Super Rugby

Super Rugby is a professional men's rugby union international club competition involving teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Building on various Southern Hemisphere competitions dating back to the South Pacific Championship in 1986, with teams from a number of southern nations, the Super Rugby started as the Super 12 in the 1996 season with 12 teams from 3 nations: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Super 12 was established by SANZAR after the sport became professional in 1995. With the top players from nations that represent 16 of the 24 top-three finishes in the history of the Rugby World Cup, the competition is widely regarded as rugby union's toughest provincial competition.[1]

Super Rugby
Current season, competition or edition:
2019 Super Rugby season
Super Rugby Logo introduced for 2011
FormerlySuper 12 (1996–2005)
Super 14 (2006–2010)
SportRugby union
Founded1996 (1996)
Inaugural season1996
CEOGreg Peters
New Zealand
South African
No. of teams15
New Zealand
South Africa
Most recent
Crusaders (10th title)
Most titlesCrusaders (10 titles)
TV partner(s)ESPN
Fox Sports
Network Ten
J Sports
Setanta Sports
Sky Sport
Sky Sports
Mitsubishi Estate
Currie Cup
Mitre 10 Cup
National Rugby Championship
Campeonato Argentino
Nacional de Clubes
Top League

The name was changed to Super 14 with the addition of two teams for the 2006 season, and with expansion to 15 teams in the three countries for the 2011 season, the competition was rebranded as Super Rugby (with no number). In 2016 two new teams, the Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan, joined the competition, playing in two newly separated African groups.

In 2018, the competition underwent another change in format, this time dropping two teams (the Cheetahs and Kings) from the South African conference, and one (Western Force) from the Australian conference. This left the competition with 15 teams.

The competition has been dominated by New Zealand teams, who have won 17 times in 24 years. The Crusaders have won most often, with ten titles.

Organisation and format


SANZAAR is the body that administers Super Rugby, and has the Australian, New Zealand, South African and Argentine rugby unions as its sole members. SANZAAR also runs the Rugby Championship tournament that is contested by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa following the conclusion of the Super Rugby tournament; the Tri-Nations preceded the Rugby Championship before Argentina joined the competition. The organisation was formed in 1996 to establish and run the Super 12, and Tri-Nations Tournament.

Competition format

Prior to 2011, Super Rugby was a round-robin competition where each team played with every other team once; a team had six or seven home games, and six or seven away games each. The winner received four competition points; if the game was a draw two points were awarded to each team. The Rugby union bonus points system was also used, where any team scoring four or more tries, and/or losing by seven points or less, receives an extra competition point. In 2016, the try bonus changed. A team now has to score three more tries than their opponents. The top four teams at the end of the round-robin phase then played semi-finals – the first placed team hosting the fourth placed team, and the second placed team hosting the third placed team.[2] The two winners then played the final at the home ground of the top surviving seed.[2] There were 91 regular season games in total.[3] Games were held over 14 weekends with each team receiving one bye.

From 2011 – 2015 the format changed, with each country forming its own conference. Each team within a conference played each of the other teams in its conference twice, once at home and once away. Each team then played four out of the five teams from each of the other conferences once. Competition points were awarded on a similar basis as before. The format of the finals also changed; it involved six teams: the top team in each of the three conferences plus the three next teams with the highest total number of points, regardless of conference. The four lower ranking teams were paired in two sudden death games; the winners of those two games each played one of the two top ranked teams (which received a bye at the start of the finals). Those winners played for the championship.[4]

For the 2016 and 2017 seasons the format changed again, with three more teams joining, one each from Argentina, Japan and South Africa. There were four conferences, with Africa getting two conferences. The finals had eight teams with each conference winner getting a home quarter final. They were joined by four wild card teams, three from the Australasian group and one from the South African group.

From 2018 season the format has changed once more, with two South African teams and an Australian team being dropped. There are three conferences, one of the five New Zealand teams, a South African one to include Argentina's team and an Australasian one including Japan's team.



Before 1996, a number of transnational competitions involving regional and provincial rugby union teams had taken shape in the southern hemisphere. The earliest of these was the South Pacific Championship, which was launched in 1986 and continued until 1990.

Super 6 Champions 1992
Season Champions City/Area
1992 Reds Brisbane

Super 6

After the demise of the South Pacific Championship, with no tournament played in 1991, the competition was relaunched as the Super 6 in 1992. The original Super 6 competition consisted of three provincial teams from New Zealand: Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington; along with two Australian state teams: Queensland and New South Wales; and also the Fiji national team.

