Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold has called the new Super Rugby format "absurd" as the Durban side brace themselves for a tough schedule.
Drawn in Africa Two, which is the second South African conference, the format means the Sharks will take on all the New Zealand franchises.
But that results in them not facing any Australian outfits in the conference stage, which has clearly upset the Sharks boss ahead of kick-off.
"The only thing I will say about it is that when you play sports at the highest level, all you really want is a level playing field and this competition does not provide you with that," Gold told Rugby 365 with the new season fast approaching.
"It is a little bit absurd, but in saying that it is what it is and there are some exciting things."
What makes life tougher for the Sharks is their travel schedule which will see them fly to New Zealand before returning home and then making the trip to Argentina.
"I don't think you understand the toll it has on the bodies when you fly east to west, recover from jet lag, play a game and then fly east to west again for another game," Gold added.