Super Rugby

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Super Rugby, governed by SANZAAR, is the largest and most competitive rugby union competition in the southern hemisphere with 15 sides, comprised of four teams from Australia, five teams from New Zealand, four teams from South Africa, and one team from each of Japan and Argentina.

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The competition was originally founded in 1996 as Super 12 – an expansion of the South Pacific Championship that began in 1986 – and continued with 12 teams until 2005. In 2006 the competition was expanded and renamed Super 14 with two new franchises, the Western Force (Perth) and Central Cheetahs (Free State and Northern Cape Province), entering the competition following ongoing negotiations in 2005.

In 2009, following prolonged discussion, SANZAR announced its intentions to expand the competition to 15 teams in 2011 with the last franchise to be the Rebels, based in Melbourne. The competition was consequently rebranded Super Rugby.

The 2013 Super Rugby competition was won by the Chiefs, who defeated the Brumbies 27-22 to claim their second consecutive Super Rugby title. From its inception, the competition has been dominated by New Zealand sides – winning a combined 12 from 18 on 16 of 18 finals appearances. From New Zealand, the Crusaders are the competition’s most successful side winning seven titles. The Bulls remain South Africa’s most successful side winning three titles and the Brumbies are Australia’s most successful with two. Only six sides have ever won a Super Rugby championship.

In 2016 the competition was expanded from 15 to 18 teams, welcoming a sixth South African team (the Southern Kings), along with foundation teams from Japan (the Tokyo Sunwolves) and Argentina (the Jaguares). These new teams also brought a change to the Super Rugby conference structure. The previous system of three conferences spread equally into Australia, New Zealand and Africa became two groups: the Australasian Group, comprising of Australia and New Zealand, and the South African Group, comprising of two African conferences along with the Argentinian and Japanese sides.

However, this has been changed again ahead of the 2018 season. With a confusing structure and drop in quality, the competition will again be 15 teams with Australia excluding the Western Force, and South Africa removing the Southern Kings and Cheetahs from the competition.

» View the full 2018 Super Rugby draw

The competition will again have three conferences of five teams each. The Australian conference will feature the New South Wales Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies, along with the Tokyo Sunwolves.

The Jaguares, meanwhile, will be in the South African conference, while the New Zealand teams form their own conference.

The Sunwolves' captain Shota Horie

Crusader and All Black Dan Carter stands as the competition’s highest point scorer (1,533); Doug Howlett the top try scorer (59); Dan Carter has kicked the most conversions (185); and Andrew Mehrtens has kicked the most penalties (202). The competition is renowned for attacking, physical rugby and is praised internationally for its flare and spectacular tries.

Last updated: 1 November, 2017

Super Rugby Articles

Former champion rejoins Queensland Reds

Former champion rejoins Queensland Reds

by , 22 Jan 2018

The Queensland Reds have brought back a member of their 2011 title-winning team in Jono Lance for the 2018 Super Rugby season.

David Pocock’s Super Rugby return delayed by knee surgery

David Pocock’s Super Rugby return delayed by knee surgery

by , 22 Jan 2018

David Pocock’s much-anticipated return to Super Rugby will be delayed because of a knee surgery.

High-five for Gibson by end of April or it’s Tah Tah

High-five for Gibson by end of April or it’s Tah Tah

by , 19 Jan 2018

As the cricket season winds down, Daryl Gibson will need to have picked up a Michelle Pfeiffer to have any chance of staying on as the Waratahs’ coach.

Why opportunity is knocking on door number two

Why opportunity is knocking on door number two

by , 17 Jan 2018 Popular article!

For the first time in over twelve years, there is a vacancy in the middle of the Australian front row.

Nick Frisby finds himself a new home

Nick Frisby finds himself a new home

by , 16 Jan 2018

Exiled Queensland Reds halfback Nick Frisby has signed with French Top 14 club Bordeaux for the remainder of the European season.

Five pre-season questions to kick off the Australian rugby year

Five pre-season questions to kick off the Australian rugby year

by , 16 Jan 2018 Popular article!

Having watched a lot of cricket but played not enough golf over the holiday period, I forced myself to start thinking about rugby again over the weekend.

Waratahs lure potential All Blacks hooker

Waratahs lure potential All Blacks hooker

by , 15 Jan 2018 Popular article!

NSW Waratahs have poached a potential All Blacks hooker from under the nose of New Zealand rugby.

New CBA and re-brand means everything is actually okay after all

New CBA and re-brand means everything is actually okay after all

by , 11 Jan 2018

In the first major rugby news of the year, Rugby Australia have splashed the cash in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement which will see pay increases for Super Rugby, Rugby Sevens and female players.

Rugby Australia announces major pay increase for Super Rugby players

Rugby Australia announces major pay increase for Super Rugby players

by , 10 Jan 2018

2017 was a tumultuous year for rugby union in Australia, but 2018 has started off on a positive foot with Rugby Australia announcing a pay increase for Super Rugby players on Wednesday morning in their new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Australian rugby players set for bumper pay rise

Australian rugby players set for bumper pay rise

by , 10 Jan 2018

Australian Super Rugby players will reportedly receive about a 10 per cent pay rise despite waning interest in the game and uncertainty over the competition.


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