Super 10

Super 10 Champions 1993 – 1995
Season Champions City/Area
1993 Transvaal Johannesburg
1994 Reds Brisbane
1995 Reds Brisbane

In 1993, the Super Six competition was revamped and expanded into the Super 10 tournament. With South Africa being readmitted into international sport following the dismantling of apartheid, there was an opportunity to launch an expanded competition which would also feature South Africa's top provincial teams. The inaugural competition featured the following teams: Waikato, Auckland, Otago and North Harbour (New Zealand); Natal, Transvaal and Northern Transvaal (South Africa); Queensland and New South Wales (Australia) and Western Samoa (Pacific Tri-Nations winner). The Super 10 was won by Transvaal (South Africa) in 1993, and by Queensland (Australia) in 1994 and 1995.


Super 12 (1995–2005)

The official declaration of professionalism in rugby union in August 1995 led to a restructuring of the Super 10 competition. Following the success of the 1995 World Cup, the rugby boards of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa formed SANZAR (South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) to administer an annual 12-team provincial/franchise based competition pitting regional teams from the three nations against each other. In addition it was decided to hold an annual Tri-Nations Test Series between the three countries. A significant reason for the development of the Super 12 was the threat to rugby union from rival football code rugby league: part of the business model for the Foxtel pay TV network in Australia was to attract subscribers by offering an exclusive product (such as rugby union) which could not be seen on free-to-air broadcast television. By setting up the Super 12, the Unions had a product that was in demand from viewers, enabling them to sell a 10-year contract for exclusive television rights to News Corp for US$555 million, giving them both coverage and financial support to kickstart the new competition.[5]

With significant sponsorship, and rugby turning a professional sport in August 1995, the Super 12 competition successfully kicked off in 1996 with five New Zealand franchises, four South African provinces and three domestic Australian teams competing. New Zealand's dominance of the competition began in the first year when the Auckland Blues won the inaugural competition defeating South African side the Sharks 45 – 21 in a home final. The Blues would repeat the success of 1996 beating Australian side the ACT Brumbies 23 – 7 in the 1997 final.

The Blues then reached their third successive final in 1998 but went down to fellow countrymen the Canterbury Crusaders 13 – 20. This would mark the beginning of the Crusaders' three-year dominance as they went on to win the 1999 and 2000 finals over the Otago Highlanders and ACT Brumbies respectively. The 2001 season was the first in which no New Zealand franchise reached the final, being contested between the ACT Brumbies and Sharks with the Brumbies convincing winners, with a 36 – 6 scoreline.

The Crusaders won their 4th final in 2002 winning all 11 matches and missed out on their 5th in 2003 with a four-point loss to fellow countrymen the Blues. In 2004 the Brumbies took revenge on their 2000 final loss to the Crusaders defeating them 47 – 38 in front of a home crowd. The Crusaders would bounce back to win the 2005 final 35 – 25 against the Australian side the New South Wales Waratahs who reached their first ever final. This was the last year of the 12 team format.

From the early 2000s Australia had started to push for the inclusion of a fourth Australian team, and South Africa for another team from its country. There was also speculation of including a team from the South Pacific Island nations, such as Fiji; or a combined Pacific Islanders team from Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. Argentina was also pushing for inclusion in the Super 12. In the early 2000s the provincial names from the New Zealand franchises were dropped, so, for example, the Canterbury Crusaders became The Crusaders. Also South Africa followed the New Zealand franchise model, where previously South African participation was decided by the previous year's Currie Cup placings.

Super 14 (2006–2010)

SANZAR announced in December 2004 that a new five-year television deal had been signed that would cover 2006 to 2010, with News Corporation winning the rights for the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and SuperSport winning rights for South Africa. The contract was worth US$323 million over five years, a 16% annual increase compared to the previous deal.[5] It covers international fixtures as well as the Super 14. SANZAR remained free to negotiate separate deals for other markets, such as France, Japan and the Americas.

The TriNations is the "cash cow" for the SANZAR partners as it provides nearly 60 per cent of the money from News Ltd. The Super 14 made up about 30 per cent of the deal. Under the new deal, Australia and South Africa each got one extra team in the competition, and a third round of fixtures was added to the Tri Nations Series. The new Australian team in the competition was based in Perth and was named the Western Force.

