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

Strengthening the NRC for rugby’s future

Strengthening the NRC for rugby’s future

by , 26 Apr 2017

It is difficult to see exactly how the current Super teams saga will end, but no matter which team is cut or however the various potential legal battles play out, it is looking fairly certain that Australian rugby will be involved with Super Rugby until at least the end of 2020.

Rugby’s State of Origin may not happen

Rugby’s State of Origin may not happen

by , 26 Apr 2017

Rugby union’s mooted State of Origin adaptation won’t happen this year and may not happen at all due to an impending increase in Australian Super Rugby derby matches.

ARU rejects Brumbies-Rebels Super merger

ARU rejects Brumbies-Rebels Super merger

by , 25 Apr 2017

Australian Rugby Union is holding firm on safeguarding the Brumbies amid calls to merge the club with Melbourne Rebels as part of a Super Rugby downsizing.

It’s crisis time for the worst-ever Waratahs and their overpaid stars

It’s crisis time for the worst-ever Waratahs and their overpaid stars

by , 24 Apr 2017 Popular article! Video

At half-time during the Hurricanes–Brumbies match, I was contemplating that for once I could write a positive article about the state of rugby in Australia. Something with this heading, perhaps: “Come back coach Stephen Larkham, all is forgiven.”

The Wrap: Two points rocket Rebels up Australian conference ladder

The Wrap: Two points rocket Rebels up Australian conference ladder

by , 24 Apr 2017

The state of Australian rugby is such that two log points, like the ones gained by the Rebels for their unlikely 9-9 draw against the Sharks, go a long way – the closeness of the Australian conference is at least providing an edge that the quality of the rugby currently doesn’t.

Waratahs explore the bottom of the barrel

Waratahs explore the bottom of the barrel

by , 24 Apr 2017

Allianz Stadium was a strange place to be on Friday night.

The Super XV: Australian team of the week, Round 9

The Super XV: Australian team of the week, Round 9

by , 24 Apr 2017

Each week we’ll be looking at the best of the best in Australian rugby and piecing together the top 15 players out of the Aussie Super Rugby sides from the round gone by.

The High Five: Super Rugby Round 9

The High Five: Super Rugby Round 9

by , 23 Apr 2017 Video

Round 9 of Super Rugby has wrapped up and will perhaps be the Round best remembered for one of the biggest, if not the biggest upset in Super Rugby history while a few of the competition favourites really started to stretch their legs and stretching their conference leads.

Force sweat on Haylett-Petty injury

Force sweat on Haylett-Petty injury

by , 23 Apr 2017 Video

Wallabies star Dane Haylett-Petty is sweating on scans to determine the seriousness of the hamstring injury he suffered in the Western Force’s 16-7 Super Rugby loss to the Chiefs in Perth.

Worst season looms in Australian Super Rugby

Worst season looms in Australian Super Rugby

by , 23 Apr 2017 Video

Just past the halfway mark, Australia’s wretched results are on track to yield the country’s worst season in the 23-year history of Super Rugby.


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