The heads of all three SANZAR nations have agreed on a radically changed structure for the future of Super Rugby. The NZRU’s Steve Tew, ARU’s Bill Pulver and SARU’s Jurie Roux have all thrown their weight behind a new conference structure, starting in 2016.
The changes will see the competition expand to 18 teams, split into four, rather than three, conferences, that will run in two groups – Australasia and South Africa. There will be five teams in each of the Australasian conferences, and four each in the South African ones.
There will also be an Argentinian team in the competition for the first time ever. A sixth South African franchise, the Southern Kings, and another team – possibly from Japan – will make up the other two additional teams.
Each team will play 15 regular season matches – eight home/seven away or vice versa every second year – and the season will be a week shorter. There will be 135 regular season games plus seven final series matches, compared with the current format of 120 and five.
The Finals Series will feature eight teams – five from the Australasian conferences and three from the South African conferences – to be played in a classic quarters, semis and final format. The four conference winners will progress, as will the next three highest-ranked teams in the Australasian Group, and the next team in the South African group.
What do you make of the new format? Do you think it will improve the Super Rugby season?
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images