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.

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.

Last updated: 18 July, 2017

Super Rugby Articles

Super Rugby round semi-finals: No further upsets

Super Rugby round semi-finals: No further upsets

by , 27 Jul 2017

And then there were four. After three huge upsets in the qualifying finals last weekend – if you stupidly followed my tipping, that is – the Super Rugby season now looks set to play out in the two dominant cities of the competition in 2017: Johannesburg and Christchurch.

Dane Coles set to complete remarkable return in 100th Hurricanes game

Dane Coles set to complete remarkable return in 100th Hurricanes game

by , 26 Jul 2017

From near-retirement to starting a Super Rugby semi-final – the Dane Coles recovery story takes another notable step in Johannesburg this weekend.

Was the Brumbies vs Hurricanes final a sneak peek of the Bledisloe Cup opener?

Was the Brumbies vs Hurricanes final a sneak peek of the Bledisloe Cup opener?

by , 26 Jul 2017 Popular article!

19 August. The date will be etched in Michael Cheika’s memory already, because it is the day Australia play New Zealand in the first round of the Rugby Championship in Sydney.

Australian rugby needs a champion team, not a team of champions

Australian rugby needs a champion team, not a team of champions

by , 26 Jul 2017 Popular article!

Last week The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ARU chair Cameron Clyne hinted that if the ARU was legally unable to axe an Australian Super Rugby franchise, he would resign his position.

The Brumbies’ playoffs capitulation sums up their 2017 season

The Brumbies’ playoffs capitulation sums up their 2017 season

by , 25 Jul 2017

Regardless of your thoughts around the Super Rugby finals format, the Brumbies were part of it in 2017.

Discipline the key for Crusaders in finals

Discipline the key for Crusaders in finals

by , 25 Jul 2017

The Crusaders have no doubt that winning an eighth Super Rugby title will boil down to discipline.

Will Rod Kafer be the catalyst to make Australian rugby great again?

Will Rod Kafer be the catalyst to make Australian rugby great again?

by , 24 Jul 2017 Popular article!

The headline on the Sydney Morning Herald article announcing the ARU’s appointment of Rod Kafer as the founder/director of a National Coaching Advisory Panel made this Trumpian claim: “Rod Kafer aims to make Wallabies and Australian rugby great again in new ARU role.”

The Wrap: Finals a rare win for SANZAAR, but is it too little too late?

The Wrap: Finals a rare win for SANZAAR, but is it too little too late?

by , 24 Jul 2017 Popular article!

There was an early shock in Canberra on Friday night: a pitifully small crowd in to witness a final, which was also the last home appearance for Brumbies stalwart Scott Fardy and the long-awaited return to rugby of Christian Lealiifano.

The High Five: Super Rugby Quarter Finals

The High Five: Super Rugby Quarter Finals

by , 23 Jul 2017 Popular article!

The Super Rugby quarter finals have now been completed and while the results went the way of the betting odds and the favoured teams won through, it certainly was not all one-way traffic as many were expecting.

Form teams into Super Rugby semi-finals

Form teams into Super Rugby semi-finals

by , 23 Jul 2017

The Hurricanes and Chiefs are both confident they can buck Super Rugby history by winning semi-finals on the road.


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