The domestic rugby season will resume with seven weeks of franchise competition in the form of Super Rugby Unlocked.
Super Rugby went into lockdown with the rest of South Africa at the end of March but returns with three added teams and a chase to a unique finale in November.
Super Rugby Unlocked
The four, existing Super Rugby franchises (Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers) will be joined by the Cheetahs, Pumas and Griquas, with all 21 matches broadcast live on SuperSport.
Super Rugby Unlocked will kick off at 19:00 on Friday 9 October when the Sharks take on the Lions at Kings Park while the following day the Cheetahs will host the Pumas (at 16:30), and the Bulls take on Griquas (19:00).
The Stormers enjoy a bye in the opening round, but will host the Lions the following week, when the men from Johannesburg will face the Capetonians at Newlands on Saturday 17 October at 19h00.
“We’d like to thank all our stakeholders in getting to this point,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
“It has been an extremely trying time but thanks to Vodacom, SuperSport and the seven teams involved we are able to resume rugby with a really exciting series of matches featuring the best players in the country.
“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.”
Super Rugby Unlocked leads into Currie Cup
Super Rugby Unlocked concludes on the weekend of 20/21 November, with matches in Pretoria (Bulls vs Pumas – Friday 20 November at 19:00), Bloemfontein (Cheetahs vs Griquas – Saturday 21 November at 16:30) and Durban (Sharks v Stormers – Saturday 21 November at 19:00).
The team at the top of the standings at this 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 in due course).
9 October 19:00 ROUND 1 Sharks vs Lions at Kings Park, Durban
10 October 16:30 ROUND 1 Cheetahs vs Pumas at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
10 October 19:00 ROUND 1 Bulls vs Griquas at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
16 October 19:00 ROUND 2 Cheetahs vs Bulls at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
17 October 16:30 ROUND 2 Griquas vs Pumas at Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
17 October 19:00 ROUND 2 Stormers vs Lions at Newlands, Cape Town
23 October 19:00 ROUND 3 Pumas vs Stormers at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
24 October 16:30 ROUND 3 Lions vs Cheetahs at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
24 October 19:00 ROUND 3 Bulls vs Sharks at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
30 October 19:00 ROUND 4 Lions vs Griquas at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
31 October 16:30 ROUND 4 Pumas vs Sharks at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
31 October 19:00 ROUND 4 Bulls vs Stormers at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
6 November 19:00 ROUND 5 Sharks vs Cheetahs at Kings Park, Durban
7 November 16:30 ROUND 5 Griquas vs Stormers at Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
7 November 19:00 ROUND 5 Lions vs Bulls at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
13 November 19:00 ROUND 6 Griquas vs Sharks at Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
14 November 16:30 ROUND 6 Lions vs Pumas at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
14 November 19:00 ROUND 6 Stormers vs Cheetahs at Newlands, Cape Town
20 November 19:00 ROUND 7 Bulls vs Pumas at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
21 November 16:30 ROUND 7 Cheetahs vs Griquas at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
21 November 19:00 ROUND 7 Sharks vs Stormers at Kings Park, Durban