Idiot’s guide to Super Rugby

Sanzar provides answers to the questions you may have about the new tournament structure from 2016.

What are the changes?

  • Super Rugby expands from 15 to 18 teams in 2016
  • Six South African teams will play in the competition
  • SA’s teams will be grouped into two four-team conferences – rather than one five-team log
  • They will be joined by a team from Buenos Aires and another TBC
  • The TBC may come from Asia, Europe or Africa
  • It will be determined on commercial and logistical grounds by a tender process
  • Teams from Asia and the US have expressed an interest

How does it work?

  • All teams to 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 wild-card 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 SA conferences will be negotiated by Saru with Sanzar

What is the impact on the six SA 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 or the TBC venue
  • There will be fewer derbies – seven (as opposed to 10 if we played each other home and away)
  • SA teams will play either the Australian or New Zealand conference on a rotational basis
  • There will be one fewer regular season match overall than now (15)
  • SA will potentially host two quarter-finals (unless BA or TBC finish top of a conference)
  • Every team has two byes

Could the TBC team come South Africa?

  • Yes. Although it would need to be a compelling case.
  • It’s an open process that starts with an expression of interest document that will be circulated to relevant parties
  • This document identifies the criteria we will assess any formal proposals against
  • We will develop a shortlist of parties that will receive a full request for proposal, which will take some months to be completed
  • We hope to have the process nearing completion towards the end of 2014 as we need to give any new team certainty around its inclusion so it can plan, contract players and prepare for what is a reasonably short timeframe

How will you determine the make-up of the South African conferences?

  • This is a matter for Saru to determine in consultation with Sanzar
  • There will definitely be three South African teams in each conference, each to be completed by one of the new teams from either Argentina or TBC

Why do the South African conference teams play teams from either the Australia or New Zealand conference – why not a mix of both?

  • Given the uneven number of teams in each Australasian conference (five), it’s not possible to play an even number of teams from each conference
  • As such, South African conference teams will play each Australasian conference in its entirety, alternating with each season, meaning they will play the entire Australasian group over the course of two seasons

Why don’t the Australian and New Zealand teams play each other home and away?

  • By the time you take design criteria and constraints into considerations (including a maximum of 21 weeks within which to play the competition), it’s simply not possible to orchestrate a draw that sees the Australasian teams play each other both home and away

How will it be determined which teams the Australian and New Zealand teams play twice within their own conference?

  • This facet is still to be determined and will be a part of the draw formulation to be announced at a later date

Post by

Simon Borchardt