Super Rugby

Super Rugby started in 1996 with the advent of professional rugby. Super Rugby now involves franchise teams from the SANZAR countries: South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In 2016, a team from Japan and a team from Argentina joined the competition.

The 2016 Super Rugby competition saw changes made with the addition of 3 new teams and format changes to allow for these teams. The new teams will be the Kings from South Africa, the Jaguares from Argentina and the Sunwolves from Japan. In 2017 the format remained the same.

There will be 2 regional groups, the South African and Australasian Groups.

The Australasian Group will have an Australian conference of 5 teams and a New Zealand conference of 5 teams.

The South African Group will have 2 conferences, one with 3 South African teams and the Sunwolves (Japan) and one with 3 South African teams and the Jaguares (Argentina).

In the South African conferences each team will play the other 3 teams on a home and away basis. They will also play each team in the other conference once and each team from one of the Australasian conferences.

In the Australasian conferences, each team will play two teams in their conference home and away. They will play the other 2 teams once, the teams in the other Australasian conference once and the teams in one of the South African conferences once.

The conference winners qualify for the Quarter Finals. The next 3 teams in the Australasian Group and the next best team in the South African Group also qualify. The conference winners will have home matches.

The highest rated winning teams will have home matches in the play-off series, including the final.

There was also a change made to the bonus point system for the Super Rugby season. The old system under which teams received a bonus point for scoring four or more tries has been abolished and teams will now only receive an attacking bonus point if they score three tries more than their opponents. There were also some minor changes made to some laws. See below for these.


To look at results from past years use the links in the Past Winners section below.

2017 Super Rugby teams

New Zealand

  • Blues
  • Chiefs
  • Hurricanes
  • Crusaders
  • Highlanders

Australia

  • Reds
  • Waratahs
  • Brumbies
  • Rebels
  • Western Force

South Africa

  • Stormers
  • Sharks
  • Bulls
  • Cheetahs
  • Golden Lions
  • Southern Kings



Japan

Sunwolves

Argentina

Jaguares

2017 Super Rugby Results

Click on the link above for the Super Rugby results and competition tables


History of Super Rugby

Super Rugby started in 1996. With the advent of professionalism in rugby, the southern hemisphere rugby unions of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa created SANZAR (South Africa New Zealand Australia Rugby) to run an annual 12 team competition and an international series between the 3 countries. This was known as the Tri-Nations Championship (now The Rugby Championship, with 4 teams).

In 1996, the Super 12 had 5 teams from New Zealand, 4 from South Africa and 3 from Australia. The New Zealand teams were regionally based franchise teams set up for the competition. The Australian teams were based on the 3 leading state teams and the South African teams were based on Currie Cup placings.

Teams played in a league format, with matches against all 11 of the other teams. The top 4 then played semi-finals and a final.

In 2006, 2 new teams were added to the competition, creating the Super 14. There was 1 new team from Australia (Western Force) and 1 new team from South Africa (Cheetahs), making 5 from NZ, 5 from SA and 4 from Australia. The same format was used, making 13 games in the season.

In 2011 a further team, from Australia, was added to the competition making a total of 15, 5 from each country. Hence the name Super 15. With this addition the format was also changed. It now consisted of 3 regional conferences (by country) and each team within a conference played the other teams in the conference twice, home and away. They then also played 4 teams from each of the other conferences, making a 16 match season.

The top team from each conference qualifies for the finals, along with the next 3 teams, regardless of their nationality. The top 2 teams have a bye in the first round of the finals, the 3rd conference winner plays the 6th placed team at home and the 4th placed team plays the 5th placed team.

Following this the winners then played the top 2 teams for a place in the Final.

In 2013, in the Super 15 Rugby competition, the Southern Kings franchise replaced the Golden Lions in the South African conference.

In 2014, following a playoff series, the Golden Lions replaced the Southern Kings in the South African Conference.

In 2016 major changes were made with the addition of 3 new teams. These were the Southern Kings (South Africa), the Sunwolves (Japan) and the Jaguares (Argentina).

There will be 2 regional groups, the South African and Australasian Groups. The Australasian Group will have an Australian conference of 5 teams and a New Zealand conference of 5 teams.

The South African Group will have 2 conferences, one with 3 South African teams and the Sunwolves (Japan) and one with 3 South African teams and the Jaguares (Argentina).

The Australasian Group will have an Australian conference of 5 teams and a New Zealand conference of 5 teams.

In the South African conferences each team will play the other 3 teams on a home and away basis. They will also play each team in the other conference once and each team from one of the Australasian conferences.

In the Australasian conferences, each team will play two teams in their conference home and away. They will play the other 2 teams once, the teams in the other Australasian conference once and the teams in one of the South African conferences once.

The conference winners qualify for the Quarter Finals. The next 3 teams in the Australasian Group and the next best team in the South African Group also qualify. The conference winners will have home matches.

The highest rated winning teams will have home matches in the play-off series, including the final.

There was also a change made to the bonus point system for the Super Rugby season. The old system under which teams received a bonus point for scoring four or more tries has been abolished and teams will now only receive an attacking bonus point if they score three tries more than their opponents.

The 2016 competition also had some minor amendments to some of the laws. They were:

Maul laws
1. A player with the ball cannot move to the back of the maul, otherwise a penalty can be given.

Scrum laws

2. The ball can be cleared if available, when the scrum collapses.
3. If a player is lifted in the air, the scrum is ended immediately.
4. A team must be ready to crouch within 30 seconds of the referee setting the mark. Sanction: free kick
5. If a scrum wheels, it is reset and the ball is thrown in by the same team.
6. When a team has won the ball, the opposing halfback may not step into the space between the flanker and No.8.

In 2017 the same format was used.

Who do the teams represent?

New Zealand

Blues: Northland, North Harbour, Auckland

Chiefs: Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Thames Valley, King Country, Taranaki

Hurricanes: Wellington, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui, East Coast, Poverty Bay, Wairarapa Bush, Horowhenua-Kapiti

Crusaders: Canterbury, Tasman, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast, Buller,

Highlanders: Otago, Southland, North Otago

Australia

Reds: Queensland

Waratahs: Central & Northern New South Wales

Brumbies: ACT & Southern New South Wales

Melbourne Rebels: Victoria

Western Force: Western Australia

South Africa

Stormers: Boland Cavaliers, Western Province

Sharks: Natal Sharks, Leopards

Bulls: Blue Bulls, Falcons

Cheetahs: Free State Cheetahs, Griffons, Griquas

Golden Lions: Johannesburg, Pumas

Southern Kings: Eastern Province Kings, SWD Eagles, Border Bulldogs

Argentina

Jaguares

Japan

Sunwolves

Past Winners

2002 - Crusaders

2001 - Brumbies

2000 - Crusaders

1999 - Crusaders

1998 - Crusaders

1997 - Blues

1996 - Blues

Number of Championship Wins

  • Crusaders - 7
  • Blues - 3
  • Bulls - 3
  • Brumbies - 2
  • Chiefs - 2
  • Reds - 1
  • Waratahs - 1
  • Highlanders - 1
  • Hurricanes - 1