The Melbourne Rebels have welcomed today’s revised draw, with a series of blockbuster Australian derbies launching the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific beginning on February 18.
The new schedule retains the same competition format announced in November with a full round robin and single points table but will see the six New Zealand-based teams and six Australian-based teams play their opening eight matches on different sides of the Tasman due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The updated fixtures will see the Rebels play 7 home games in Melbourne – the most since 2019 – with three Friday night thrillers, one Saturday night blockbuster and three Sunday matches.
Among the highlights is a Round 6 Cultural Round clash against the Fijian Drua, and a historic Round 10 Super Round taking place at AAMI Park featuring a unique ANZAC celebration.
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The Rebels will open their new campaign in Queensland for the second year in a row, before returning to Melbourne to face the Western Force for a Friday night clash at AAMI Park.
The Rebels then battle Fijian Drua (location TBC) a week later before locking horns with the Brumbies at AAMI Park on March 11.
In Round 5 the Rebels will look to retain the Weary Dunlop Shield for a second successive season when they take on the Waratahs on the road.
In what shapes as a memorable night for the wider Victorian grassroots community, the Rebels will face the Fijian Drua at home for the first time in Super Rugby competition, with a March 25 Friday night blockbuster at AAMI Park.
Following a week off, the Rebels head to Perth to tackle rivals, the Western Force at HBF Park, before returning for a three-week homestand beginning with the Queensland Reds on April 15.
In Round 10, Super Round takes over the Sporting Capital of Australia, with all 12 teams descending upon Melbourne for a historic weekend of world class rugby, coinciding with ANZAC Round.
The Rebels are scheduled to close the three-day rugby extravaganza by hosting the Crusaders in a Sunday evening blockbuster at AAMI Park on April 24.
After a Round 11 Saturday night clash against Moana Pasifika, the Rebels travel to Auckland to face last year’s Trans-Tasman champions, the Blues, at Eden Park.
A Sunday afternoon meeting with the Chiefs awaits the Rebels in Round 13, before Melbourne’s stand-alone Super Rugby Club travels to Wellington to face the Hurricanes on May 21.
The Rebels will then wrap up their 2022 regular season campaign with a Sunday afternoon clash against the Highlanders at AAMI Park on Sunday May 29.