The Chiefs are not planning on a return to Fiji for Super Rugby in 2018, with their marquee home matchup against the Crusaders likely to come back to Hamilton.
For the past two years the franchise has taken their big game, against what have become their fiercest rivals, to Suva, in a deal which reaped financial benefit, but left local fans missing out on attending the key derby.
The 2018 draw was announced on Thursday, and while none of the New Zealand sides have confirmed their venues for their eight home fixtures, the Chiefs aren't expecting to play in Fiji for a third successive year.
After the Fijian government invested $2.3 million into a first‑ever Super Rugby fixture in Fiji, the Chiefs beat the Crusaders 23‑13 in 2016 in front of a soldout 20,000 crowd.
The government then agreed to a three‑year arrangement to host a match annually from 2017‑2019, in what they saw as a prime opportunity to showcase the country as a tourism and sporting destination.
While the same two teams duked it out again this year, with the Crusaders winning 31‑24 in front of 17,000, the Chiefs only committed for the 2017 season, so the next two years may well see a change in teams, with perhaps Australian sides featuring, even.
It all depends on who the promoters of the game ‑ Fortress Information Systems ‑ want to approach.
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