A new women’s rugby competition is being launched in New Zealand .
New Zealand have announced Super Rugby Aupiki, a new women’s rugby competition to be played in March 2022.
Four teams have been named to take part: the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and a combined South Island team. The latter will be governed by the Crusaders.
Squads for each team are expected to be named in the next month. Clubs will contract 28 players and they will come together for a pre-season match before the competition window in March.
New Zealand Rugby’s head of women’s rugby Cate Sexton said: “We saw a glimpse of how exciting this competition will be with the match between the Blues and Chiefs earlier this year. It also reaffirmed the need for this level of competition; will be a great opportunity for developing players.
Introducing #SuperRugbyAupiki 🙌🏾
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) October 5, 2021
“Next year is absolutely huge for women’s rugby and this competition will be the perfect showcase to kick things off and get the rugby public engaged in women’s rugby.”
What will the format be?
There will be four weekends of competition throughout March, kicking off on the 5/6 weekend. The following two weekends will see home-and-away fixtures for each team. And the top two teams will then compete in a final on 26 March.
All games will be broadcast on Sky Sport NZ.
What does the name Super Rugby Aupiki mean?
Organisers wanted the name to reflect a stepping stone between the Farah Palmer Cup and the Black Ferns.
New Zealand Rugby’s Māori Cultural Advisor Luke Crawford linked the name to the narratives of the ascent of Tane to the highest heavens to retrieve the three baskets of knowledge.
Super Rugby Aupiki In naming the competition, NZR were seeking a term that aligned with the competition being a steppingstone for players to reach higher honours.
NZR Māori Cultural Advisor Luke Crawford linked this to the narratives about the ascent of Tane to the highest heavens to retrieve the three baskets of knowledge. The baskets contained all the knowledge and understanding needed to ascend to the highest heights of achievement.
Drawing from a karakia that tells the journey of Tane, the following whakaaro was termed, “Te āupikitanga / tūpikitanga ki Te Toi-ō-ngā-rangi. – The ascent to the upper most realm”. Aupiki was chosen as the term to reflect the journey of players striving for higher honours which is the purpose of this competition.