New Competition Format
The Super Rugby competition will not only expand to 15 teams in 2011, it will also undergo a significant format revamp.
A new three-Conference system will be in place where the five teams within each country will make up nationally-based Conferences and play their four “local” rivals on a home and away basis (eight games in total).
They will also play four of the other five teams in each of the other two Conferences on a home or away basis (another eight games).
This leads to an overall program of 16 games per team in the regular season, as opposed to the current 13 – and separate Australian Conference, South African Conference and New Zealand Conference tables will chart the fortunes of teams in each country.
A three-week finals series involving six teams – as opposed to the current two-week playoffs for four teams – will further increase the length of the season.
At the end of the regular season matches, the top team in each Conference will qualify for the finals.
The other three teams to qualify will be the sides with the most number of competition points – regardless in which Conference they are based.
The Conference winners are also ensured of a home finals match. Therefore, at least one finals match will be played in each country each year.