SANZAR look set to release the 2013 Super Rugby fixture list with Australian teams starting a week earlier than New Zealand and South African teams in order to accomodate the British and Irish Lions tour.
The British and Irish Lions will play nine matches between June the 5th and July the 6th next year and it appears that the only workable solution to fitting the Tests in is to stagger the start of the season with the Australian teams starting first.
Starting a week earlier than their opponents will allow the Australians to break a week ahead of the Test window which will give them an extra week preparation for their three-test series.
If the Australian Super Rugby teams start a wekk earlier it should mean that the disruption for the 10 New Zealand and South African teams should be minimal.
"We are looking to start that Australian conference a week earlier which, in actual fact, means two games between their sides," Sanzar boss Greg Peters told Fairfax.
"It's not an ideal situation but it's a compromise that all three Sanzar countries and Sanzar have come to because it's such an important tour."
A preliminary fixture list has been given to the Super Rugby franchises and broadcasters but it has yet to be officially confirmed.
The British and Irish Lions have three Tests against the Wallabies lined up as well as matches against all five Australian Super Rugby franchises.
The move to start Australian teams a week earlier comes after Wallabies coach Robbie Deans called for Australia to have a five week Test window in June and July.
Deans made the call after Australia had only a few days preparation for their match against Scotland and lost. Deans said that anything less than a five week window would be a "recipe for disaster".
"He's (Deans) going to get a window - bearing in mind the Australian franchise teams are also playing the Lions, so it is a complex draw compared to a normal year," Peters said.
The Wallabies first Test match against the British and Irish Lions next year is on June the 22nd while New Zealand and South Africa will play Tests over a "similar" June break.
The All Blacks and Springboks have yet to confirm who will be touring although it is believed that France will play three test matches against New Zealand and South Africa could play Tests against Scotland.
Peters said that even though there was a call for a change to the Super Rugby format and the finals qualification process the tournament's structure would not be amended for next season.
There has also been a call for the conference system to changed so that all teams will play each other but Peters said the season would not be stretched to accomodate this.
"The issue is there are simply not enough weeks in the year with the conference structure and the desire to start the competition earlier is certainly not strong in any territory, especially not in New Zealand," Peters said.