15 Feb 2014

No free points for not playing

7:27 am on 15 February 2014

SANZAR have announced that Super Rugby sides won't automatically earn four points when they have a bye this season.

The rule was introduced to the southern hemisphere inter-provincial rugby union championship several seasons ago, guaranteeing teams eight points each year from two byes.

Now the organisers SANZAR say the bye points have been scrapped with fans in mind, to make it easier to follow competition progress - particularly in the latter stages of the season.

Teams earn four points for a win, two for a draw, and one for losing by seven or fewer points or scoring at least four tries in a game.

The annual competition starts overnight with two South African derbies, between the Cheetahs and Lions in Bloemfontein and the Sharks and Bulls in Durban.

Australian and New Zealand teams debut next weekend, with games continuing until mid-July followed by a three-week knockout phase.