Super Rugby has been granted the green light for Pacific Island teams to join the 2022 competition in a landmark decision.
The Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika were granted conditional licences, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced on Wednesday, and will join the five Aussie and five New Zealand teams.
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While World Rugby last month pledged a $2.16 million annual package to offset costs, NZR said entry next year was still conditional on their final business plans and Rugby Australia's (RA) support.
RA announced they were excited by the potential and were looking forward to finalising the licenses ahead of the 2022 competition.
This year the two countries are holding domestic Super Rugby competitions, with a five-week Trans-Tasman crossover competition kicking off on May 14.
"We look forward to continuing our engagement with NZR on this process as we plan towards 2022," said RA boss Andy Marinos.
"Once further conditions around the licences have been met, we look forward to formalising the composition of the teams in what will hopefully prove a new dawn for rugby in the region."
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NZR board member and former Manu Samoa and All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones said the announcement was a significant milestone.
"We are now on the cusp of realising a long-held desire to include Pasifika in our professional game and the opportunity to embrace all that comes with that," Jones said in a statement.
"With the approval of licences, Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua can now forge ahead with the final stages of their business plans and crucially start to lock in their playing and coaching rosters for next season."
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