s Super Rugby AU champions sees only Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Bryce Hegarty and Moses Sorovi leaving. A familiar name amongst the arrivals is teenage ten Tom Lynagh, son of Michael.
Key player Props don’t often get hailed in this category but the power of Taniela Tupou is crucial in the tight and loose.
Coach Darren Coleman
Squad news After a winless campaign last term, the biggest signing is Coleman as coach. New prop Ruan Smith is set to become the first player to represent all five Australian Super Rugby sides.
Key player Michael Hooper spent 2021 in Japan but is back at the Waratahs. The Wallabies skipper has unwavering high standards and is the ultimate link player.
Coach Tim Sampson
Squad news Most of the Test experience brought in last year has gone, Tomas Cubelli, Tevita Kuridrani and Rob Kearney amongst the departures. Of the arrivals, Australia lock Izack Rodda is a coup and look out for Fiji wing Manasa Mataele.
Key player Feleti Kaitu’u made his Wallabies debut last year and brings plenty of dynamism at hooker.
Read exclusive interviews with Dalton Papalii and Tate McDermott, as well as get a behind-the-scenes look at Fijian Drua, in Rugby World’s March 2022 edition, which is on sale from 1 February to 7 March.
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