The format for the Super15 Rugby is different from the Super 14 Rugby format as there are more local derbies and an extended finals series. Watch the video below for an explanation on how the new format will work.
SuperRugby (The Super15) will run until July in a world cup year and until August in non-World Cup years. Super Rugby fans will see 125 matches instead of 94, with at least 40 matches played in each of the SANZAR countries.
There will be three pools or geographic conferences each containing five teams - see table on the right.
Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will each host one pool and the new 15th team will participate in the Australian pool.
The new team is from Melbourne and they are the Melbourne Rebels.
The tournament will start in late February each year with a couple of exceptions.
In 2011 and other world cup years the tournament will start earlier to make space for the world cup.
British and Irish Lions tour years (ie. 2013) could also see the tournament being forced to start two to three weeks earlier.
The tournament will start with a series of teams playing the other teams in their own conference. From the second round teams will start to move through the rest of the teams in their conference and in the other conferences.
Teams will play each team in their own conference twice - home and away but in the other conferences they will only play four of the five teams in both of the other conferences. Therefore, the Bulls for example could miss playing the Crusaders miss out on playing the Melbourne Rebels but the Crusaders play the Blues and the other New Zealand teams twice in the regular season.
Teams will play eight domestic matches and eight away matches for a total of 16 round-robin games. When a team has no match that weekend they will be given four points for the bye.
A winner from each conference will be determined from the results. Each conference will have one winner and therefore Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will each be gauranteed to have one team participating in the finals. Where these teams finish will determine home advantage for the play offs.
In week 1 of the finals the two conference winners with the highest points will be rewarded with a week off. The conference winner with the lowest points or the third placed team will enter a sudden death play off with the sixth placed team.
Also in week 1 the team placed fourth at the end of the regular season will play the fifth placed team. The winners of the first week of play offs then go through to face the first and second placed team who had just had the week off in the semi-finals.
QF1.) Team 3 vs Team 6
QF2.) Team 4 vs Team 5
The first placed team from the regular season will play the lowest ranked qualifier in week 1 of the play offs.
The second placed team from the regular season plays the team highest ranked qualifier in week 1 of the play offs.
SF1.) Team 1 vs lowest ranked qualifier.
SF2.) Team 2 v highest ranked qualifier.
The final will be made up by the teams who won the semi-finals.
Final Winner SF1 v SF2
Home advantage will be given to the team that finished highest on the overall table in the regular season. Read more about this HERE.
In an ordinary year (not a world cup year) the tournament will take a break in June (not in 2011) when the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies will host tours from international teams - historically from the Northern Hemisphere - these are usually known as the June tours. Once the June tours are complete, the Super 15 resumes and the finals start.
NOTE: Due to 2011 being a Rugby World Cup year the June Internationals have been suspended across the board. From 2012 the June internationals as we now know them will become the June tours. In 2012, England will tour South Africa in 2012, Ireland will tour New Zealand and Wales will tour Australia.
The new format for the Super Rugby finals is an expanded format and will feature six teams rather than the Super14's four team format. The six teams will be made up of the conference winners and the three next best teams with the highest total number of points. The top two ranked conference winners get a first round bye in the playoffs.
Using the example below this is how the finalists would be decided.
|South African Super 15 Conference|
|Australian Super 15 Conference|
|New Zealand Super 15 Conference|
The Bulls would have finished in first place earning them first place in their conference and with the most points they would also be the first placed team for the finals. The Hurricanes would have finished in first place in the New Zealand conference and finished second overall. The Brumbies would have finished in first place in the Australian conference and third overall.
On 50 points the Stormers would be in second place in their conference and they would also be fourth overall. On 48 points the Waratahs would be in fifth place and the Crusaders on 47 points would be the sixth placed team.
|Super 15 final standings|
The expanded finals starts at the end of June and the final is in July.