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: 18 July, 2017

Super Rugby Articles

Forrest called ARU’s bluff to save Force

Forrest called ARU’s bluff to save Force

by , 12 Oct 2017

The Australian Rugby Union’s rejection of billionaire Andrew Forrest’s $50 million offer to save the Western Force was a backflip that came weeks after it told him such a figure would save the club, a Senate inquiry has heard.

Rebels’ recipe for success? Use the Force

Rebels’ recipe for success? Use the Force

by , 10 Oct 2017

With former Western Force coach Dave Wessels on board, the Melbourne Rebels are hoping the combined knowledge and talent of two success-starved Super Rugby clubs means a change in fortune next year.

The Wrap: Rugby Championship ends with a bang

The Wrap: Rugby Championship ends with a bang

by , 9 Oct 2017 Popular article!

It is the modern way that in big matches, across all codes, the winning team rushes to embrace each other at match end, to share in the spoils of victory, leaving the handshakes and acknowledgement of the opposition to later.

Thorn to be wild as new Reds coach

Thorn to be wild as new Reds coach

by , 6 Oct 2017 Popular article!

One less Super Rugby team, three new coaches and a departing CEO – Australian rugby is a wild workplace when David Pocock takes annual leave.

Thorn the man to lead the Reds back to the promised land

Thorn the man to lead the Reds back to the promised land

by , 6 Oct 2017

Queensland Rugby Union boss Richard Barker’s gut instinct is that new coach Brad Thorn is the man to stop the rot at the Reds.

Brad Thorn replaces Stiles as Reds coach

Brad Thorn replaces Stiles as Reds coach

by , 5 Oct 2017

Brad Thorn has been confirmed as the new coach of Super Rugby club Queensland, replacing the sacked Nick Stiles.

Australian rugby going forward: Three things we must do

Australian rugby going forward: Three things we must do

by , 1 Oct 2017

It is an age of turmoil for Australian rugby.

New Rebels coach tips Aussie golden age

New Rebels coach tips Aussie golden age

by , 30 Sep 2017

New Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels is convinced Australian rugby is heading towards a golden era despite the game’s recent woes.

Bumbling Reds on the verge of another blunder

Bumbling Reds on the verge of another blunder

by , 29 Sep 2017

The Queensland Reds are apparently replacing Nick Stiles as head coach, and if they do, it would be just the latest in a long line of serious blunders from the struggling franchise.

Wessels’ Rebels move could make him the next Wallaby coach

Wessels’ Rebels move could make him the next Wallaby coach

by , 29 Sep 2017

Dave Wessels’ decision to remain in Australia and coach the Melbourne Rebels shows the measure of the great man that he is, and should put him front and centre to succeed Michael Cheika as Wallabies coach.


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