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.

Last updated: 28 February, 2017

Super Rugby Articles

Not so Super Rugby

Not so Super Rugby

by , 24 Jun 2017

Rugby in Australia is in a mess. There is no hiding from it.

Christian Lealiifano makes rugby comeback for Brumbies

Christian Lealiifano makes rugby comeback for Brumbies

by , 23 Jun 2017

Christian Lealiifano has made a remarkable comeback to rugby, playing for the Brumbies a little more than seven months after a bone marrow transplant to treat leukaemia.

Past the post: Ipswich and Morphettville blackbookers

Past the post: Ipswich and Morphettville blackbookers

by , 21 Jun 2017

It was tough work punters on Ipswich Cup Day on Saturday with some long priced winners saluting, while at Morphettville we saw some impressive winners. Here are my blackbookers.

Australia must go back to the future to save rugby union

Australia must go back to the future to save rugby union

by , 20 Jun 2017

Rugby was a far more simple game in the Southern Hemisphere in 1986.

Wallabies’ Scotland loss needs to be an aberration

Wallabies’ Scotland loss needs to be an aberration

by , 20 Jun 2017 Popular article!

Many angry words have already been written about the Wallabies’ 24-19 loss to Scotland, and many more may well follow again today.

No end in sight for Super Rugby saga

No end in sight for Super Rugby saga

by , 20 Jun 2017

Another chapter in Australia’s sorry Super Rugby saga will be written on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen whether it will expedite or further delay a long awaited decision.

The High Five: Maori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions

The High Five: Maori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions

by , 18 Jun 2017

The British and Irish Lions have completed a comprehensive win over the Maori All Blacks by 32 points to 10 in difficult conditions in Rotorua to secure their most impressive win of their tour to date.

Where would the Wallabies be without the Pacific Island connection?

Where would the Wallabies be without the Pacific Island connection?

by , 17 Jun 2017

When the Fijian flyer Eto Nabuli debuts for the Wallabies against Scotland at Allianz tonight, he will be the 16th Pacific Islander of the current squad or those injured to don the coveted gold jersey.

RUPA and player welfare – it’s time to rise up and represent

RUPA and player welfare – it’s time to rise up and represent

by , 16 Jun 2017

With the mental health of players at the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels recently brought into question, where is RUPA in the Super Rugby scrap for survival?

Rebels coach to leave club at the end of the season

Rebels coach to leave club at the end of the season

by , 15 Jun 2017

Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan has paid the price for their worst ever Super Rugby season, with the club looking to replace him.


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