If this year’s Super rugby finals were decided using next season’s new competition structure, the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies would all make the grade.
Josh Rakic writes for The Sun-Herald that the 2011 finals set-up will feature six teams from three conferences – Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – with the top side from each guaranteed a position, meaning an Australian team will feature in the finals regardless of their competition points.
Furthermore, as many as three of the Australian teams could potentially qualify for the finals, with the final three ”wild card” finals berths being awarded to the teams with the most competition points.
”When you look at the make-up of the competition next year, it’s not just the conference format with the three national conferences that is exciting – the finals series really is something to cheer about,” ARU boss John O’Neill said.
”Six teams will qualify for the finals, and the top team in each conference will qualify automatically in spots one, two or three, with the final three spots made up of the three teams with the highest number of competition points in any of the three conferences.
”If we had the system this year, then we’d have three teams in the finals right now. So, besides the whole league table, every week you’ll be looking at the Australian conference.”
The finals guarantee is just another bonus for Australian rugby, which will welcome its fifth franchise, the Melbourne Rebels, into the competition next year – meaning all conferences now have five franchises.
All Australian franchises will play eight home games – the Waratahs, for example, hosting every Australian team and two sides from each of the two other conferences.
Seventy-five per cent of matches involving Australian teams will be played in Australia, giving fans more access to their favourite teams.
The Waratahs will travel to New Zealand and Africa just once in 2011, with back-to-back games in each continent.Tweet