The addition of the new South African team led to considerable controversy, including government involvement. Finally, the five teams for 2006 were confirmed to be the country's existing four teams plus the Cheetahs, which draws its players from the Free State and Northern Cape Provinces. For the 2007 season, the Southern Spears, based in Port Elizabeth, were originally intended to replace the lowest-finishing South African team from the 2006 competition. However, the existing South African Super 14 franchises opposed the plan, which was pushed through by controversial president of the South African Rugby Union, Brian van Rooyen. After van Rooyen was ousted as president, SARU announced that the Spears would not enter the competition.[6] SARU investigated the viability of the Spears after discovering serious financial irregularities.[7] A High Court of South Africa ruling stated that the Spears had a valid contract to compete in the Super 14 and Currie Cup. However, because of the organisation's financial and administrative troubles, in November 2006 a settlement was reached. The Spears abandoned their legal case, and will continue to exist, but not compete in the Super 14.[8]

SANZAR rejected a proposal to split the Super 14 into two seven-team divisions, and decided to keep the competition in its traditional single-table format. Argentina and the Pacific Islands remained shut out of the competition.

The two new teams didn't perform all that well, the South African franchise the Cheetahs did the better of the two teams finishing 10th on the ladder notching up 5 season wins. The Australian franchise the Western Force only managed one victory and ended winning the wooden spoon as last placed 14th. The highlight for the Force was a 23-all draw against eventual champions the Crusaders, who defeated first-time finalists the Hurricanes 19–12.

During the 2007 season, 22 All Blacks missed the competition's first seven rounds as part of an All Black "conditioning programme" that was a part of the All Blacks' 2007 Rugby World Cup preparations, and every New Zealand franchise was without players for the first seven rounds.[9][10][11] At the end of the regular season, for the first time since 1998, no Australian franchise had made the semi-finals. Although the Brumbies were strong and the Western Force experienced vast improvement, it was a poor season for the Queensland Reds and Waratahs who finished last and second last respectively. Also, the competition featured the first all-South African final as the Sharks and Bulls, who finished 1–2 on the season ladder, both won their respective semi-finals. The final, held in Durban, saw the visiting Bulls win 20–19.

During the time the competition was branded as the Super 14, only two teams won the tournament. The Crusaders winning the 2006 and 2008 tournaments; while the Bulls ended victorious in 2007, 2009, and 2010 respectively.

Super Rugby: 15 teams (2011–2015)

SANZAR unveiled in 2009 its model for an expanded season that would begin in 2011. This model was based around the original ARU proposal for three national conferences: each side were to have played the other four teams from their own country twice and the other ten teams once each; the season has to end with a six team finals series.

There were four major compromises, however, designed to accommodate certain wishes of each country, that somewhat complicated the model:

  • Each team would only play four, instead of all five, teams in each of the other two national conferences, making sixteen regular season games for each team instead of eighteen, and allowing for a late February start, somewhat placating the ARU and NZRU who wanted a March start.
  • There would be a three-week gap for the June test (international) matches favoured by the SARU.
  • The season would finish in early August so as not to overlap new streamlined versions of New Zealand's and South Africa's domestic competitions.
  • The three conference winners and the three best performers of the remaining teams would qualify for a three-week finals series, with seedings deciding the match-ups. This system is a hybrid of the conference-based qualification system favoured by the SARU and the 'top six' model favoured by the ARU and NZRU.

SANZAR announced in 2009 the addition of a fifth Australian team that would play in the expanded "Super Rugby" competition in 2011. The licence was awarded to Victoria, Australia, and the team's name announced as the Melbourne Rebels. The Australian start-up franchise was given the nod ahead of South Africa's Southern Kings.[12] Brian Waldron, former CEO of the NRL club the Melbourne Storm, was confirmed as the new CEO of the Rebels on 11 January 2010, but resigned on 23 April after a salary cap breach was uncovered at the Storm.[13]


Expansion: 18 teams (2016–2017)

In February 2012, SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters announced that the organisation was considering adding franchises in Argentina, Japan and the United States in 2016, the first year of SANZAR's next television contract. This was also the year that rugby sevens entered the Olympics, which contributed towards increased interest in the sport in many countries, including Japan and the US.[14]

Australian sports broadcasting analyst Colin Smith noted that the addition of Japanese and American teams could result in a TV deal worth more than A$1 billion beyond 2020. Specifically, he stated, "You could have a deal comparable to the other major sports in Australia. Rugby is a college (university) sport in the US, if soccer can create its own league there and sell teams for $40 million, imagine what you could do in 10–12 years with rugby in that market."[14] By comparison, the largest TV deal in Australian sport, that of the Australian Football League (Australian rules), is worth A$1.26 billion from 2012 to 2016. Even that figure was dwarfed by the TV contracts of the NFL, for which contracts at the time were worth more than US$4 billion annually.[15]

