Super Rugby playoffs: An idiot's guide

With the Super Rugby round-robin stage nearing an end, all the focus is shifting to the playoff series,...

New Super Rugby logo. Picture: SANZAR

With the Super Rugby round-robin stage nearing an end, all the focus is shifting to the playoff series, but you would be forgiven for not being up to speed with the changes.

Gone are the days when the top four teams on the log play in a semi-final series with the two winners contesting the final.

Six teams now take part in the playoff series, which takes place over two weekends before the finalists are decided.

To put it simply, the top team from each conference will automatically advance to the finals in positions 1, 2 and 3. The order will be determined by their individual competition points.

The other three teams to advance will be those with the highest number of competition points outside of the conference winners. The teams qualifying in 4th, 5th and 6th can therefore come from any conference - they could all even come from one conference.

In week one of the finals the teams qualifying 1st and 2nd will rest. The 3rd placed team, as a conference winner, will host the 6th placed team in a sudden death qualifier.

Similarly, the 4th placed team will host the 5th placed team in another sudden death qualifier.

The two winners will play the top two sides in semi's the following week and those who come out top will meet in the final.