Super Eights - Rugby League

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How will the Super 8s work?

Clubs will each play seven fixtures on a league basis.

Clubs which have performed strongest in their respective competitions in the regular season will be rewarded with four fixtures as follows: the top four Super League clubs will play four home matches; in the Qualifiers, the team finishing ninth and 10th in Super League and the top two teams from the Championship will have four home matches; and in the Championship Shield, clubs finishing the regular Championship season in 5th to 8th place will have four home fixtures.

In Super League and Championship Shield, the competing clubs will carry over the points and scoring records from the regular season into the Super 8s. The Qualifiers will start with zero points because the eight clubs are drawn from two different competitions.

How is the fixture schedule for the Super 8s determined?

The Super 8s fixtures are produced using a merit formula which rewards teams for the consistency and excellence of their results in the regular season. The higher a team finishes after 23 rounds, the more favourable their fixtures in the Super 8s are. For example, the team that finishes 1st will have home games against the teams finishing second and third, and be away to the teams that finished in 7th and 8th.

As with the regular season, the scheduling of fixtures will be determined by a range of factors, including the fairest balance of alternate home and away games for all clubs, stadium availability and broadcast preferences.

How are teams ranked on the grid?

In Super League, teams are ranked 1 to 8 based on finishing positions after 23 rounds.

In The Qualifiers, teams finishing 9th and 10th in the regular Super season are ranked 1 and 2, and teams finishing the regular Championship season 1st and 2nd are ranked 3 and 4. Super League clubs finishing 11th and 12th are ranked 5 and 6, and Championship clubs finishing 3rd and 4th are ranked 7 and 8

In the Championship Shield, teams finishing the regular Championship season in 5th to 12th place are ranked 1 to 8.

Why is the Qualifiers grid different to the Super League and Championship Shield grids?

The grid published last year outlining how the Super 8s work always applied to Super League and the Championship Shield but was only illustrative for the Qualifiers. The Qualifiers grid has to be slightly different because of the way in which the Qualifiers brings together clubs from two different competitions, the First Utility Super League and Kingstone Press Championship. The principle of a merit formula rewarding teams who finish higher in their respective League remains unchanged: the Super League clubs finishing 9th and 10th and the Championship Clubs finishing 1st and 2nd will each have four home games.

When will the Super 8s fixtures be published?

Details of all the Super 8s fixtures will be confirmed on the morning of Wednesday July 29: this will allow all clubs to feed in details of their stadium availability once the regular season has been completed, and give broadcasters the opportunity to select televised fixtures for the early rounds of Super 8s. The Super 8s begin on Thursday August 6.

What happens after clubs have played seven matches in the Super 8s?

The top four clubs in Super League will go into the play-offs: 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd. The winners of those two matches will contest the Super League Grand Final. All eight Super League clubs are guaranteed top flight status for the following season.

In the Qualifiers, the top three clubs at the conclusion of the Super 8s are also guaranteed Super League status the following season. The 12th place in Super League for the following season will be determined by the Million Pound Game, a play-off between the 4th and 5th placed clubs played at the home of the 4th placed club.

In the Championship Shield, the top four clubs enter a play-off, 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd, with the winners contesting the Championship Shield final.

The bottom two teams (7th and 8th) in the Championship Shield will be relegated to League 1.

How will the new structure work for League 1?

The 14 League 1 clubs will each play 22 games – 11 home and 11 away, playing each other once and nine teams twice with fixtures scheduled on a geographical basis. At the end of the regular season 1st will play 2nd with the winner promoted to the Championship as champions. The loser of that match will join the teams which finished 3rd, 4th and 5th in a play-offs series as follows: loser of the promotion decider v 5th, and 3rd v 4th. The winners of those semi-finals will contest a play-off final to determine the second promotion place.

In addition, a League 1 Cup competition will be reintroduced in 2015 consisting of 16 teams – the 14 League 1 clubs plus the 2014 National Conference League Grand Final winners and the 2014 RFL Conference Challenge Cup winners. The competition will be a straight knockout with the early rounds played at the start of the season. All rounds shall be drawn on an open basis with the first team drawn in each tie at home (up to and including the Semi Finals). The Final will be played at Summer Bash on Saturday May 23rd 2015.