Peters added that the conference-based structure was ideal for expanding the competition to new territories, either by adding new conferences or by adding teams to the current conferences. He also discussed the possibility that offshore Super Rugby teams could be a home for surplus players from the SANZAR countries, keeping them in the SANZAR fold and away from European clubs.[16]

Prior to Super Rugby's broadcast contracts expiring after the 2015 season, SANZAR considered several alternatives for the competition's future organisation: [17]

  • Retention of the conference system that was in place for 2011–15.
  • Expansion of the structure to include teams from Asia, the United States and/or Canada.[18]
  • A split of the competition, with South Africa forming one competition with the likely addition of at least one Argentine side, and Australia and New Zealand forming another, with the possibility of including Asian teams.

The last proposal, made by the SARU, was reportedly driven by internal union politics. With only five guaranteed places in Super Rugby but six active franchises, the bottom team in the South African Conference faced a promotion/relegation playoff with the sixth franchise for a place in the next season's competition. Australia and New Zealand warmed to the SARU proposal, as a trans-Tasman competition would potentially allow for more regional derbies, fewer time zone complications and less player travel.[17] However, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew indicated that a competition that did not include South African teams was a commercial non-starter because of large broadcast revenues from that country and because the NZRU considered Super Rugby matches in South Africa to be critical for national team development.[18]

SANZAR announced on 4 September 2013 that South Africa would be granted a sixth franchise starting in the 2016 season, negating the need for relegation play-offs involving the sixth South African franchise.[19] SANZAR then announced on 20 November 2014 that Japan and Argentina would each be allocated a team from the 2016 season onwards.[20]

Contraction: 15 teams (2018–)

In April 2017, SANZAAR confirmed the competition would reduce to 15 teams in 2018 with two South African and one Australian team to have their franchises withdrawn.[21] South Africa would field only the following 4 teams: the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers, with the Cheetahs and Kings losing their spots. Both the Cheetahs and Kings were offered places to join the Pro 12, which became the Pro14 from the 2017/2018 season onwards.[22] On 11 August 2017, Australia announced that the Western Force have lost their licence.[23] On March 21, 2019 SANZAAR confirmed that 2020 will be the Sunwolves last season of competition in Super Rugby.

Current franchises

Argentina Australia Japan
Location of Super Rugby teams in Argentina
Location of Super Rugby teams in Australia
Location of Super Rugby teams in Japan
New Zealand South Africa
Location of Super Rugby teams in New Zealand
Location of Super Rugby teams in South Africa
Conference Club City Stadium Capacity First season
 Australia Brumbies Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Canberra Stadium 25,011 1996 (Super 12)
Rebels Melbourne, Victoria AAMI Park 30,050 2011
Reds Brisbane, Queensland Suncorp Stadium 52,500 1996 (Super 12)
Sunwolves Tokyo Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium 27,188 2016
Waratahs Sydney, New South Wales Sydney Cricket Ground 44,000 1996 (Super 12)
 New Zealand Blues Auckland, Auckland Region Eden Park 50,000 1996 (Super 12)
Chiefs Hamilton, Waikato FMG Stadium Waikato 25,800 1996 (Super 12)
Crusaders Christchurch, Canterbury Rugby League Park 18,600 1996 (Super 12)
Highlanders Dunedin, Otago Forsyth Barr Stadium 30,748 1996 (Super 12)
Hurricanes Wellington, Wellington Region Westpac Stadium 34,500 1996 (Super 12)
 South Africa Bulls Pretoria, Gauteng Loftus Versfeld Stadium 51,762 1996 (Super 12)
Jaguares Buenos Aires Estadio José Amalfitani 49,540 2016
Lions Johannesburg, Gauteng Emirates Airline Park 62,567 1996 (Super 12)
Sharks Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Kings Park Stadium 52,000 1996 (Super 12)
Stormers Cape Town, Western Cape Newlands Stadium 51,900 1996 (Super 12)


Year No. of Teams Final Losing semi-finalists
Winners Score Runners-up 1st losing semi-finalists 2nd losing semi-finalists
1996 12 Blues 45–21 Sharks Reds Bulls
1997 12 Blues 23–7 Brumbies Hurricanes Sharks
1998 12 Crusaders 20–13 Blues Sharks Highlanders
1999 12 Crusaders 24–19 Highlanders Reds Stormers
2000 12 Crusaders 20–19 Brumbies Highlanders Cats
2001 12 Brumbies 36–6 Sharks Cats Reds
2002 12 Crusaders 31–13 Brumbies Waratahs Highlanders
2003 12 Blues 21–17 Crusaders Hurricanes Brumbies
2004 12 Brumbies 47–38 Crusaders Stormers Chiefs
2005 12 Crusaders 35–25 Waratahs Bulls Hurricanes
2006 14 Crusaders 19–12 Hurricanes Waratahs Bulls
2007 14 Bulls 20–19 Sharks Crusaders Blues
2008 14 Crusaders 20–12 Waratahs Sharks Hurricanes
2009 14 Bulls 61–17 Chiefs Hurricanes Crusaders
2010 14 Bulls 25–17 Stormers Crusaders Waratahs
2011 15 Reds 18–13 Crusaders Blues Stormers
2012 15 Chiefs 37–6 Sharks Crusaders Stormers
2013 15 Chiefs 27–22 Brumbies Crusaders Bulls
2014 15 Waratahs 33–32 Crusaders Sharks Brumbies
2015 15 Highlanders 21–14 Hurricanes Waratahs Brumbies
2016 18 Hurricanes 20–3 Lions Chiefs Highlanders
2017 18 Crusaders 25–17 Lions Chiefs Hurricanes
2018 15 Crusaders 37–18 Lions Hurricanes Waratahs
2019 15 Crusaders 19–3 Jaguares Brumbies Hurricanes

Final appearances, victories by country

In the sortable table below, teams are ordered first by number of appearances, then by number of wins, and finally by season of first appearance. In the "Season(s)" column, bold years indicate winning seasons, and italic years indicate games not yet completed.

Apps Team Wins Losses Winning
14 Crusaders 104.714 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
6 Brumbies 24.333 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2013
4 Blues 31.750 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003
4 Sharks 04.000 1996, 2001, 2007, 2012
3 Bulls 301.000 2007, 2009, 2010
3 Chiefs 21.667 2009, 2012, 2013
3 Waratahs 12.333 2005, 2008, 2014
3 Hurricanes 12.333 2006, 2015, 2016
3 Lions 03.000 2016, 2017, 2018
2 Highlanders 11.500 1999, 2015
1 Reds 101.000 2011
1 Stormers 01.000 2010
1 Jaguares 01.000 2019

Team Apps Wins Losses Winning
 New Zealand 26 17 9 .640
 South Africa 11 3 8 .272
 Australia 10 4 6 .400
 Argentina 1 0 1 .000

Semi-final appearances by team

  • 17 Crusaders (12 wins, 5 losses)
  • 9 Brumbies (6 wins, 3 losses)
  • 9 Hurricanes (3 wins, 6 losses)
  • 8 Sharks (4 wins, 4 losses)
  • 7 Bulls (3 wins, 4 losses)
  • 7 Waratahs (3 wins, 4 losses)
  • 6 Blues (4 wins, 2 losses)
  • 6 Chiefs (3 wins, 3 losses)
  • 6 Highlanders (2 wins, 4 losses)
  • 4 Lions (3 wins, 1 losses)
  • 4 Reds (1 win, 3 losses)
  • 4 Stormers (1 win, 3 losses)
  • 1 Jaguares (1 win)

Conference winners by team

Since 2011, teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have played in 3 separate conferences. With teams playing each team in their own conference twice (home and away) and in the other conferences playing four of the five teams. The winner of each conference is awarded a home final and their region specific conference trophy. In 2018, Japan's Sunwolves was added to the Australia Conference whereas Argentina's Jaguares was added to the Africa Conference.

YearAustraliaNew ZealandSouth Africa
2011 RedsCrusadersStormers
2012 RedsChiefsStormers
2013 BrumbiesChiefsBulls
2014 WaratahsCrusadersSharks
2015 WaratahsHurricanesStormers
2018 WaratahsCrusadersLions
2019 BrumbiesCrusadersJaguares

Salary cap

The four Australian teams playing in the competition are subjected to a $5.5 million salary cap for a squad of up to 40 players per Australian team.[24][25][26] The Australian Rugby Union decided in 2011 to introduce the salary cap because of financial pressures.[27] Originally starting in 2012 as a cap of A$4.1 million, it was later was raised to $4.5 million for the 2013 and 2014 seasons to take pressure off the teams' ability to recruit and retain players.[28] The salary cap is a key component of the negotiation between the ARU and the Rugby Union Players Association over the collective bargaining agreement.[29] The fact that the Australian teams in Super Rugby face a salary cap has been attributed as a factor that makes it more difficult for Australian teams to win the title.[30]

The cap regulations have some small concessions:[31]

  • Five players on each team may be paid $30,000 each per season by team sponsors; this amount is not included in the team cap.
  • The maximum cap charge for a non-Australian player is $137,000, regardless of his actual wages.

New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina are also subjected to salary caps. Only two teams in history have lost points because of salary cap breaches.

In January 2002, the Blues were fined $500,000 and were stripped 8 competition points for salary cap breaches from 2000 and 2001. They were forced to start the year with -8 competition points. This caused them to miss out on the 2002 Super Rugby finals.

In April 2009, the Cheetahs were fined R10,000,000 for salary cap breaches from 2006-2008. As a punishment they were stripped all of their competition points that they already earned throughout 2009 and they ended winning the wooden spoon because of their salary cap breaches.

Brand and image


There have been several iterations of the trophy awarded to the winner of the Super Rugby competitions.

The Super 14 trophy, unveiled in New Zealand ahead of the 2006 season, was made of sterling silver with the competition logo on a globe sitting atop of a four-sided twisted spiral.[32] Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith in Nelson, New Zealand hand-made the trophy which took over two months to complete.[32]

On 30 June 2011, SANZAR unveiled the new trophy that will be presented to the winners of the Super Rugby final from 2011 and beyond,[33] was crafted from solid stainless steel and polished to a mirror finish. It has a height of 65 cm and a mass of 18 kilograms.[33] The trophy was designed by Blue Sky Design of Sydney. The trophy was manufactured by Box and Dice Pty Ltd also based in Sydney.[33]

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said "The shape of the trophy is centred around three curved legs, each representing the Conferences involved in the Super Rugby competition . . . The champions trophy is the 'big one', and will become the ultimate symbol of Super Rugby supremacy in the years to come."[33]

The colour on each leg corresponds to the Conferences with gold for Australia, black for New Zealand, and green for South Africa.[33]

There are several other trophies contested during the competition; the Charles Anderson VC Memorial Cup between the Brumbies and Stormers, the Bob Templeton Cup between the Reds and Waratahs, the Ganbattle Trophy between Sunwolves and Rebels and the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy between the Blues and Highlanders. Every year the Super Rugby player of the year is awarded.

During the last season of the Super 12, Coast Design of Sydney was commissioned to design a new logo for the Super 14.[34] The Super 14 logo broke away from the traditional shield formats, common to many sporting codes, and used Roman numerals (XIV), which is unique for sport in the region.[35] The game's dynamism and speed are suggested by the orbiting football which has three distinct stitches, a subtle reference to the three countries of the tournament.[35]

The Super Rugby logo dispenses with numbers, featuring a large blue "S" with a white rugby ball in the centre and "SupeRugbY" below the "S". The three stitches of the previous ball are retained.

Before the expansion to the Super 14, the Super 12 used a logo in the shape of a shield, which had the sponsors name at the top, and then the words "Rugby" and "Super 12". The lower half of the logo used three different coloured stripes, green, black and gold, the respective colours of the national teams of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.[36]

Naming rights

The naming rights for the competition are different in the five countries:

  • In New Zealand, Investec Bank has naming rights starting with the 2011 season, and the competition is referred to as Investec Super Rugby. During the Super 14 era, sporting goods retailer Rebel Sport had naming rights and the Super 14 competition was referred to as the Rebel Sport Super 14. Previously the naming rights holders were U-Bix and then Telecom New Zealand (TNZ). Telecom used its ISP brand Xtra as the label in their last year of holding naming rights.
  • In Australia, telecommunications company Vodafone has been the title sponsor of Super Rugby since 2017[37] As a result, the competition is officially referred to as Vodafone Super Rugby. Prior to this, Super Rugby in Australia was sponsored by Suncorp Group through their life insurance brand Asteron Life. Vodafone were also the title sponsor of the competition during the Super 12 era. In the first season of Super Rugby, Australia had no naming rights partner. Previous to that, Investec acquired naming rights in the middle of the Super 14 era from Lion Nathan, who had named the competition the Tooheys New Super 14, after its Tooheys New beer brand.
  • In South Africa, telecommunications carrier Vodacom has naming rights, and the expanded competition is referred to as Vodacom Super Rugby. Before 1999, when cigarette advertising was banned in South Africa, the competition was sponsored by Winfield.
  • In Argentina, telecommunications carrier Personal has naming rights, and the expanded competition is referred to as Personal Super Rugby.
  • In Japan, real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate acquired naming rights in 2018, the competition referred to as Mitsubishi Estate Super Rugby.[38] The competition had no title sponsor in Japan during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Competition records

