The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Super Rugby super stats preview: Australian Conference

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Rugby4Cast new author
Roar Rookie
12th February, 2019
3

This year, Super Rugby will be back to uniform start dates across conferences – in 2018 the South African conference started a week earlier than the Australia and New Zealand conferences. In 2019, it all gets underway on Friday.

The tournament’s 15-team, three-conference format remains the same and there will be a total of 120 matches in the regular season that will be followed by a seven-match, eight-team finals series.

We at Rugby4Cast aim to provide a slightly more stats-based approach to matches and look closely at the histories, rankings and form heading into matches.

Here is our Super Rugby Australian Conference preview.

Rankings

Here are our Super Rugby rankings heading into the 2019 season. These are based on an Elo rating system.

Rank Team Points
1 Crusaders 114.45
2 Hurricanes 110.90
3 Chiefs 108.31
4 Lions 106.31
5 Highlanders 105.71
6 Waratahs 102.68
7 Brumbies 101.61
8 Stormers 101.37
9 Sharks 101.31
10 Jaguares 99.62
11 Bulls 98.84
12 Blues 98.74
13 Reds 92.53
14 Rebels 92.20
15 Sunwolves 88.34

As might be expected, the Kiwi sides come out on top, with the highest Australian clubs ranked sixth and seventh respectively. Can they begin to challenge the New Zealand lockout at the top of the table?

It might be difficult. As can be seen below, the Australian sides have been slipping recently, with both their topped-ranked teams – the Waratahs and Brumbies – losing a little ground over the past three years.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Crusaders

(Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

What are the rankings?
The below shows how the current Australian Conference sides have changed over time.

The Waratahs and Brumbies have been on top for a while. Can the others begin to challenge their dominance?

super rugby aus conference rankings

This is a 12-month rolling average of our internally calculated rankings. For more information on these and how they are calculated, head to www.rugby4cast.com/rankings.

Brumbies

The Brumbies last won the Super Rugby title in 2004 and will be looking for an improvement of their recent run of nearlies in the knockout stages. The Brumbies may be looking to skipper Christian Lealiifano as their talisman player, following his return to Super Rugby last year after a battle with leukaemia.

The Canberra outfit will also enjoy the arrival of James Slipper from the Queensland Reds.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Here’s a look at the Brumbies’ 2018 results.

P W L D F A Win % Avg Pts
Brumbies 16 7 9 0 393 422 0.44 24.56
Opposition 16 9 7 0 422 393 0.56 26.38
Date Home Away Location
14/7/18 Waratahs 31 40 Brumbies Allianz Stadium
7/7/18 Chiefs 24 19 Brumbies FMG Stadium Waikato
30/6/18 Brumbies 24 12 Hurricanes GIO Stadium
3/6/18 Brumbies 41 31 Sunwolves GIO Stadium
26/5/18 Bulls 28 38 Brumbies Loftus Versfeld
19/5/18 Lions 42 24 Brumbies Emirates Airlines Park
12/5/18 Brumbies 24 27 Rebels GIO Stadium
28/4/18 Brumbies 8 21 Crusaders GIO Stadium
22/4/18 Brumbies 20 25 Jaguares GIO Stadium
14/4/18 Highlanders 43 17 Brumbies Forsyth Barr Stadium
7/4/18 Brumbies 45 21 Reds GIO Stadium
31/3/18 Brumbies 17 24 Waratahs GIO Stadium
17/3/18 Brumbies 24 17 Sharks GIO Stadium
9/3/18 Rebels 33 10 Brumbies AAMI Park
2/3/18 Reds 18 10 Brumbies Suncorp Stadium
24/2/18 Sunwolves 25 32 Brumbies Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium

The Brumbies missed out on the playoffs last year. They last made the knockout stages in 2017 but lost in the quarters to the Hurricanes.

Player to watch: James Slipper
Former Wallaby James Slipper will be hoping to make a new start in Super Rugby after twice testing positive for cocaine and subsequently being released by the Reds last year. He will be looking to make a huge impact for the Brumbies, and his experience will be a valuable addition for the Canberrans.

