In 1986 NSW and Queensland played against Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington from New Zealand, as well as a composite Fiji side.
For five years the tournament was played, a South Pacific Championship or Super Six, which led to ‘expansion’ when South Africa re-entered the rugby world and it was reborn into the Super 10 in 1993, where it ran until 1995, prior to the game becoming professional.
In 1996 as SANZAR was formed, the Super 12 was created, a professional competition and the first official ‘international domestic’ tournament featuring the strongest teams – which would become franchises – across New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Five franchises were created in New Zealand, merging the 26 domestic unions. The Kiwi sides are representative of their 'catchment areas' (the collection of unions that make up the franchise). The three Australian teams were the traditional rugby states of New South Wales and Queensland and a new team from the ACT called the Brumbies. For the first three years of the competition, South Africa determined its sides via qualification in the Currie Cup, with the four semi-finalists from the previous season taking part, before they loosely followed the Kiwi model and created franchises from combined Currie Cup unions.
In 2006 Super 14 came into fruition, with the Western Force and Cheetahs joining the fold, naturally extending the round-robin regular season competition, while the Super Rugby Final’s Series format of the top four playing semi-finals continued.
The competition now
Effective in 2011, Super Rugby expanded to 15 teams – with the Melbourne Rebels the new franchise - and split into three conferences, each with five teams and based in one of the three nations.
At the same time, the regular season expands to 16 matches (8 home, 8 away). Each team will play a double round-robin within its home conference, and play single matches against four teams from each of the other conferences.
The change from the inaugural Super Rugby season last year is that the World Cup prevented what is now a formal break of the competition - three weeks off in June for the mid-year Tests.
The Super Rugby Final’s Series will expand to six teams, with the conference winners joined by the three non-winners with the most competition points without regard to conference affiliation. The two conference winners with the most competition points receive a first-round bye.
In 2011 the Reds became the first Australian team outside the Brumbies to win a title, winning Super Rugby with a victory over the Crusaders in what was dubbed the battle of the hardship teams - with Queensland hit by floods and Christchurch rocked by a earthquake which disrupted both team's season.
The following year the Chiefs claimed the crown with a win over the Sharks in Waikato, the third New Zealand Conference team to win Super Rugby.
Each team will play a total of 16 regular season matches, eight home and eight away. Each team will play all four of the other teams in their conference twice, both home and away, and play against four of the five teams in each of the other two conferences
- Internal Conference Matches - a team will play each of the four other teams in its conference on two occasions meaning a total of eight Internal Conference Matches. With one match against each team played at a home venue and one match played at an away venue this will result in four home matches and four away matches;
- Cross Conference Matches - a team will play four of the five teams from each of the other conferences on one occasion meaning a total of eight Cross Conference Matches. In playing the four teams from each of the other conferences, two of those matches will be played at a home venue and two matches will be played at away venues for a total of four home and four away.
During the Regular Season, each team will play a total of 16 matches and will have two byes.
After the completion of the Regular Season, a three-week Super Rugby Finals Series will take place involving the three Conference winners and the three best-placed 'wildcards', irrespective of the Conference in which they are based.
The teams ranked 1 and 2 have a bye during the first week of the Finals series with the teams ranked 3 to 6 taking part in Qualifiers to secure a place in the Semi-Finals. Teams 1 and 2 will host home semi-finals against the two qualifier winners.
With the Conference winners ensured of home advantage, at least one Finals Series match will be played in each country each year.
The Super Rugby finals is an expanded format that will feature six teams rather than previous four-team format used in Super 14.
The six teams will comprise the Conference winners and the next three teams (referred to as "Wildcard" Teams) with the highest total number of points, regardless of the Conference they are from.