Team records

Single match

  • Highest score: 96 points – Crusaders defeated Waratahs 96–19, 2002
  • Lowest score: 0 points – Reds defeated Hurricanes 11–0, 1999; Brumbies defeated Bulls 15–0, 1999; Sharks defeated Bulls 29–0, 1999; Brumbies defeated Cats 64–0, 2000; Highlanders defeated Bulls 23–0, 2005; Blues defeated Brumbies 17–0, 2006; Brumbies defeated Reds 36–0, 2007; Crusaders defeated Western Force 53–0, 2008; Crusaders defeated Stormers 22–0, 2009; Highlanders defeated Crusaders 6–0, 2009; Stormers defeated Highlanders 33–0, 2011; Waratahs defeated Rebels 43–0, 2011; Crusaders defeated Bulls 27–0, 2011; Brumbies defeated Reds 29–0, 2015; Sharks defeated Kings 53-0, 2016; Hurricanes defeated Sharks 41-0, 2016; Crusaders defeated Highlanders 17-0, 2017; Lions defeated Waratahs 29-0, 2018; Highlanders defeated Sunwolves 52-0, 2019; Brumbies defeated Sunwolves 33-0, 2019; Crusaders defeated Rebels 66-0, 2019
  • Highest combined score: 137 points – Chiefs defeated Lions 72–65, 2010
  • Lowest combined score: 6 points – Highlanders defeated Crusaders 6–0, 2009
  • Highest winning margin: 89 points – Bulls defeated Reds 92–3, 2007
  • Highest score away: 83 points – Hurricanes defeated Sunwolves 83-17, 2017
  • Most tries in a match by one team: 14 by Crusaders (v Waratahs), 2002; 14 by Lions (v Sunwolves), 2017
  • Most tries in a match by both teams: 18 by Lions and Chiefs, 2010

Season or streak

  • Most consecutive wins: 16 wins – Crusaders, 2018/19
  • Most consecutive losses in a season: 13 losses – Lions, 2010
  • Most consecutive losses: 17 losses – Lions, 15 May 2009 to 12 March 2011
  • Most tries in a season: 97 tries – Hurricanes, 2017
  • Fewest tries in a season: 13 tries – Lions, 2007
  • Most wins in the regular season: 14 wins – Stormers (2012); Hurricanes (2015); Crusaders (2017); Lions (2017)
  • Most wins in a full season: 17 wins – Crusaders (2017)
  • Fewest wins in a season: 0 wins – Bulls, 2002, Lions, 2010 regular season
  • Fewest losses in a season: 0 losses – Blues, 1997; Crusaders, 2002
  • Most wins in a row at home: 26 wins – Crusaders 2004–2006
  • Most points conceded in a season: 684 – Kings, 2016
  • Largest points difference conceded in a season: 402 – Kings, 2016

Player records




Domestic competitions

Each respective country competing in Super Rugby has a number of their own domestic leagues, which feed into Super Rugby teams.

South Africa actually used their Currie Cup teams as opposed to creating new teams during the earlier years of the Super 12. However, the Currie Cup is now the third tier of rugby in South Africa, below Test and Super Rugby; it is played after the Super Rugby season, and all unions are aligned to a Super Rugby team, though it is mainly the big six, Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Sharks, Free State Cheetahs, Western Province and Eastern Province Elephants which contribute the most to the Super Rugby sides.

In New Zealand, the Mitre 10 Cup is the most prominent domestic competition below the Super Rugby, in which all the respective Unions are also aligned with Super Rugby sides.

In Australia, the National Rugby Championship (NRC) was launched in 2014. Several teams that played in the former Australian Rugby Championship in 2007,[39] were revived for the NRC.

Argentina, like South Africa and New Zealand, has a national championship where several provincial unions compete, the Campeonato Argentino. Another national championship, but for clubs, is Nacional de Clubes.

Japan has a national club competition called Top League.


In Australia, pay TV station Fox Sports shows every match live and beginning in 2016, free-to-air station Network Ten started showing a full match replay every Sunday morning of the 'Match of the Round' featuring at least one Australian team. Network Ten will also show full match replays of all finals matches featuring Australian teams.

Super Rugby is broadcast on Supersport in South Africa and is simulcast terrestrially on M-Net. Sky Sport is the official broadcaster in New Zealand. Super Rugby is now broadcast in over 40 countries — in the UK on Sky Sports; in Spain it is broadcast by Digital+, and in the United States by ESPN3, which has confirmed all matches will be broadcast live or on demand. In Canada, TSN broadcasts all matches only on TSN GO, their online SD streaming platform.


