SANZAAR has announced that following a substantial review of Super Rugby over the last 18 months via a strategic planning process the immediate future of Super Rugby rests with a 14-team, round robin, competition format.
The 14-team round robin format will see the removal of the current three conference system and will see each team play every other team home or away each season. This means 13 matches for each team, with two byes, in the regular season with the number of home and away matches varying from six to seven based on a two-year alternate match schedule.
This will then lead into a new three-week, best versus best, super-charged, top six finals series. The top two ranked teams on the competition ladder will receive a bye in week one before hosting semi-final matches against the winners from a knockout round between teams ranked three to six.
The future format and structure of The Rugby Championship will be announced at a later date.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos stated, “The decision to further consolidate the competition format to a 14-team round robin was not taken lightly. It has involved some detailed analysis and a thorough review of the current and future rugby landscape, tournament costs, commercial and broadcast considerations and player welfare in line with our Strategic Plan.”
“Competition integrity, affordability and a competitive playing environment were further key drivers to ensure that an optimal player development pathway remains in place to feed into international rugby.”
“Factoring in the above analysis and review a 14 or 15-team round robin format were considered, as these models delivered best against the criteria we were seeking, including a format that would see each team playing every other team leading into a finals series, added Marinos.”