Sanzaar has released the schedule for the 2018 Super Rugby tournament which has been reduced to 15 teams.
The season makes a snoozy debut with the Stormers firing the first shots against the Jaguares and the Australian and New Zealand teams on a bye.
In the new format, made up of three, five-team conferences, each team will play 16 regular season matches, comprising eight within their own conference (on a home and away basis), and eight matches against cross-conference opponents, which means teams will only face 12 of 14 rivals every season.
The playoffs will comprise eight teams, facing off in seven matches from July 20 until the Final on August 4.
Because the South African Conference kicks off a week earlier than in Australia and New Zealand, all four local teams will have a bye between the final pool match before the June Test break, and the Springboks’ opening Test against England.
This will be the last time that Super Rugby will break for the June Tests, as 2019 is a Rugby World Cup year and in 2020, the midyear Tests will move to July.
New Zealand Conference
Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes
Brumbies, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs, Sunwolves
South African Conference
Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares.
The 2018 schedule for each of the four South African teams: