Super Rugby

Last updated: 28 February, 2017

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Super Rugby, governed by SANZAAR, is the largest and most competitive rugby union competition in the southern hemisphere with 18 sides, comprised of five teams from Australia, five teams from New Zealand, six 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.

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.

Super Rugby Articles

Time for some big decisions in Super Rugby

Time for some big decisions in Super Rugby

by , 24 Mar 2017

When you open a manufacturing business one of the first decisions you make is whether you are going into mass production or whether you are manufacturing niche products.

Brumbies try to boost not so Super NZ run

Brumbies try to boost not so Super NZ run

by , 24 Mar 2017

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has challenged his players to improve their dismal recent Super Rugby history against New Zealand sides as they prepare for a crunch match against the Highlanders.

Blues pack ready to step up: Umaga

Blues pack ready to step up: Umaga

by , 24 Mar 2017

Coach Tana Umaga says the Blues are well aware what they’ll be up against when they meet a combative Bulls outfit in Auckland.

Western Force offer fans shares in club

Western Force offer fans shares in club

by , 24 Mar 2017

The Western Force want to prove to the ARU and SANZAAR that it would be a $10 million mistake to get rid of them – but first they need fans to put their money where their mouth is.

Rebels see Tahs as Super Rugby must-win

Rebels see Tahs as Super Rugby must-win

by , 23 Mar 2017

The Melbourne Rebels are relishing the chance to measure themselves against another Australian Super Rugby team as they head into a must-win clash with the Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Brumbies make raft of Super Rugby changes

Brumbies make raft of Super Rugby changes

by , 23 Mar 2017

The Brumbies have made five changes to their Super Rugby starting line-up to face the Highlanders, with Scott Sio and Saia Fainga’a named on the bench to play their first match for the season.

Waratahs conscious of empty trophy cabinet

Waratahs conscious of empty trophy cabinet

by , 23 Mar 2017

The NSW Waratahs’ trophy cabinet is all but empty and skipper Michael Hooper wants something done about it. Pronto.

Super Rugby Round 5 tips and predictions: Do your best, tipsters

Super Rugby Round 5 tips and predictions: Do your best, tipsters

by , 23 Mar 2017 Popular article!

If you thought last week was an easy round to tip, you need only look as far as my Round 4 result for the proof. If I’m picking the card, then it can’t have been too hard.

If an Aussie team is cut, the Brumbies should be the last to go

If an Aussie team is cut, the Brumbies should be the last to go

by , 23 Mar 2017 Popular article!

The Roar’s Spiro Zavos wrote in a recent article ‘Given its great number of players, about 500,000, and the great wealth within the rugby community, it is actually something of a marvel how unsuccessful England has been as a rugby nation’.

Families unsettled by SANZAAR uncertainty

Families unsettled by SANZAAR uncertainty

by , 23 Mar 2017

Western Force coach Dave Wessels says the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of the franchise is hindering his chances of recruiting star players for next year.


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