Broadcaster Country(ies)
SuperSport  South Africa
Movistar  Spain
Fox Sports Australia  Australia
Sky Sport  New Zealand
ESPN  Argentina
ESPN 3  United States
TSN  Canada
J Sports  Japan
Setanta Sports Asia Asia Pacific
OSN  Bahrain
 Saudi Arabia
 United Arab Emirates
Sky Italia  Italy
  Vatican City
 San Marino
Canton of Ticino
Sky UK  United Kingdom
Canal+  France

See also


  1. Elliott, Tim. "Israel Folau: the game plan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  2. "Super 12: The History". 24 May 2001. Retrieved 16 April 2007.
  3. "2007 Super 14 Fixtures". Retrieved 16 April 2007.
  4. Sports Digital Media – "Super XV Rugby Format | Super Rugby News, Results and Fixtures from Super XV Rugby". Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  5. "More for players in new SANZAR deal". Retrieved 17 July 2006.
  6. "Spears kom straks met regsaksie". Die Burger (in Afrikaans). 20 April 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  7. "Spears se baas wil vir oulaas pleit". Die Burger (in Afrikaans). 27 March 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  8. "Spears abandon their Super conquest". Planet Rugby. 16 November 2006. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
  9. "All Blacks pulled out of the Super 14". 20 August 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  10. "Henry reveals his 'World Cup team'". 11 September 2006. Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  11. Leggat, David (22 September 2006). "Getting the balance in Super 14". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2006.
  12. Walton, Darren (12 November 2009). "Melbourne granted Super licence | Super Rugby". Fox Sports. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. Rakic, Josh (23 April 2010). "Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  14. Pandaram, Jamie (11 February 2012). "Super Rugby going global". Sydney Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  15. Mortimer, James (11 February 2012). ""Absolute Possibilities" for SANZAR Expansion Says Peters". SANZAR. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  16. Johnstone, Duncan (19 February 2012). "Time may be right for Sanzar to expand Super Rugby". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  17. Robinson, Georgina (27 July 2013). "SANZAR considering splitting Super Rugby in 2016". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  18. "Super Rugby to consider expansion". ESPN Scrum. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  19. Adno, Carly (4 September 2013). "SANZAR boss Greg Peters confirms South Africa will get a sixth Super Rugby franchise from 2016". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  20. "Japan and Argentina officially join Super Rugby". SANZAR. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  21. Australian Rugby Union to axe Western Force or Melbourne within three days Nine's Wide World of Sports 10 April 2017
  22. "Pro14 rugby: Who are the Cheetahs and Southern Kings?". BBC Sport. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  23. Union, Australian Rugby. "ARU TO DISCONTINUE WESTERN FORCE SUPER RUGBY LICENCE". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  24. Newman, Beth. "2018 a year of flux before salary cap kicks in". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  25. "Australia's Super Rugby players get pay rise". Sport 24. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  26. Intili, Daniela. "Australian rugby announces improved pay deal, women's sevens among the winners". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  27. Brisbane Times, Big paycuts on cards as ARU seeks salary cap, 12 March 2011,
  28. Sydney Morning Herald, Tip of the cap nudges Pocock, 3 June 2012,
  29. Fox Sports, Uncertainty over Super Rugby salary cap could yet derail Will Genia's deal with Queensland Reds, 2 May 2012,
  30. Australian Times, Salary cap makes Super Rugby harder in Australia, 15 February 2012, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. Payten, Iain (30 March 2011). "Australian Super 15 clubs will soon enter into new salary cap era". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  32. "Media Release". 8 February 2006. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  33. "Sport 24". Sport 24. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  34. "Super 14". Archived from the original on 8 December 2006. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  35. "SANZAR launches Super 14 logo". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 2005. Archived from the original on 21 March 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
  36. "1999 Super 12". Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  37. "Vodafone return as naming rights partner of Super Rugby". Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  39. "Mazda Australian Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 3 June 2007.


  • Gifford, Phil (2004). The Passion – The Stories Behind 125 years of Canterbury Rugby. Wilson Scott Publishing. ISBN 0-9582535-1-X.
  • Howitt, Bob (2005). SANZAR Saga – Ten Years of Super 12 and Tri-Nations Rugby. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 1-86950-566-2.
  • McIlraith, Matt (2005). Ten Years of Super 12. Hodder Moa. ISBN 1-86971-025-8.
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