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.

Super Rugby Articles

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

by , 9 Dec 2016

Continuing on from the discussion of forwards in Australian rugby that I’ll be looking out for is my delve into the backs as I start to check off my Christmas wish list of who I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for in the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Force players adopt new sleep, eat habits

Force players adopt new sleep, eat habits

by , 9 Dec 2016

New Western Force coach Dave Wessels has praised his team’s ability to cope with a harder training load, saying some players have even tweaked their diet and sleeping patterns.

Wallabies remain maddeningly inconsistent throughout 2016

Wallabies remain maddeningly inconsistent throughout 2016

by , 7 Dec 2016

The 2016 season finished like it started for the Wallabies. With a loss to England.

Waratahs and Reds eyeing off state of origin in union

Waratahs and Reds eyeing off state of origin in union

by , 2 Dec 2016

A proposal by Queensland to host rugby union’s first state of origin game in next year’s mid-season Super Rugby break is reportedly being considered by NSW.

Waratahs CEO seeking more clout for provincial sides

Waratahs CEO seeking more clout for provincial sides

by , 29 Nov 2016

NSW Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore is looking for Australian Super Rugby squads to be given a greater say in the running of Australian rugby.

The Cheika and Jones battle will be better than the game

The Cheika and Jones battle will be better than the game

by , 29 Nov 2016

Michael Cheika and Eddie Jones are kindred spirits. They are either lunatics, or visionaries.

How to solve the Super Rugby conundrum

How to solve the Super Rugby conundrum

by , 25 Nov 2016

Since the expansion of the Super Rugby competition in 2015 to meet the demands of an increasingly globalised sporting landscape, it is fair to say the much maligned organizational body we know as SANZAAR has not done itself any favours with its current model.

Brumbies appoint new CEO

Brumbies appoint new CEO

by , 24 Nov 2016

The ACT Brumbies have announced Michael Thomson will take over as the club’s chief executive officer, ending a six-month search for Michael Jones’ permanent replacement.

The simple secret to Spring success: Confidence

The simple secret to Spring success: Confidence

by , 23 Nov 2016

As the Wallabies prepare to face their toughest tour test yet, they appear to be finding a vital ingredient for winning: confidence.

Liam Gill wins Queensland’s players’ player of the year

Liam Gill wins Queensland’s players’ player of the year

by , 22 Nov 2016

Departed Queensland Reds flanker Liam Gill has been belatedly named as the winner of this year’s Pilecki Medal for players’ player of the year.


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