The Crusaders are set to host six regular season home games at Orangetheory Stadium in 2022, after New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia confirmed the Super Rugby Pacific draw today.
Matches in Christchurch include four derbies against the other New Zealand clubs, starting with the Highlanders in Round 1 and ending with last season's Super Rugby Aotearoa finalists, the Chiefs, in Round 15. Crusaders fans will also get to watch their side take on the Melbourne Rebels and Super Rugby newcomers, Fijian Drua.
“It's great to have our 2022 fixtures confirmed and to be able to provide our Crusaders Members with clarity around our exciting home games next season,” Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said.
"We're looking forward to offering our fans the opportunity to see four classic kiwi derbies at Orangetheory Stadium, plus a Good Friday fixture against the Rebels and a first look at the intriguing Fijian Drua side."
Under the new competition format each team will play 14 regular season games, including 11 traditional round-robin fixtures and three rivalry matches, which will see each team play three other teams both home and away. The Crusaders rivalry matches are against fellow kiwi sides the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Chiefs.
Next year's competition also sees the introduction of 'Super Round Melbourne' (Round 2), with all 12 teams heading to AAMI Park for three days of double-headers between Friday 25th and Sunday 27th February. There, the Crusaders will meet 2020's Super Rugby Australia Champions, the Reds, on neutral ground.
The finals series is confirmed to take place in June, with Quarter Finals from 3rd-5th June, Semi-Finals on 10th and 11th June, and the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Final on Saturday 18th June.
Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson added: "We're set for some massive clashes in Christchurch against our traditional kiwi rivals, including a classic southern derby to kick off the year and a Sunday afternoon fixture against the Blues in Round 5.
"The new-look Super Rugby Pacific competition is sure to present some unique challenges for all teams, including the addition of a Super Round early in the year, but it's exciting to bring a renewed format to fans throughout the Pacific."
The Crusaders squad will be named next Monday 22nd November, and will assemble early in the new year in preparation for their first pre-season game on Friday 4th February, the annual Farmlands Cup fixture against the Highlanders in Weston. Further details of the side's second pre-season game, which will be played in the Crusaders region, will be announced soon.