• Sanzaar reduces logistical ‘nightmare’

    Sanzaar's change to Super Rugby's semi-final structure has been made for logistical reasons.

    From 2011 to 2016, the top-ranked quarter-final winner hosted the lowest-ranked winner, and the second-highest ranked winner hosted the second-lowest ranked winner.

    This year, though, the winner of 1 vs 8 will play the winner of 4 vs 5, while the winner of 2 vs 7 will face the winner of 3 vs 6 (the higher seed will still host the match).

    'It was agreed it'd be much easier to have a predetermined semi-final draw, just like you do in other tournaments, like the World Cup,' Sanzaar media and communications manager Greg Thomas told stuff.co.nz.

    'The problem we had was in terms of scheduling, transport, getting teams on planes, it was a complete and utter nightmare. If you went down to the last quarter-final you'd have teams still not knowing where they were travelling to, on the Sunday.

    'If teams know where they're going, who they're playing – one, mentally, and secondly, for travel – it helps. The older system got to a point where teams were having to fly to Sydney for a night, stay there and then go to South Africa, it was all pretty messy. But this predetermined system does make it a bit easier.

    'It gives you a bit more certainty, and to be honest, gives us [more too], in terms of operational planning for accommodation and flights. It's still pretty tricky, but it does help us. We can't hold hundreds of seats on airlines, because the airlines get very very anxious about it all, and if we do hold seats and don't use them you have to pay for them. That's another part in all of this.'

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    Simon Borchardt