It is part of the strange system that drives the present Super Rugby competition that the Bulls, South Africa’s best team, has the toughest task of the country’s two representatives in the quarter-finals.
The Bulls face the team with the most wins (12) in the competition (one more than Crusaders whose match against the Highlanders was declared a draw following the week of the Mosque attacks). The Hurricanes also have the second most log points.
The Sharks, on the other hand, play the lesser Brumbies, winners of the Australian Conference, in Canberra.
To add a little more insult, the Bulls have to travel to the South Island of New Zealand which adds on a few more hours in the air and two more time zones than the Durbanites.
It will be tough on the Pretoria players who only returned from New Zealand the past week after their four matches in Australasia.
♦ Sanzaar issued a media statement (see below) that sets out the determining of the play-offs to come.
The four quarter-final hosts:
The three Conference Winners – ranked 1 to 3 based on total tournament points; and the best wildcard team (based on total tournament points and regardless of Conference) ranked 4.
The Crusaders finished the regular season as New Zealand Conference winners for the third year in a row, and the highest ranked team in the tournament, finishing on 58 points after 11 wins.
The Jaguares won the South African Conference for the first time finishing with 11 wins and 51 points.
In the Australian Conference the Brumbies finished top with 10 wins and 48 points. The last quarter-final host spot is taken by the Hurricanes who finished second in New Zealand Conference with 53 points – the most by a non-Conference Winner.
The four away quarter-finalists: The four next best wildcard teams (based on total tournament points and regardless of Conference) ranked 5 to 8.
Therefore the four teams earning quarter-final places and ranking places 5 to 8 are:
Bulls 41 points (South African Conference); Sharks 37 points (South African Conference); Chiefs 36 points (New Zealand Conference); and Highlanders 36 points (New Zealand Conference).
The Quarter-Finalists and rankings –
1. Crusaders - New Zealand Conference Winners
2. Jaguares - South African Conference Winners
3. Brumbies - Australian Conference Winners
2019 Super Rugby Quarter-final Draw
QF1: Crusaders  versus Highlanders 
QF2: Hurricanes  versus Bulls 
QF3: Jaguares  versus Chiefs 
QF4: Brumbies  versus Sharks 
Quarter-final Match Schedule
Fri June 21: Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch Stadium Christchurch
Sat June 22: Hurricanes v Bulls, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Fri June 21: Jaguares v Chiefs, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires
Sat June 22: Brumbies v Sharks, GIO Stadium, Canberra