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 15 sides, comprised of four teams from Australia, five teams from New Zealand, four 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.

However, this has been changed again ahead of the 2018 season. With a confusing structure and drop in quality, the competition will again be 15 teams with Australia excluding the Western Force, and South Africa removing the Southern Kings and Cheetahs from the competition.

» View the full 2018 Super Rugby draw

The competition will again have three conferences of five teams each. The Australian conference will feature the New South Wales Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies, along with the Tokyo Sunwolves.

The Jaguares, meanwhile, will be in the South African conference, while the New Zealand teams form their own conference.

The Sunwolves' captain Shota Horie

The defending champions are the Crusaders, who beat the Lions 25-17 in the final.

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: 6 March, 2018

Super Rugby Articles

Mary’s Wonder Women: Super W grand final – tonight!

Mary’s Wonder Women: Super W grand final – tonight!

by , 20 Apr 2018

Tonight, the inaugural season of the Super W comes to a conclusion, when the New South Wales Waratahs take on the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium from 4:45pm.

Thorn’s ‘new direction’ Reds look eerily similar to old, bad Reds

Thorn’s ‘new direction’ Reds look eerily similar to old, bad Reds

by , 20 Apr 2018

Queensland Reds fans are getting restless. And rightly so.

Super Rugby Round 10: Death, taxes, and upsets

Super Rugby Round 10: Death, taxes, and upsets

by , 19 Apr 2018

Back to the full compliment of seven games in Round 10, but who’s game to say we won’t see an upset?

The unintentional extremist: Israel Folau, the Bible and Homophobia

The unintentional extremist: Israel Folau, the Bible and Homophobia

by , 19 Apr 2018 Video

What limits opinions? Especially by sportspeople, who are often confused for geniuses of the mind and ambassadors of tact outside their very limited field of endeavour.

Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons and the fault-line in rugby thinking

Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons and the fault-line in rugby thinking

by , 18 Apr 2018 Popular article! Video

In 2004, Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The book sent a huge shockwave through Major League Baseball circles by questioning received wisdom about the game (which occurred via a closed-shop scouting system) with the use of data-performance analysis.

Brad Thorn may regret abandoning Quade Cooper

Brad Thorn may regret abandoning Quade Cooper

by , 18 Apr 2018 Video

Reds coach Brad Thorn is perfectly entitled to drop Quade Cooper from his roster, but the decision may come back to bite him.

Issues for the Wallabies going forward

Issues for the Wallabies going forward

by , 17 Apr 2018

As we progress further into Super Rugby season, here are a few questions for Michael Cheika and his staff concerning the Wallabies.

Tahs can’t get cocky, warns forwards coach

Tahs can’t get cocky, warns forwards coach

by , 17 Apr 2018

NSW Waratahs forwards coach Simon Cron says it would be stupid for his surging Super Rugby side to get cocky as they enter a huge season-defining run of tough games.

The Wrap: For the good of rugby, it’s time to muzzle the Parrot

The Wrap: For the good of rugby, it’s time to muzzle the Parrot

by , 16 Apr 2018 Popular article!

Anyone familiar with parrots know that they talk – it’s their ‘USP’ if you like. They also like to repeat the same things over and over, none of which guarantees that what they are saying is worth listening to.

Well, that was depressing! Take homes from the Reds’ loss to the Waratahs

Well, that was depressing! Take homes from the Reds’ loss to the Waratahs

by , 15 Apr 2018 Video

Queensland rugby fans will undoubtedly have woken up on Sunday morning to the same state of irritation that I did, at our team being flogged 37-16 by the old enemy from NSW.


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