Sharks get far friendlier Super Rugby draw

    2016-09-20 13:52

    Cape Town - The Sharks will start the 2017 Super Rugby competition on tour next year as they travel to Australia for the opening two rounds of the second edition of the 18-team tournament.

    Click here to download the full Sharks 2017 Super Rugby schedule

    This year, they played only New Zealand and South African teams along with the Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan, and although they will play the latter two again, next year sees them switching to Australian opposition given the format of the tournament to change things post 2015 when three more teams were added to the 15 at the time.

    Although they won’t be hosting opposition teams in February when the heat and humidity saps energy and plays havoc with ball handling, they will be presented with similar conditions in Brisbane when they play the Reds in their opening game of the season.

    The following week they are in the nation’s capital of Canberra taking on the Brumbies to conclude a short tour that at one stage of the competition was as long as five weeks, but will be a less arduous fortnight in 2017.

    Indeed, on their 2016 tour they were away for three weeks, playing the Blues, Chiefs and Highlanders.

    On their return from Australia, they will host the Waratahs and Kings on successive weekends at Kings Park before facing the Cheetahs and Lions in consecutive away games. They then welcome the Jaguares to Durban before their Easter weekend bye.

    Six matches follow before their second bye, welcoming the Rebels before flying to Argentina for the away leg clash against the Jaguares and then back home to take on the Force. Two away games follow - against the Kings and the Sunwolves in Singapore - before they play three local derbies.

    This last trio of clashes are all at home, against the Stormers before the June break for the mid-year Test matches, then the Bulls, with a bye before the final week of the pool stages where they entertain this year’s losing finalists, the Lions.

    In total, the Sharks will play eight of their 15 pool match games at home and seven away (four of these overseas) with byes in week 8 and week 16 of the competition.

    The qualifiers will take place the following week, with the semi-finals played a week later and the final scheduled for Saturday, August 5.

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