SANZAAR has confirmed the fixture list for the 2017 Super Rugby season, which includes a change to the qualification process for the finals.
This season begins on Thursday, February 23 when the Rebels host the Blues and it has also been confirmed that two matches will be played in the Pacific Islands. They are: Chiefs vs Crusaders in Suva, Fiji on Friday, May 19; and Blues vs Reds in Apia, Samoa on Friday, June 2.
Regarding the qualification process for the finals, as in 2016 the teams winning places in the quarter-finals will be: the four Conference winners – who will host quarter-final matches; and four wildcard teams – determined by the tournament rules and final conference positions.
The teams will be ranked 1-8 based on the final number of competition points attained and the following order.
Rank 1-4: Conference winners determined by final number competition points
Rank 5-8: Wildcards determined by final number competition points
The quarter-final draw will be:
Quarter-final 1: 1 v 8
Quarter-final 2: 2 v 7
Quarter-final 3: 3 v 6
Quarter-final 4: 4 v 5
However, in a change from 2016 the semi-final draw will be pre-determined as shown below. The semi-final host teams will be the highest ranked winners from the respective quarter-finals.
Semi-final 1: Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 4
Semi-final 2: Winner QF 2 v Winner QF 3