TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 15: Players of Sunwolves form a huddle prior to kickoff prior to the Super Rugby match between the Sunwolves and the Blues at Prince Chichibu Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)

The Sunwolves will join the Australian Super Rugby conference in 2018, following the cutting of three franchises.

With the competition reduced from 18 to 15 clubs, the conferences have also reduced from four to three.

The New Zealand conference will feature the Crusaders, the Blues, Chiefs, Highlanders and Hurricanes.

The Australian conference will feature the four remaining local clubs, the Rebels, Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies, as well as the Sunwolves.

Argentina's Jaguares will join the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions in the South African conference.

Each team will play 16 games and have two byes, with the finals to include the top eight teams.

The 2018 season kicks off on February 17, with the first game in Australia on February 23 between the Melbourne Rebels and Queesnland Reds oat AAMI Park.