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

The midpoint report card: The red pen looms

The midpoint report card: The red pen looms

by , 24 Apr 2018

We’re at the midpoint of the Super Rugby season. Following popular demand after reviewing teams one month after making the pre-season predictions, it’s time to pass judgement once again.

Super Rugby stat deep dive: Who is tackling the most and the best?

Super Rugby stat deep dive: Who is tackling the most and the best?

by , 24 Apr 2018

With Test season approaching, and the Super Rugby season advanced enough to render statistics meaningful, let’s look at our heavy tacklers’ efficacy.

Is 2018 another annus horribilis for Australian Rugby?

Is 2018 another annus horribilis for Australian Rugby?

by , 24 Apr 2018

Is Australian Rugby going through another annus horribilis? I say another because 2017 was pretty darn bad.

The Wrap: It’s ‘four on the floor’ for out of tune Australian teams

The Wrap: It’s ‘four on the floor’ for out of tune Australian teams

by , 23 Apr 2018 Popular article! Video

New Zealand rugby fans who have been agitating for over 30 years for the return of former All Blacks captain Buck Shelford finally had their wish granted when a fit looking Shelford delivered an Anzac Day remembrance ode to kick off week ten Super Rugby action.

Oh no, Waratahs 0! What has happened with skills coaching in Australian rugby?

Oh no, Waratahs 0! What has happened with skills coaching in Australian rugby?

by , 23 Apr 2018 Popular article! Video

The kindest thing that can be said about the Waratahs’ 29-0 loss to the Lions, at their Sydney Allianz Stadium “fortress” (sigh!), is that they were so inept at the basic skills of attacking rugby they were lucky to get zero points.

New Reds players are needed to stop the red ink

New Reds players are needed to stop the red ink

by , 23 Apr 2018 Video

For the majority of this decade now, the Red in Queensland Reds stands for ugly losses.

Brumbies beaten by Jaguares 25-20

Brumbies beaten by Jaguares 25-20

by , 22 Apr 2018

Argentina’s Jaguares have completed Australia’s round of Super Rugby misery with a 25-20 win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

Five talking points from Super Rugby Round 10

Five talking points from Super Rugby Round 10

by , 22 Apr 2018

An interesting round of Super Rugby is almost at a close and there’s been a lot to talk about. So let’s dive in and get chatting.

Brumbies vs Jaguares: Super Rugby live scores, blog

Brumbies vs Jaguares: Super Rugby live scores, blog

by , 22 Apr 2018 Video

Match result: Argentina’s Jaguares have completed Australia’s round of Super Rugby misery with a 25-20 win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

The Waratahs’ pointless performance begs questions

The Waratahs’ pointless performance begs questions

by , 22 Apr 2018 Popular article!

Don Bradman made the most famous duck in Test cricket history 70 years ago when all he needed was four runs to finish his stellar career with an average of 100.


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