Super Rugby Pacific reaches the halfway point of the regular season this weekend and plenty of intrigue remains as to which eight teams will secure the coveted playoff spots at the conclusion of the full 15 rounds.

The Highlanders and Moana Pasifika kick off the action at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night. Although they occupy the bottom of the ladder, a win for either side will catapult them up the table and on the cusp of the top eight.

It’s an equally important clash for the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels later on Friday at HBF Park. The Force are poised in seventh place and a win over the Rebels will push them deep inside the top eight and markedly improve their playoff chances.

It’s a Super Saturday with three pivotal games happening across New Zealand and Australia.

The Hurricanes host the Crusaders at 4.35pm NZT at Sky Stadium in a clash crucial to their playoff chances. The Hurricanes currently sit in eighth place on the ladder with two wins and three losses, and will be desperate for a win over the formidable Crusaders to show that they are a force to be reckoned with in 2022.

It’s then over to the Battle of the Bombay’s when the Chiefs roll out the welcome mat to neighbours the Blues. Both teams have been in imperious form in 2022 and another classic is sure to be played between these two North Island rivals.

Round 8 is capped off with a tantalising clash between the Fijian Drua and Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium.

The Brumbies sit at the top of the log but will be eager to bounce back from their 21-7 loss to the Reds in round seven. The Fijian Drua have looked dangerous in every outing in 2022 and will be desperate to notch up their second competition win and keep their playoff hopes alive. 

Check out our official round eight match programme below to see all the team lists, key stats, players to watch and feature stories – including a revealing interview with Brad Thorn about the upcoming resumption of the Trans-Tasman rivalry in Super Rugby. You can also subscribe to the weekly programme on the official tournament home page - sign up now with your email address.