Australian rugby union player James Slipper takes part in a training session in Sydney

James Slipper (Image: Paul Miller / AAP)

Reds

The Reds finished fourth in the Australian Conference last year. However, Queensland have been rebuilding somewhat since Brad Thorn came and will be hoping for improvements this year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

They’ve lost Quade Cooper, James Slipper, Karmichael Hunt and George Smith – some serious firepower. However, they have picked up Dave Alred as the new kicking coach who mentored England World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson.

P W L D F A Win % Avg Pts
Reds 16 6 10 0 389 501 0.38 24.31
Opposition 16 10 6 0 501 389 0.63 31.31
Date Home Away Location
13/7/18 Reds 48 27 Sunwolves Suncorp Stadium
6/7/18 Reds 37 23 Rebels Suncorp Stadium
29/6/18 Blues 39 16 Reds Eden Park
2/6/18 Reds 41 52 Waratahs Suncorp Stadium
26/5/18 Reds 15 18 Highlanders Suncorp Stadium
18/5/18 Hurricanes 38 34 Reds Westpac Stadium
12/5/18 Sunwolves 63 28 Reds Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
28/4/18 Reds 27 22 Lions Suncorp Stadium
21/4/18 Reds 12 36 Chiefs Suncorp Stadium
14/4/18 Waratahs 37 16 Reds Sydney Cricket Ground
7/4/18 Brumbies 45 21 Reds GIO Stadium
24/3/18 Stormers 25 19 Reds DHL Newlands
17/3/18 Jaguares 7 18 Reds Estadio Jose Amalfitani
10/3/18 Reds 20 14 Bulls Suncorp Stadium
2/3/18 Reds 18 10 Brumbies Suncorp Stadium
23/2/18 Rebels 45 19 Reds AAMI Park

Player to watch: Scott Higginbottom
The former Australian international currently holds the record for highest try-scoring forward in Super Rugby history and he isn’t slowing down anytime soon, having scored five tries in 16 games last season. Higginbottom is also fantastic in the lineout.

Scott Higginbotham

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Rebels

The Rebels survived the axe in 2017 after the ARU culled the Force from the competition instead. They went on to prove their worth and finish second in the Australian Conference in 2018, winning seven out of their 16 games.

Melbourne have picked up Quade Cooper from the Reds and will also be hoping for Reece Hodge to make a return sometime early in the season after breaking his ankle before last year’s Bledisloe Cup clash in Japan.

Advertisement
Advertisement
P W L D F A Win % Avg Pts
Rebels 16 7 9 0 440 461 0.44 27.50
Opposition 16 9 7 0 461 440 0.56 28.81
Date Home Away Location
14/7/18 Highlanders 43 37 Rebels Forsyth Barr Stadium
6/7/18 Reds 37 23 Rebels Suncorp Stadium
29/6/18 Rebels 26 31 Waratahs AAMI Park
2/6/18 Blues 10 20 Rebels Eden Park
25/5/18 Rebels 40 13 Sunwolves AAMI Park
12/5/18 Brumbies 24 27 Rebels GIO Stadium
4/5/18 Rebels 10 55 Crusaders AAMI Park
27/4/18 Stormers 34 18 Rebels DHL Newlands
21/4/18 Bulls 28 10 Rebels Loftus Versfeld
14/4/18 Rebels 22 25 Jaguares AAMI Park
30/3/18 Rebels 19 50 Hurricanes AAMI Park
23/3/18 Rebels 46 14 Sharks AAMI Park
18/3/18 Waratahs 51 27 Rebels Allianz Stadium
9/3/18 Rebels 33 10 Brumbies AAMI Park
3/3/18 Sunwolves 17 37 Rebels Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
23/2/18 Rebels 45 19 Reds AAMI Park

Player to watch: Reece Hodge
This was a difficult one. It could easily be Quade Cooper, however centre Hodge will be a critical link in a backline led by Will Genia and Cooper. Also, Hodge’s versatility is a useful trait – he can play flyhalf, centre, wing or fullback.

Reece Hodge of the Rebels

(AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Waratahs

Well well well, The Waratahs have been busy in the off-season. This year they have recruited new stars in the likes of Karmichael Hunt, Adam Ashley-Cooper and John Folau, all big names who will join Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau. Quite a backline.

Our gut says these guys will top the Australian Conference yet again, but that they will face stiffer competition from the other teams.

