DURBAN – Super Rugby Unlocked, the competition that re-launches the South African domestic season, kicks off on October 9 with the Sharks entertaining the Lions in a Friday night game in Durban and the following day, the Cheetahs and Bulls will host the Pumas and Griquas respectively.
The Stormers have a bye in round one, but they will host the Lions the following week at Newlands on October 17. Also that day, the Pumas visit Griquas, and the Friday night game of that weekend is the Cheetahs vs the Bulls in Bloemfontein.
Super Rugby went into lockdown in March but this South African version returns with three added teams and a chase to a unique finale in November.
The four existing Super Rugby teams – Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – have been joined by the Cheetahs, Pumas and Griquas, with 21 matches to be played over seven weeks.
“We have had to make some major format changes and look at creative ways to look after everyone’s needs but we think between now and the end of the season – which will only be in January next year – we will provide rugby and entertainment to excite the fans once more,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
Super Rugby Unlocked concludes on the weekend of 20/21 November, with matches in Pretoria (Bulls vs Pumas), Bloemfontein (Cheetahs vs Griquas) and Durban (Sharks vs Stormers).
The team at the top of the standings at that stage of the season will be crowned Super Rugby Unlocked champions, after which all log points will be transferred to the Currie Cup (fixtures to be announced).