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SA Rugby announces new seven-team 'Super Rugby Unlocked' competition

The Cheetahs, Pumas, and Griquas have joined the four existing Super Rugby sides.

SA RUGBY HAS announced details of a new seven-team, seven-week ‘Super Rugby Unlocked’ domestic competition to get underway on 9 October.

While some nations have been back playing for several months now, South African rugby only made its return to action last weekend with two friendly games between the Bulls and Sharks and the Lions and Stormers.

With a Springboks trial match to follow this weekend, rugby fans in South Africa can now also look forward to the start of Super Rugby Unlocked after SA Rugby.

The Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, and Lions will be joined by the Cheetahs, Pumas, and Griquas in the new tournament.

super-rugby-reds-bulls Rosko Speckman and Warrick Gelant of the Bulls. Source: AAP/PA Images

The Pumas and Griquas usually play in South African’s Currie Cup, while the Cheetahs have been playing in the Guinness Pro14 in recent years but travel restrictions mean they will not be involved as the 2020/21 campaign kicks off in Ireland, Italy, Wales, and Scotland this weekend.

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Indeed, the Cheetahs may not return to the Pro14 at all with SA Rugby due to meet this week to vote on whether their four Super Rugby franchises – the Bulls, Stormers, Lions, and Sharks – should instead move to join an expanded Pro16 next year.

That prospect looks increasingly likely but first, those four sides will compete in the new domestic Super Rugby Unlocked campaign, which runs from 9 October through to 21 November.

The opening weekend sees the Sharks host the Lions, with the Cheetahs at home against the Pumas, and the Bulls taking on the Griquas.

The new competition will be a straight league format, with the team on top of the standings on 21 November being crowned Super Rugby Unlocked champions.

SA Rugby says that “all log points will then be transferred to the Currie Cup,” for which fixtures will be announced soon.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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