The Melbourne Rebels will make their long-awaited return to AAMI Park on Saturday, March 6, after Rugby Australia today unveiled the complete 2021 Super Rugby AU draw.
Having played the entirety of last season’s Super Rugby AU on the road, the Round 3 fixture shapes as the Rebels first game back at their beloved Stockade in almost twelve months.
The season schedule sees the Rebels play eight matches over a ten-week round robin home and away format against the four other Australian clubs, with five Friday night games and three Saturday night matches.
Kicking off on February 19 and concluding with the Final on May 8, all 22 Super Rugby AU games will be broadcasted live and on demand, ad-free, on Stan’s new streaming sports package which will launch in 2021.
An additional one match each round, including the Finals series, will also be simulcast live on the Nine Network nationally.
With a bye to open the season in Round 1, the Rebels kick off their eleventh season of Super Rugby with a Qualifying Finals rematch against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, on Friday, February 26 2021.
The Rebels then return home to AAMI Park for a free-to-air Saturday night blockbuster against reigning Super Rugby AU Champions, the Brumbies on March 6.
That clash will be the Rebels first game back in Melbourne in an astounding 364 days, promising to be a special occasion for both the club and the greater Victorian rugby community as a whole.
The Rebels are then scheduled to play their first game in Perth in over three-years when they clash with the Western Force in Round 4, before hosting their Weary Dunlop rivals, the NSW Waratahs, back at AAMI Park on Friday night, March 19.
After their second and final bye in Round 6, Melbourne has a crucial back-to-back home game double, starting with the Queensland Reds on April 3, playing back at AAMI Park where the Rebels currently hold a four-match winning streak over their North Eastern rivals.
Round 8 sees the Rebels play their final game of the season at the Stockade against the Western Force on April 9, in a crucial Friday night clash which could have major implications on the finals race.
Star recruit, Joe Powell, then makes his long-awaited return to his old stomping ground for the very first time in Rebels colours, when Melbourne travels to Canberra in an epic Round 9 clash against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium on April 16.
Melbourne then wraps up its 2021 regular season campaign by traveling to Harbour City for an ANZAC Day eve blockbuster against archrivals, the NSW Waratahs, on Saturday, April 24.
Following the announcement earlier this week of a new landmark broadcasting arrangement with Nine Entertainment Co., Super Rugby will now complement its traditional wide-ranging international exposure with greater domestic free to air coverage next season, for the first time in the competitions rich 25-year history.
This agreement will now make Super Rugby more accessible to the general public than ever before, providing a greater opportunity for all Victorians to get behind their hometown team and cheer on their favourite Wallabies heroes, such as Reece Hodge, Matt To’omua and 2019 John Eales Medallist, Marika Koroibete.
Coinciding with last season’s maiden Super Rugby AU finals campaign and the rapid rise of Victorian Pathways products, Jordan Uelese, Pone Fa’amausili and Trevor Hosea, today’s fixture release caps an exciting time for rugby in Victoria.
Speaking following today’s draw announcement, Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Dave Wessels said: “I think the first thing everyone here at the Rebels did was circle our first home game in the diary. It’s going fantastic to be back at AAMI Park after nearly a year away.”
“I think Super Rugby AU was a huge success in 2020. The longer it went, it felt like the tribalism was returning to the comp and people were really getting behind it.”
“With a new broadcast deal now in place and all the other exciting innovations and developments that are happening around the game, it’s sensational to think about what can happen to rugby in Australia over the next few months as we build into 2021.”
Rugby Australia is also working closely with New Zealand Rugby on a trans-Tasman competition and plans to announce details shortly.
Stan’s new streaming sport package will launch in 2021.