I have posted these in the comment section but feel it warrants a dedicated thread for future reference until we get the hang of the S15.
Stay with me here, it may get a little hairy.
Contrary to what we expected, the new Superrugby format will not be played in a domestic conference followed by cross-conference format. The domestic conference and cross-conference formats have been mixed into one extended conference. Each domestic team will still play their counterparts in a home and away format. Mixed in amongst those games will be 8 matches played against 4 teams from each of the other nations.
Due to the extended format each team will now have two bye weekends, as opposed to the previous one weekend, over the 18 week conference stage .
Another major change is the introduction of THREE SEPERATE LOGS. One for each domestic conference. The winner of each domestic conference will automatically qualify for the play-offs. With the other three teams (giving you a total of 6 teams) being determined by the log points of the remaining teams. The remaining qualifiers could come from one single conference or could come from 3 seperate conferences.
In the example below, the 1st placed team in each domestic conference automatically qualifies for the play-off stage and will be ranked on their individual conference points.
The remaining three teams with the highest log points are then ranked in order and allocated 4th, 5th & 6th positions. It does not matter that they may have scored more points than a team who went through based on winning their conference.
The play-offs are then played as scheduled below.
1) Bulls 63
2) Stormers 51
3) Sharks 39
4) Cheetahs 30
5) Lions 11
1) Hurricanes 54
2) Crusaders 49
3) Blues 48
4) Chiefs 36
5) Highlanders 27
1) Brumbies 50
2) Waratahs 47
3) Reds 37
4) Force 37
5) Rebels 20
Wk 1 – Game A – Rank 4 (home) v Rank 5 (away)
Wk 1 – Game B – Rank 3 (home) v Rank 6 (away)
Wk 1 – Rank 1 and Rank 2 have byes.
Wk 2 – Game C – Rank 2 (home) v Winner of match A or B with highest playoff ranking
Wk 2 – Game D – Rank 1 (home) v Winner of match A or B with lower playoff ranking
Wk 3 – FINAL – Higher ranked finalist (home) v Lower ranked finalist