The format of the tournament last changed in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the competition to be cancelled and cut short. Due to the fact that teams could not travel internationally, New Zealand Rugby, Rugby Australia and South Africa Rugby all created domestic competitions so their teams could continue to compete domestically.
For the 2020 edition of the tournament, New Zealand launched Super Rugby Aotearoa, where the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes competed. In Australia, Super Rugby AU included the country’s four Super Rugby teams (the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies and Rebels) as well as the Western Force, a former Super Rugby side. Both competitions involved a round-robin format where the sides faced each other at home and away, but Super Rugby AU also involved two additional knockout matches.
At the end of 2020, South Africa launched Super Rugby Unlocked. This tournament featured all four of the country’s Super Rugby teams (the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers) plus former franchise the Cheetahs and Currie Cup sides Griquas and Pumas. These seven teams competed in a single round-robin domestic format.
Although it was initially hoped that changes to the tournament would only be temporary, SA Rugby announced the withdrawal of all of their sides from Super Rugby in September 2020. As a result, Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU are set to continue in 2021, while a Trans-Tasman competition will also take place for the first time. This will feature all of the Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby teams.