DHL Super Rugby Pacific is a professional domestic competition featuring the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders and referees from New Zealand.
The current two-round home-away format was set up in 2020 when the previous regional format involving teams from South Africa, Australia and Argentina was disrupted by COVID-19 and replaced by domestic competitions.
The teams compete for the Tū Kōtahi Aotearoa trophy, created for the competition by Otaki carver Bill Doyle and won by the Crusaders during the inaugural season.
The five DHL Super Rugby Pacific teams are part-owned by New Zealand Rugby and when originally set up, were run by boards representing the Provincial Unions that make up each Super Rugby catchment. Reviews into the financial sustainability and structure of Super Rugby and its five clubs identified the need to reinvigorate the franchise model and provide for additional investment to improve its financial sustainability.
New Zealand has five teams playing in DHL Super Rugby Pacific (from north to south):
Expressions of interest were called for in December 2011 for four of the five licences. The Highlanders were not part of the original process, although NZR commenced the process for the Highlanders in 2014.
A Super Rugby Licensee’s responsibilities include:
New Zealand Rugby will: