Two South African and one Australian team will be cut for the 2018 Super Rugby season, the competition's governing body SANZAAR has announced.
The restructuring comes after widespread criticism of the first season of the 18-team format, which was introduced in 2016 after Argentina's Jaguares and the Sunwolves of Japan joined the competition and the Port Elizabeth-based Kings returned.
SANZAAR has left it to the national rugby unions involved to announce the teams to be cut, Australia's Perth-based Western Force and South Africa's Kings and Cheetahs widely considered the most vulnerable franchises.
SANZAAR met in London last month to try to hammer out a solution to the problems of an over-complicated structure and a dilution in the quality of the product.
The 18-team format, introduced in 2016 after Argentina's Jaguares and the Sunwolves of Japan joined the competition and the Kings returned, was widely criticised and there were fears the quality of the product was being diluted.
Under the new structure, the competition will be divided into three conferences; New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
The Japan Sunwolves will join the Australian conference while Argentina's Jaguares will play in the South African conference.
New Zealand's conference will remained unchanged.