Super Rugby

Last updated: 28 February, 2017

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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

Rebels do homework on Highlanders

Rebels do homework on Highlanders

by , 28 Mar 2017

The Melbourne Rebels say they’ve been studying the Highlanders’ tight win over the Brumbies to prepare for a daunting trip to Dunedin this week.

Waratahs’ Foley in doubt for Crusaders

Waratahs’ Foley in doubt for Crusaders

by , 28 Mar 2017

Bernard Foley’s concussion symptoms have returned after the NSW Waratahs star played in their Super Rugby win over Melbourne on the weekend.

ARU finally speaks out on Super Rugby future

ARU finally speaks out on Super Rugby future

by , 28 Mar 2017 Popular article!

The ARU has released a statement on the future of the Australian franchises’ in Super Rugby, responding to speculation about the possibility that one side may be cut from the competition.

‘Mitigating circumstances’ and player safety

‘Mitigating circumstances’ and player safety

by , 28 Mar 2017

Player safety is all the rage at the moment, and rightfully so. Injuries are good for no one, not the advertisers, not the players, not the fans, no one.

Force chairman says franchise was set up to fail

Force chairman says franchise was set up to fail

by , 28 Mar 2017

Western Force chairman Tony Howarth says the club’s efforts to succeed have been undermined by Australian rugby powers.

The Brumbies, not the cunning Force, must be sacrificed

The Brumbies, not the cunning Force, must be sacrificed

by , 28 Mar 2017

There is a famous quote pertinent to Australian rugby right now.

The Brumbies aren’t the problem – rugby already has one foot in the grave

The Brumbies aren’t the problem – rugby already has one foot in the grave

by , 28 Mar 2017

Yesterday legendary rugby writer Spiro Zavos joined the “five into four” debate in respect to the future of Australian involvement in the Super Rugby competition.

Chiefs seek urgency against Bulls

by , 28 Mar 2017

The unbeaten Chiefs hope a week off will translate to urgency when they face the struggling Bulls in Hamilton.

UPDATE: Western Force respond to reports Super Rugby franchise will be cut

UPDATE: Western Force respond to reports Super Rugby franchise will be cut

by , 27 Mar 2017 Popular article!

Reports are flying that the Western Force are set to be the unlucky Australian Super Rugby side cut in a revamped 15-team competition, however the franchise has denied they will be making way at the end of the season.

Still no return in sight for McCalman

Still no return in sight for McCalman

by , 27 Mar 2017

Western Force skipper Ben McCalman must feel like giving the finger to his injured right thumb, with the Wallabies back-rower set to spend another frustrating week on the sidelines.


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