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Super Rugby: 2023 season – All you need to know

The 2023 Super Rugby campaign gets underway on Friday and we look set for an exciting campaign so let’s take a look at all you need to know ahead of the curtain raiser.

The Teams

Super Rugby Pacific 2023 is made up of 12 teams. Five from Australia, five from New Zealand and one each from Fiji and Pacific Islands. They are as follows.

Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes - all from New Zealand.

Western Force, Brumbies, Reds, Rebels and Waratahs - all from Australia.

Drua from Fiji and Moana Pasifika.

The format

91 matches will be played over the regular season in a round-robin format. The top eight teams will then battle it out in the finals.

Related Super Rugby News

A look at the week ahead

Main contenders to win the Grand Final

The finals series will consist of four quarter-final matches, two semi-finals and then the big one, the Grand Final.

The season will get underway on Friday 24th February and run through to Saturday 24th June which is the date for the Grand Final.

The hot fancies

Hopefully the race to be crowned champions will be a tight one but heading into the season the competition looks set to be dominated by the teams from New Zealand with the Crusaders in particular looking very strong.

So let’s take a look at the three main contenders.

Crusaders (7/4) The Crusaders are the 2022 champions and are Super Rugby’s most successful side over the past seven seasons when they have not finished any lower than third on the ladder. Hence it is no surprise why they are the hot fancies to go on and defend their title in 2023.

Players to watch Former England halfback Willi Heinz returns after a stint playing in his homeland, while Samoan international Melani Nanai and Pepesana Patafilo have also signed. The return of coach Scott Robertson is also a huge boost and he has already revealed his delight at assembling a ‘good balanced squad’.

Blues (9/4) The Blues had an impressive 2022 when making finals for the first time since 2003 and looked to be the side most likely to topple the Crusaders. It wasn’t to be but they will be hoping to come bouncing back with a strong 2023 campaign, taking their game to the next level.

Players to watch All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has re-signed for the club following a one-year spell in Japan and is sure to be a big hit. Coach Leon MacDonald is delighted to have a settled squad and says they are out to go one step further in the season ahead.

Chiefs (4/1) The Chiefs have been rocked by the departure of coach Warren Gatland, who in December opted to leave the club in favour of returning to coach Wales ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It means Clayton McMillan is now in charge on a permanent basis and he will be keen to make his mark in the competition.

Players to watch The Chiefs have also been hit by the news that All Blacks prop Angus Ta’avao will miss the entire campaign through injury. With that in mind, the Chiefs have made a move to fill the void by bringing in Ireland international John Ryan, who has made over 200 appearances for Munster.

The Chiefs have also brought Damian McKenzie back to the club after he spent the last year playing his rugby in Japan.

Week one fixtures

The 2023 Super Rugby season gets underway with an intriguing clash between two of the hot fancies to go all the way and win the Grand Final.

The Crusaders take on the Chiefs on Friday night with the home side priced at 9/25 to begin with a win while the visitors can be backed at 11/5.

To wrap up the action on Friday night the Waratahs, who are priced at 6/4, take on the Brumbies who are the hot fancies at 27/50. Saturday sees a jam-packed day of action with four games taking place. The action gets underway with Moana Pasifika taking on Fijian Drua, before the Highlanders take on another of the top contenders for the title, the Blues.

The Blues are priced at 19/50 to begin their season with a win. The Reds also entertain the Hurricanes on Sunday before week one of the competition is wrapped up with the Western Force taking on the Rebels.

Western Force are priced at 13/25 to start with a win, while the Rebels can be backed at 31/20.

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