Cape Town - New Sharks captain Pat Lambie has labelled the revised Super Rugby format for 2016 "interesting."
This year's tournament has been expanded from 15 teams to 18, and the new format has seen the sides split into two 'groups' and four 'conferences'.
There has been some concern from a South African perspective with the Sharks, Lions and Kings all set to play against the New Zealand franchises while the Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs will not play any matches against New Zealand teams.
Lambie, gearing up for his first season as Sharks captain, acknowledges that there is a lot to get used to.
"It’s an interesting one… I think this year everyone might be trying to find their feet a little bit with how travel arrangements and things have changed," the 50-Test Springbok said.
"We don’t play any Australian sides and some might say that’s a tougher part of the draw, but we’ll take it game for game.
"We’re in New Zealand for three weeks, come back to South Africa for a week and then we’re off to Argentina … so that might be our toughest stretch of upper Rugby this year."
The Sharks take on the Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs away from home between April 15 and April 29, and while Lambie does acknowledge that the shorter trip away from home is a positive he adds that the majority of players would prefer a return to the old Super 14 format.
"I think if you ask a lot of players that have had a few Super Rugby seasons under their belt, if they could have it their way they would want to play every team once," said Lambie.
"It doesn’t really matter if we’d have to tour for a week or two extra … that being said it is an advantage that we’re only away for three weeks in one country. It is less bouncing around."
The Sharks start their season by hosting the Kings on February 27.