The Brumbies' arduous three-match trip to New Zealand will be followed by several more ventures across the ditch for Australian teams in 2022 as plans to amalgamate the two countries' Super Rugby competitions come closer to fruition.
In the wake of a travel bubble opening up between Australian and New Zealand, rugby officials from both countries have held well-advanced discussions around forming a 10- or 12-team league next year.
Conditional licences have been granted to the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika, both of which are angling to join a revamped trans-Tasman competition in 2022.
Australian and New Zealand club sides will square off for the first time in more than a year this weekend, with the Brumbies to take on the champion Crusaders in their first fixture of the five-round Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition.
Away games against the Chiefs and Blues follow before the Brumbies return home to host the Hurricanes and Highlanders.
"You look at our month you have the Reds, Crusaders, Chiefs, Blues, it's a pretty heavy month of football," Brumbies chief Phil Thomson said.
"No one's doing us any favours on that front so we've just got to accept the challenge and off we go.
"It's really important that all the Australian sides put good performances in the Trans-Tasman. The Kiwis set the benchmark in rugby standards so we really need to be on our game in the next five to six weeks in that competition.
"We have to get over the extreme disappointment from losing on the weekend and you couldn't have a bigger challenge to start with than the starting off with the New Zealand champions, the Crusaders, first round. So we have to get back on the horse pretty quickly.
"We're pushing ahead with planning for a full-blown Trans-Tasman competition next year. If things keep progressing on the travel front with this travel bubble, vaccinations in both countries all that stuff, that'll be the way it goes.
"If it goes the wrong direction it'll certainly revert back to our domestic competitions."
MORE BRUMBIES NEWS
Dan McKellar's Brumbies fly to New Zealand on Thursday just days after their controversial defeat in Brisbane.
Reds star James O'Connor scored the match-winning try in the 85th minute, although replays suggested Taniela Tupou lost control of the football when tackled just short of the line seconds earlier.
The free-to-air television audience peaked at 464,000 during the match while 41,637 cheered on from the Suncorp Stadium stands - a 17-year record for an Australian rugby derby, leading Thomson to describe the match as a "shot in the arm" for the sport.
"Off the back of the new broadcast deal this year with Nine and Stan, the free-to-air component was fantastic for the viewership and accessibility for people," he said.
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