Midtournament break in Super Rugby cut
Event will maintain its momentum due to a change in the global Test calendar in which the June Tests in the southern hemisphere were moved to July
The awkward June break in the middle of Super Rugby that featured for several years will be abolished in 2020 as the tournament runs unbroken from January to July.
Due to a change in the global Test calendar‚ which moved the June incoming Tests in the southern hemisphere to July‚ Super Rugby will be able to maintain its momentum from start to finish.
The 21-week tournament starts on January 31 with the Blues against the Chiefs in Auckland and ends with the final on June 20.
The Sharks and the Bulls are the first SA teams in action when they clash on January 31 in Durban.
The Stormers open their account on February 1 at Newlands against the Hurricanes while the Lions are away to the 2019 finalists the Jaguares in the first round.
The conference system and the eight-team play-offs remains in place before the tournament scales down to 14 teams in 2021.
The Sunwolves will endure their final Super Rugby campaign in 2020.
“Super Rugby remains one of rugby’s premier tournaments and features many of the best teams and players in the world‚” SA‚ New Zealand‚ Australia and Argentina (Sanzaar) CEO Andy Marinos said.
“The unique nature of this tournament‚ which covers a geographical spread across Argentina‚ Asia‚ Australia‚ New Zealand and SA‚ not only reinforces its global reach but the fact that it remains the toughest tournament in the world.
The 2020 season will feature “uninterrupted action due to the shift of the inbound international rugby window from June to July. An earlier than usual start has been required to get through the 21-week tournament and provide the Sanzaar national teams with a clear week leading into the July Test series.
“The complexity of the draw and managing logistics and scheduling that delivers a draw that is fair and equitable has been our priority. This has been achieved with a consultative and collaborative approach with the national unions‚ Super Rugby teams and broadcasters.
“With the majority of our players benefiting from a longer than usual off-season due to RWC 2019‚ we expect the teams to deliver another compelling tournament across its 120 matches, one that produces a competitive race for the finals similar to that which we saw this year when 11 teams were still in the hunt for a finals berth on the last weekend.
“The schedule has 22 match venues confirmed and it is exciting that Super Rugby will once again venture into several new venues and cities,” Marinos said.
The Japan stadiums Hanazono Stadium in Osaka and Level Five Stadium in Fukuoka will host Sunwolves matches‚ while the Waratahs will play at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Australia
The conferences are as follows:
- Australia: Brumbies‚ Rebels‚ Reds‚ Waratahs‚ Sunwolves (Japan)
- New Zealand: Blues‚ Chiefs‚ Crusaders‚ Highlanders‚ Hurricanes
- SA: Bulls‚ Lions‚ Sharks‚ Stormers‚ Jaguares (Argentina)