Subscribe

Super Rugby 2018 Explained

2017 Champions: The Crusaders nearly went undefeated last season, but the tournament looks very different a year on (Getty Images) Rugby World

There are team changes, rule changes and a new play-off format in Super Rugby for 2018. Read about them all here


Super Rugby 2018 Explained

The Six Nations may be in full swing, but the southern hemisphere is about to begin its flagship domestic competition, Super Rugby.

It will look very different in 2018 to last year, so Rugby World has put together a list of some of the biggest changes so you can remain clued up.

Read more!

Team Changes

Super Rugby has gone from an 18-team competition, down to 15, with the loss of South African sides Southern Kings and Free State Cheetahs, who have moved into the northern hemisphere competition, the Guinness Pro14.

Additionally, Western Force, based in Perth, Australia, have been disbanded altogether after poor on-field performances and financial issues.

Relocated: Free State Cheetahs are now part of the Pro14 competition, along with Southern Kings (Getty Images) Rugby World

Conference Changes

As a result of the losses of these teams, there have been significant changes to the conferences. In Super Rugby 2018 there will be three conferences, each with five teams. The two main changes involve the Sunwolves and the Jaguares, with one moving to the Australian conference and the other moving into the South African conference respectively.

Australian Conference – Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels, Reds, Sunwolves, Waratahs

New Zealand Conference – Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes

South African Conference – Bulls, Jaguares, Lions, Sharks, Stormers

Changes: The Jaguares and Sunwolves have been part of the tournament changes, both moving into different conferences (Getty images) Rugby World

Law Changes

The administrators of the competition, SANZAAR, have announced Super Rugby will follow the World Rugby Law Amendments for the 2018 season.

These changes, which will affect the scrum, tackle area and ruck, are designed to make the game easier to play and referee, and protect the players more.

Scrum

Tackle Area 

The Jackal: Players like David Pocock will have to abide by the new laws around the ruck (Getty Images) Rugby World

Ruck

LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS

Format

Each team will play 16 regular season matches, eight of which will come against the other four teams in their conference by playing home and away. The remaining eight games will be split amongst teams from the other two conferences, with four each.

A win is four points, a draw is two points and a loss is zero points (if the margin of victory is greater than eight points).

Bonus points

You get bonus points for a win if you score three or more tries than the opponent.

You get a losing bonus point if the margin of victory is between one and seven points.

Play-offs

In Super Rugby 2018 the winners of each conference will proceed to the play-offs all securing home games for the quarter-finals. They will be seeded one to three.

The fourth seed will be the team with the highest number of points but not a conference winner, and will qualify to have a home match during the quarter-finals.

Seeds five to eight will be wildcards determined by their final points tally at the end of the season.

Top Seed: The Lions, with a 14-1 record, topped the table last season, and yet lost a home final against the Crusaders (Getty Images) Rugby World

As a result the play-offs will look like this:

Quarter-final One – Number 1 vs Number 8

Quarter-final Two – Number 4 vs Number 5

Quarter-final Three – Number 2 vs Number 7

Quarter-final Four – Number 3 vs Number 6

Semi-final One – Winner QF1 vs Winner QF2

Semi-final Two – Winner QF3 vs Winner QF4

Final – Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2