The schedule for the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season has been confirmed, with the Sharks hosting the Vodacom Bulls in the first South African fixture on 31 January.
Super Rugby’s 15-team, three-conference format will remain the same in 2020. Each team plays 16 regular-season conference matches that include eight matches within their own conference (home and away) and four matches against teams from each of the other conferences (home or away).
The competition will run uninterrupted until the final on 20 June, with the Test window in 2020 taking place in July.
‘2020 will see a season of uninterrupted action from February to July due to the shift of the inbound international rugby window from June to July,’ Super Rugby chief executive Andy Marinos said. ‘An earlier than usual start has been required to get through the 21-week tournament and provide the Sanzaar national teams with a clear week leading into the July Test series.
‘With the majority of our players benefiting from a longer than usual off-season due to RWC 2019, we expect the teams to deliver another compelling tournament across its 120 matches. One that produces a competitive race for the finals similar to that which we saw this year when 11 teams were still in the hunt for a finals berth on the last weekend.’
The playoff structure will also remain the same as in 2019. Each of the three conference winners will host a quarter-final. The team with the most tournament points that is not a conference winner, regardless of conference, will host the fourth quarter-final.
The South African conference will get under way on 31 January with the Sharks hosting the Bulls in Durban on 31 January. The Stormers welcome the Highlanders to Newlands and the Lions travel to Buenos Aires to face last year’s finalists the Jaguares on 1 Februrary.
The Sharks will be the first South African team to tour as they head to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders in round two, before facing the Hurricanes, Rebels and Reds away from home.
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