Jan 29 (Reuters) - Factbox on the 2020 Super Rugby competition, which starts on Friday:
* The 25th season of Super Rugby features teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.
* Season will run straight through from Jan. 31 to June 20 with no break as the test window has been moved back to July.
* Remains a 15-team competition with the same conference structure for the third year in a row after the unsuccessful experiment with 18 teams.
* The Japan-based Sunwolves will depart at the end of their fifth season for financial reasons, leaving the competition to revert to 14 teams in a new format for 2021.
* New Zealand Conference: Otago Highlanders, Wellington Hurricanes, Canterbury Crusaders, Waikato Chiefs, Auckland Blues.
* Australia Conference: New South Wales Waratahs, ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds, Sunwolves (Japan)
* South African Conference: Bulls, Stormers, Lions, Sharks, Jaguares (Argentina)
* Each team plays 16 matches. They face their conference rivals home and away and will take on four of the five teams in the other two regional pools.
* Each team has two bye weeks.
* Teams earn four points for a win and two for a draw. Bonus points are awarded for finishing three or more tries ahead of their opponents, or for losing by fewer than seven points.
* The three conference winners automatically qualify for the playoffs along with the next five highest-ranked teams on an overall table.
* The highest-ranked winners of the quarter-finals host the semi-finals.
* The competition started as the Super 12 in 1996, a year after rugby union became professional, and was expanded to 14 teams from 2006 and 15 in 2011 after the Melbourne Rebels were added.
* Expanded in 2016 to include a sixth South African side and teams from Argentina and Japan but reduced to 15 again for last season after crowds and television audiences dwindled.
* New Zealand teams have dominated the competition, winning 17 of the 24 titles. The Canterbury Crusaders are the most successful with 10 titles, including the last three. All five New Zealand sides have lifted the Super Rugby trophy.
* South Africa’s Bulls are the only South African champions, having won the title in 2007, 2009, 2010.
* Australia’s ACT Brumbies have won the title twice (2001, 2004) while the Queensland Reds (2011) and New South Wales Waratahs (2014) have both won it once each. (Compiled by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)