How the expanded 18-team, four conference tournament will work.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
- Super Rugby expands from 15 to 18 teams.
- Six South African teams will play in the competition.
South Africa’s teams have been grouped into two four-team conferences:
AFRICA 1: Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers, Sunwolves
AFRICA 2: Lions, Sharks, Kings, Jaguars
- They will be joined by teams from Argentina (Jaguars) and Japan (Sunwolves).
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- All teams will play 15 regular season matches (eight home/seven away or seven home/eight away). For a South African team, these 15 will be made up of six matches within their own conference (three home/three away); four matches (two home/two away) against the opposing African conference, and five matches (either two home/three away or three home/two away) against one of the Australasian conferences.
- All four conference winners will automatically host a quarter-final.
- They will be opposed by four wildcard teams who will be the next three highest-placed teams from the Australasian group and the next highest-placed team in the South African group.
- The winners will contest the semi-finals with home advantage going to the highest-placed team on overall standings points.
- The composition of the South African conferences was negotiated by Saru with Sanzar.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN TEAMS?
- They will spend less time away from home. The Australasian tour will rotate between two and three matches.
- There will be one other overseas match in either Buenos Aires, Tokyo or Singapore.
- There will be fewer local derbies – seven (as opposed to 10 if the South African teams played each other home and away).
- The South African teams will play either the Australian or New Zealand conference on a rotational basis.
- There will be one fewer regular season match overall (15).
- South Africa will potentially host two quarter-finals (unless the Jaguars or Sunwolves finish top of a conference).
- Every team has two byes.