The 2020 Super Rugby match schedule has been announced by SANZAAR with the tournament set to kick-off with two derbies on Friday, 31st January 2020, when The Blues will host the Chiefs at Eden Park in Auckland while later the same evening the Brumbies will welcome the Reds to GIO Stadium in Canberra.
On Saturday, 1st February 2020, the DHL Stormers will host the Hurricanes in Cape Town, and the Emirates Lions will travel to Buenos Aires for their season-opener, against 2019 runners-up, the Jaguares.
Super Rugby’s continued international footprint will see matches played in six countries across the 18-week regular season, with matches played in Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.
In a major change from previous non-RWC years, the competition will run uninterrupted until the final on Saturday 20 June, as the traditional midyear Test window moves to a later slot from next year. Kick-off times for certain matches in New Zealand and Australia are also in an earlier timeslot than before.
Super Rugby CEO, Andy Marinos said of the competition’s 25th season:
“The schedule has 22 match venues confirmed and it is exciting that Super Rugby will once again venture into several new venues and cities. It has been confirmed that Hanazono Stadium, Osaka and Level Five Stadium, Fukuoka in Japan will host Sunwolves matches, while the Waratahs will play at WIN Stadium, Wollongong in Australia,” added Marinos.
The tournament’s 15-team, three-Conference format remains the same in 2020. Each team will play 16 regular season conference matches that include eight matches within their own Conference (home and away) and four matches against teams from each of the other Conferences (home or away). Each team also has two byes, with a total of 120 matches being played in the regular season.
Australia Conference: Brumbies, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs, Sunwolves [Japan].
New Zealand Conference: Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes.
South African Conference: Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares [Argentina].
The Finals series will again comprise a seven-match, three-week, eight-team finals series. Each of the three Conference winners will host a quarter-final.
The team with the most tournament points that is not a Conference winner, regardless of Conference, will host the fourth quarter-final.
This Wildcard team will be joined in the quarter-finals by the next best four Wildcard teams based on tournament points and regardless of Conference.