THE Australian rugby union's new chief executive Bill Pulver has taken on the head role of the game in an exciting year, with the British and Irish Lions to tour Down Under in 2013.
He knows bumper crowds will flock to that series in its first year on our shores since 2001.
But Pulver knows the performances from the Australian teams in this year's Super Rugby competition is almost as important.
"With the Lions touring our shores this year there is certainly an added element of excitement surrounding Super Rugby in 2013," he said at the southern hemisphere competition's launch in Melbourne yesterday.
"Hopefully this year we will see all five Australian sides step up another gear with one of them bringing the Super Rugby championship trophy back to Australia."
The new Super Rugby Season will kick off tonight at AAMI Park in Melbourne when the Rebels host the Force.
Then on Saturday night, the Queensland Reds will fly to Canberra to the tackle the Brumbies.
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