Super Rugby
Trans-Tasman battles headline ANZAC overhaul
ESPN Staff
April 1, 2015
The Waratahs host the Rebels at ANZ Stadium on ANZAC Day © Getty Images

The Australian Rugby Union has combined with New Zealand Rugby and SANZAR to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on ANZAC Day in round 11 of Super Rugby.

The Australian and New Zealand national anthems, The Ode, Last Post, The Silence and The Reveille will all be played in the round's trans-Tasman and local derbies in a major overhaul of the code's commemoration of ANZAC Day.

Super Rugby came in for heavy criticism 12 months ago after SANZAR wouldn't permit the national anthem of either nation being played before kick-off in the Brumbies-Chiefs clash in Canberra. The governing alliance ruled that national anthems were only to be played ahead of Test matches.

But that won't be the case this year with ARU chief Bill Pulver saying the three governing bodies had been working hard to ensure rugby played its part in the ANZAC Day commemorations.

"ARU and NZR, along with SANZAR have worked closely to ensure that we're united in recognising ANZAC Day and we encourage fans to turn out with their poppies in great numbers for what will be a very special weekend of Super Rugby," Pulver said in an ARU media release.

"We are fierce foes on the rugby field when our national or Super Rugby clubs face each other, but we have a strong history of supporting each other in service and on the battle field, and together we will celebrate that bond on the ANZAC weekend."

The round features three trans-Tasman contests with the Chiefs hosting the Force, and the Brumbies taking on the Highlanders on Friday; the Reds then welcome the Hurricanes to Brisbane on Sunday. The two matches on Saturday on ANZAC Day itself pits the Crusaders against the Blues in a New Zealand local derby before the Waratahs and Rebels do battle in Sydney in an all-Aussie showdown.

SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters said ANZAC Day held special significance on both sides of the Tasman.

"We're pleased we've been able to match the significance of the weekend in Australia and New Zealand with a full round of trans-Tasman or local derbies which will serve as a tremendous occasion for fans to gather and celebrate the significance of the weekend both on and beyond the rugby field."

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