How it works
Ok, we’ve all heard the hype, but the reality is that the Vodacom Super
Rugby series starting on February 15 is bigger, tougher and
better than ever before.
While it may take some time to digest the new format, which is
a bit more
complicated than the old shoot-it-out Super 14, the new format offers
everyone (yes, even Australia) and has plenty of twists and turns to
ensure the drama we
all know so well continues longer than 7de Laan.
So read on, get your head around the new format and make sure
you are well-informed for
the action that will hit your screens on SuperSport as from February
1. Teams and conferences.
· The “conference” is a new addition to
Super Rugby, but is basically
an easy way of dividing teams up into their respective countries.
SANZAR consists of South
Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and in the new Super Rugby
competition, each country
- or conference - will have five teams.
· Teams will play in the overall
competition as before, but will also find
themselves in a mini-competition against their own compatriots to
determine each conference's winner.
· Each team will play 16 games through the
season, eight home and eight away.
But in contrast to the Super 14, your team will play the other teams in
(country) on a home and away basis. For instance, the Stormers will
face the Sharks,
Kings, Bulls and Cheetahs home and away through the season.
· Intermingled with this are the
international matches. To keep the
international flavour, each team will play four of the five teams in
conferences. i.e. The Stormers will face four of the five Australian
teams and four of the
five New Zealand teams during the season on a ONE-OFF basis.
· This means each team will play 12 of its
16 regular-season games within its
own country – with only four matches overseas.
· Half of all regular season matches will
be local derbies
· To put it in a nutshell, there are now
logs to watch. Each conference (country) has its own “internal” log
conference winner will be chosen.
· Then there is an overall log, which
encompasses all 15 teams and from which
the other three qualifiers will be chosen.
· Each conference (country) winner will be
guaranteed a playoff spot. However,
if you look at the overall log, the two conference (country) winners
who finish higher,
will claim home semifinal places.
· The lowest ranked of the three conference
winners will face a playoff –
a virtual quarterfinal if you like – at home against a wildcard
While it is technically true that one country – say Australia – can
nightmare season with its teams finishing 11th to 15th and still claim
a playoff spot,
this is unlikely to happen.
· The top two teams then have a bye, while
the third conference winner and three qualifiers battle it out for a
semifinal spot in a virtual quarterfinals.
The three qualifying teams will be the
highest placed teams on the
overall log, irrespective of what countries they come from.
· Thus, using the
example on the left, the Bulls, Hurricanes and Brumbies would win their
· If you compare these three sides’ overall
points you will see the Bulls
and Hurricanes would qualify first and second and therefore have the
right to host home
semifinals in the competition.
· The Brumbies, by virtue of finishing the
lowest of the three conference
winners, would get a home playoff game.
· The other three teams will be decided by
points, irrespective of their
countries, and looking at the example again, this means the Stormers,
Crusaders would qualify fourth, fifth and sixth in the playoff set-up.
· In the playoff round the Brumbies, who
qualified third, would face the sixth
placed qualifier, ie the Crusaders in Canberra. The Stormers would host
the Waratahs in
· We’ve already established the Bulls and
Hurricanes would host home
semifinals in this example.
· But to determine who plays who in the
semifinal is another matter, as the
competition rules state the highest-ranked qualifier would play the
team ranked second.
This means should the Brumbies (3rd) win their playoff game, they would
Hurricanes, with the winner of the other game facing the Bulls.
· However, should the Brumbies lose to the
Crusaders, then the Hurricanes would
face the highest ranked team, ie the winner of the other playoff game.
· The Bulls would automatically face the
lowest ranked qualifier, showing how
important it would be to top the log and the reward that goes with it.
· After all of the above has played itself
out, the final will be at the home
ground of the highest ranked side. Obviously if the team ranked top of
the log qualifies,
they will get a home final.
· But if say the sixth (Crusaders) and
fourth (Stormers) sides qualify for the
final, then it will be at the fourth placed side (Stormers) home
We understand its a mouthful, and lots to comprehend, but
Super Rugby is here to stay.
Feel free to send us questions, either on twitter
or facebook and we will do our best
to clear up any confusion.
Keep those calculators handy and remember to log onto
SuperSport.com, where we will keep you updated with your team’s
progress throughout the tournament.