Qualifiers: Who, what, when, where
Qualifiers: Who, what, when, whereSHARE
The Super Rugby play-offs will get underway with what promises to be a pulsating and hard-fought re-match of last year's season-decider between the Brumbies and the dual defending champion Chiefs.
Victory in the final round against the Western Force and Blues respectively has put the two familiar combatants on a post-season collision course in Canberra.
Although comprehensively winning the South African Conference, the Sharks finished as the third-ranked conference winner and are subsequently thrust into a home qualifier against the sixth-ranked Highlanders, who go into the play-offs on the back of successive defeats to the Waratahs and Crusaders – Super Rugby's two automatic semifinalists.
Interestingly, these match-ups also occurred on the same day of the 2014 regular season with Brumbies defeating the Chiefs 41-23 and the Highlanders upsetting the Sharks 34-18 on the road in Round 11.
By finishing the season as the competition's two highest-ranked conference winners, the Waratahs (58 points, 12 wins) and the Crusaders (51 points, 11 wins) have earned the week off and progress straight to the Super Rugby semifinals – where they await the winners of next week's preliminary qualifiers.
Super Rugby qualifiers
Saturday, July 19
Brumbies v Chiefs
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.40 (21.40 NZST, 11.40 SAST, 09.40 GMT)
Sharks v Highlanders
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.05 (03.05, Sunday, July 20 NZT; 01.05, Sunday, July 20 AEST, 15.05 GMT)
* Should any Super Rugby play-off match end with the scores level, the following will apply until a winner is determined:
a) Extra time played in two periods of 10 minutes
b) Sudden death extra time in a period of up to 10 minutes
c) A kicking competition featuring five players from each team