Super Rugby Pacific: Previewing 4 of the Best Matches in Round 1 Including Chiefs vs Crusaders

Super Rugby Pacific: Previewing 4 of the Best Matches in Round 1 Including Chiefs vs Crusaders

Jarryd Westerdale
updated at February 23, 2024 at 7:17 AM
  • Super Rugby Pacific returns on February 23 for four months of intense rugby action
  • The competition features teams from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Manu Samoa
  • The Crusaders are the defending champs after beating the Chiefs in last year's final

The Southern Hemisphere's truest demonstration of the spirit of rugby has returned.

Super Rugby has recovered from its South African-sized wobble and is re-establishing itself as the product to watch if one enjoys running rugby, colossal hits, and mind-bending offloads.

The Crusaders have yet to be dethroned since the 2020 split, with their title dominance stretching all the way back to the 2017 season.

Super Rugby, Crusaders, Brumbies, Chiefs, Blues, Drua, Reds, Waratahs, Rebels.
Super Rugby's most anticipated Round 1 fixtures include a 2023 final rematch and Carter Gordon facing the Brumbies. Photos: Daniel Pockett, Phil Walter and Mark Nolan
Source: Getty Images

Super Rugby Pacific has repurposed its single log format, with Sports Brief assessing the Round 1 pairings that hold the most intrigue.

Super Rugby's best Round 1 matchups

1. Chiefs vs Crusaders

The 2024 competition begins where last season left off, with an all-Aotearoan blockbuster.

All Blacks, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown, start in the Chiefs backline with captain, Luke Jacobson, leading from the back of the pack in front of their home crowd.

Seven-time Super Rugby winner, Ritchie Mo'unga, has departed the Crusaders for Japan, leaving the door open for Rivez Reihana to make his much-anticipated competition debut, as per the Crusaders website.

2. Rebels vs Brumbies

The Melbourne Rebels are indicative of the state of Australian rugby union. A week before the 2024 season opener, Stuff reported the franchise is facing financial issues that could see them soon fade into oblivion.

The Rebels still have a good team, including new recruits like Taniela Tupou and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, as well as Wallabies Rob Leota, Jordan Uelese, and Carter Gordon.

Coached by legend, Stephen Larkham, the visiting Brumbies are brimming with talent. They are Australia's perennial contenders and one can expect more of the same from them in 2024.

3. Blues vs Fijian Drua

For those living near the Greenwich Meridian, Super Rugby tastes better for breakfast than any Full English.

The Fijian Drua went from second-bottom in their debut campaign in 2022 to seventh on the log in 2023. Expect them to build on that success, with former Wallaby, Morgan Turinui, describing them to NINE as 'almost unbeatable at home'.

They must first travel to Auckland to face the Blues, who start three of the most devastating backs in the world in Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, and Caleb Clarke.

4. Reds vs Waratahs

The definitive Aussie rivalry will never lose its allure. No matter the sport, Queensland versus New South Wales is one to set the alarm clocks for.

The 'Tahs have the edge on paper, but this is a matchup for lovers of nostalgia more than lovers of rugby, as the two teams have hovered in mid-table mediocrity for several years.

If anything, rugby fans will watch in the hope that there is still that spark that once made Australian rugby a thing of intricately intelligent beauty.

Will South Africa ever return to Super Rugby?

Sports Brief previously compiled a list of reasons why South Africa might reconsider Super Rugby contention.

The chances become less likely with each season, but older fans can't help but yearn for the intense rivalries.

South Africa's franchises may be reaping the financial benefits, but one doubts if Saturdays will be the same.

Jarryd Westerdale photo
Jarryd Westerdale
Jarryd Westerdale (based in Johannesburg) joined Sports Brief after four years in the community journalism sphere. He is a two-time Alet Roux Award winner and was a finalist in multiple categories at the Forum of Community Journalism Excellence Awards.