What do you get if you combine the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan?
You get Super Rugby.
Super Rugby is the southern hemisphere equivalent of the Champions Cup in Europe and is regarded as the toughest competition in rugby union.
Super Rugby started in 1996 and replaced the South Pacific Championship which was run since 1986. It’s name was changed to Super 14 with the addition of two teams for the 2006 season. It was then rebranded as Super Rugby (with no number) with the expansion to 15 teams in 2011. In 2016 two new teams, the Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan, joined the competition. The Sunwolves left the competition in 2019 for financial reasons.
The Super Rugby series runs from February to July every year (apart from 2020, due to the Corona Virus pandemic). Every year the top teams from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa face off, building up to an early July final.
It’s a thrilling one-of-a-kind tournament that brings together some of rugby’s greatest talents for a showdown unlike any other!
The current 15 teams in Super Rugby are:
The most successful teams:
1. The Crusaders
The Crusaders are the most successful rugby club in New Zealand and by far the most successful Super Rugby team.
In July 2019, they became the only team in the South to have won the Super Rugby 3 Consecutive times. Formed in 1996 they have now made a total of 14 Super Rugby Finals and won 10 of them.
The Canterbury Crusaders were founded in 1996. In 2016 their name was changed to BNZ Crusaders due to sponsorship. They are based in Christchurch New Zealand. Since 1996 the Crusaders have been one of the most consistent teams in Super Rugby and New Zealand Rugby as a whole. They are known for producing world class players who often go on to become All Blacks and win World Cups.
The Brumbies are the best rugby team in Australia, and they’re also the only Australian team based in Canberra. They were formed in 1996 to provide a third Australian franchise for the newly formed Super 12. The Brumbies have made 6 Super Rugby finals between 1997 and 2013, winning the competition twice in 2001 and 2004.
3. The Blues
The Blues are a New Zealand Super Rugby team based out of Auckland. They were established by the NZRU in 1996, and dominated from the start: the team won the competition in 1996 and 1997, then again in 2003. They were finalists in 1998 and semi-finalists in 2007 and 2011.
4. The Bulls
The Bulls are a South African team that plays in the Super Rugby series. They have a long history of winning the tournament, coming out on top three times in 2007, 2009 and 2010. They are based in Pretoria, which is one of the three capital cities of South Africa and has a population of about 763,000 people.
The Gallagher Chiefs, formerly the Waikato Chiefs, have been one of New Zealand’s premier rugby teams for years. They picked up their first Super 12 championship in 2012 and followed it up with a second in 2013. In 2009 they reached the final but lost.
When they redesigned their logo, they wanted to move away from the traditional depiction of a native New Zealander and instead focus on two themes: their home region of Waikato and the team name, Chiefs.
The symbol of Waikato is a fern leaf, which you can see in this logo. The fern leaf is often used by New Zealand sports teams to show their connection to the country. And what better way to show that you’re a ‘Chief’ than to wear a crown?
The Hurricanes made it to the Super Rugby final three times, but only managed to win once – in 2016.
They have also won their conference (the New Zealand Conference) a total of seven times, though they haven’t won it since 2019.
The New South Wales Waratahs are one of 4 Australian rugby union teams, and were the 2014 champions, having won their first title in the Super Rugby championship on August 2nd. They have been a part of the tournament since its inception in 1996, and have appeared in the finals 3 times (2004, 2008, and 2014). Although they have not been champions since 2014, they continue to be an important team in the sport of rugby union.
8. The Highlanders
The Highlanders are a professional New Zealand rugby union team based in Dunedin that compete in the Super Rugby competition. They were formed in 1996 and are one of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams. The Highlanders play most of their home games at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. The team represents the North Otago, Otago and Southland unions.
The Highlanders’ best result was winning the Super Rugby competition in 2015, after beating the Hurricanes 21–14 in the final.
Now known as the Cell C Sharks for sponsorship reasons, they are one of the most followed rugby clubs on social media. The Sharks play in the Super Rugby League but have never won any of the Super Rugby competitions but they are still one of the top teams, reaching the final four times, in 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2012.
The Sharks have a long and varied history, with many names and sponsors over the years. The team was founded in 1890 and has been playing in the Super Rugby league since 1996. The Cell C Sharks play at Kings Park Stadium in Durban and have a core fan base made up of South Africans who grew up playing and watching rugby at every opportunity.
The Lions are a South African rugby union team that competes in the Super Rugby competition. Based in Johannesburg, they were previously known as the Cats between the 1998 and 2006 seasons. They had varied results in the competition, finishing at the bottom of the table six times, but reaching the semifinal stage five times. They reached their first final in 2016 and following it up in 2017 and 2018, they still haven’t one the competition but their form of late suggests a Super Rugby title is within reach.