The Waratahs finished top of this group last year, and running third on the overall ladder at the end of the regular season.

Advertisement
Advertisement
P W L D F A Win % Avg Pts
Waratahs 18 10 7 1 613 512 0.56 34.06
Opposition 18 7 10 1 512 613 0.39 28.44
Date Home Away Location
28/7/18 Lions 44 26 Waratahs Emirates Airlines Park
21/7/18 Waratahs 30 23 Highlanders Allianz Stadium
14/7/18 Waratahs 31 40 Brumbies Allianz Stadium
7/7/18 Waratahs 77 25 Sunwolves Allianz Stadium
29/6/18 Rebels 26 31 Waratahs AAMI Park
2/6/18 Reds 41 52 Waratahs Suncorp Stadium
26/5/18 Chiefs 39 27 Waratahs FMG Stadium Waikato
19/5/18 Waratahs 41 12 Highlanders Allianz Stadium
12/5/18 Crusaders 31 29 Waratahs AMI Stadium
5/5/18 Waratahs 21 24 Blues Brookvale Oval
20/4/18 Waratahs 0 29 Lions Allianz Stadium
14/4/18 Waratahs 37 16 Reds Sydney Cricket Ground
7/4/18 Sunwolves 29 50 Waratahs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
31/3/18 Brumbies 17 24 Waratahs GIO Stadium
18/3/18 Waratahs 51 27 Rebels Allianz Stadium
10/3/18 Jaguares 38 28 Waratahs Estadio Jose Amalfitani
3/3/18 Sharks 24 24 Waratahs Kings Park Stadium
24/2/18 Waratahs 34 27 Stormers Allianz Stadium

Player to watch: John Folau
There’s reason to be really excited about this kid. As the brother of Israel Folau, it’s almost guaranteed he will take his first Super Rugby season by storm. He was signed by the Waratahs from the Sydney Rays after some great performances in the National Rugby Championship.

Waratahs fans at round 5 of the Super Rugby between Waratahs and Rebels at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on March 18, 2018.

(Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sunwolves

The Sunwolves have a new coach, New Zealander Tony Brown, with Jamie Joseph becoming director of rugby.

The youngest franchise in this conference will have around 60 players at their disposal this year with the main focus on the World Cup. Joseph will concentrate on the wider training group to ensure the best Japanese players are in peak condition by September.

The Sunwolves have had a bad run since joining the competition and only picked up three wins last season. However, they have been slowly improving with those three victories coming over the Bulls, Stormers and Reds.

Advertisement
Advertisement
P W L D F A Win % Avg Pts
Sunwolves 16 3 13 0 404 664 0.19 25.25
Opposition 16 13 3 0 664 404 0.81 41.50
Date Home Away Location
13/7/18 Reds 48 27 Sunwolves Suncorp Stadium
7/7/18 Waratahs 77 25 Sunwolves Allianz Stadium
30/6/18 Sunwolves 42 37 Bulls Singapore National Stadium
3/6/18 Brumbies 41 31 Sunwolves GIO Stadium
25/5/18 Rebels 40 13 Sunwolves AAMI Park
19/5/18 Sunwolves 26 23 Stormers Mong Kok Stadium
12/5/18 Sunwolves 63 28 Reds Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
27/4/18 Hurricanes 43 15 Sunwolves Westpac Stadium
21/4/18 Crusaders 33 11 Sunwolves AMI Stadium
14/4/18 Sunwolves 10 24 Blues Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
7/4/18 Sunwolves 29 50 Waratahs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
24/3/18 Sunwolves 10 61 Chiefs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
17/3/18 Lions 40 38 Sunwolves Emirates Airlines Park
10/3/18 Sharks 50 22 Sunwolves Kings Park Stadium
3/3/18 Sunwolves 17 37 Rebels Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
24/2/18 Sunwolves 25 32 Brumbies Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium

Player to watch: Rene Ranger
This six-cap All Black will be looking to make the most of his new Super Rugby contract with the Japanese side after leaving the Auckland Blues in 2017. Ranger, standing at 6 foot tall and weighing in at 101 kilograms, can play either centre or wing.

He has a very physical rugby style which will make him feared in attack and defence and, paired up with his fellow New Zealand-born teammate, local legend Michael Leitch, the duo could well become a deadly combo.