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 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, but is colloquially referred to as the ‘Super 15’. SANZAR has hinted at further expanding the competition in 2016 with sides possibly coming from either Argentina, Japan, the U.S.

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 competitions 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.

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

A format to put the super back into Super Rugby

A format to put the super back into Super Rugby

by , 27 Aug 2016

The talk surrounding the structure of Super Rugby has raised its head again, with suggestions of reducing and expanding – it all seems a little bit reactive instead of being proactive.

New proposal leaves Australia and South Africa with one less Super Rugby team

New proposal leaves Australia and South Africa with one less Super Rugby team

by , 26 Aug 2016

The board of Australian Rugby Union have been presented with a radical proposal for the future of Super Rugby, which would see Australia and South Africa lose a provincial side, reducing the tournament to 16 teams.

International rugby schedule up in the air

by , 26 Aug 2016

Premiership Rugby bosses have warned against a “nonsense” breakaway of individual nations from the global Test calendar.

The Wrap: Bledisloe rout, does Cheika have any answers?

The Wrap: Bledisloe rout, does Cheika have any answers?

by , 22 Aug 2016

Losing press conferences after a hiding are always fascinating. On one hand a nervy but respectful clique of journalists wary of kicking a man while he’s down. On the other, a circling pack of hyenas, waiting for their cue to tear off the chunks of dead meat that will form their stories.

Cheika’s premature appointment hurt him and the Wallabies

Cheika’s premature appointment hurt him and the Wallabies

by , 22 Aug 2016

No one can question the commitment and passion of Michael Cheika; a coach who stood up in a time of need and answered the cries from the ARU to help pioneer an optimistic post-Ewen McKenzie era.

All Blacks explain bugging delay report

by , 21 Aug 2016

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has explained why it took five days for the New Zealand Rugby Union to come forward about the alleged bugging of the world champions’ meeting room in Sydney.

Waratahs sign Sevens star Cameron Clark

Waratahs sign Sevens star Cameron Clark

by , 16 Aug 2016

The Waratahs have announced the signing of Australian Rugby Sevens star Cameron Clark, picking up the Olympian till the end of the 2018 season.

Moala growth clear to see, says Blues head

by , 14 Aug 2016

Blues centre George Moala has added leadership skills to his repertoire of pace, strength and hard running, according to teammate Jerome Kaino.

Super Rugby season review

Super Rugby season review

by , 10 Aug 2016

Congratulations to the Hurricanes, the Super Rugby 2016 champions. After falling at the final hurdle last season, you can’t begrudge the men from Wellington their maiden championship.

The Super Rugby format cannot change for 2017

The Super Rugby format cannot change for 2017

by , 9 Aug 2016

The Hurricanes took out the 2016 final pretty much as everyone thought they would. An exceptional defensive effort that was already beyond 200 minutes without conceding a try was pushed almost to 300 minutes.


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