With each Conference winner qualifying Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will each be guaranteed at least one team participating in the finals.
|Week||Round||Match||Home Team||Away Team|
|1||Qualifier||A||Rank 4||Rank 5|
|1||Qualifier||B||Rank 3||Rank 6|
|2||Semi-final||C||Rank 2||Winner of match A or B
with highest play-off ranking
|2||Semi-final||D||Rank 1||Other winner from match A or B|
|3||Final||E||Winner of match C or D
with highest play-off ranking
|Other winner from match C or D|
Determining Winners of Playoff Matches - if the teams are tied at fulltime in any Playoff Match then the following will apply until a winner is found:
Extra Time - the procedure will be:
- After a five minute rest period, the extra time is played in two 10 minute periods with a two minute halftime;
- Before the extra time begins, the match referee will do a coin toss with the two captains one minute before the new kick-off. The winner of the coin toss decides if his team wants to kick-off or if his team wants to choose the side of the pitch it wants to play on for the first 10 minute period;
- For the second 10 minute period, the teams change sides and the team that did not kick off in the first period does so;
- Coaches are not permitted on the field during the rest period or halftime.
Sudden Death - if the match is still drawn at the end of extra time, the procedure will be:
- An up to 10 minute sudden death period is played after another five minute rest period;
- The first team to score (by a penalty, drop-goal or try) will be the winner;
- As for extra time, one minute before sudden death begins, the match referee will do a coin toss to choose which team kicks-off and on which side of the pitch.
Super Rugby at a glance
- 125 matches will be played during the Regular Season
- 40 Regular Season matches will be played in each country
- There will be 20 Regular Season 'local derbies' in each country
- 50% of all Regular Season matches will be 'local derbies'
- Each team will play 12 of its 16 Regular Season games within its own country - with only four matches overseas
Roll of Honour
All time Super Rugby records
Most points (team) - 96, Crusaders v Waratahs (2002)
Greatest aggregate - 137, Lions (65) v Chiefs (72) (2010)
Lowest aggregate - 6, Highlanders (6) v (0) Crusaders (2009)
Largest winning margin - 89, Bulls (92) v Reds (3) (2007)
Most Penalty Goals - 9, Hurricanes (2010)
Most tries (one team) - 14, Crusaders v Waratahs (2002)
Most tries (both teams combined) - 18, Lions v Chiefs (2010)
Most points in a match - 50, Gavin Lawless, Sharks v Highlanders (1997)
Most penalties in a match - 8, Jannie Kruger, Willie Walker, Meyer Bosman, Derick Hougaard
Most conversions in a match - 13, Andrew Mehrtens, Crusaders v Waratahs (2002)
Most dropped goals in a match - 4, Morné Steyn, Bulls v Crusaders (2009)
Most tries in a match - 4, Joe Roff, Brumbies (1996) Gavin Lawless, Sharks (1996) Stefan Terblanche, Sharks (1998) Joeli Vidiri, Blues (2000) Doug Howlett, Blues (2002) Malili Muliaina, Blues (2002) Caleb Ralph, Crusaders (2002) Sitiveni Sivivatu, Chiefs (2009)
Season Records: Team
Most points for - 541, Crusaders (2005)
Most points against - 585, Lions (2010)
Least points for - 175, Lions (2007)
Least points against - 171, Stormers (2010)
Best points difference - 229, Crusaders (2006)
Worst points difference - -315, Lions (2010)
Most competition points - 52, Crusaders (2008)
Most tries - 70, Auckland Blues (1996) Crusaders (2005)
Most wins - Super 12: 11, Crusaders (2002) / Super 14: 13, Crusaders (2006)
Most defeats - Super 12: 11, Bulls (2002) / Super 14: 13, Lions (2010)
Season Records: Individual
Most points - 263, Morné Steyn, Bulls (2010)
Most tries - 15, Joe Roff (1997) Rico Gear (2005)
Most conversions - 51, Stirling Mortlock, Brumbies (2004)
Most penalty goals - 51, Morné Steyn, Bulls (2010)
Most dropped goals - 11, Morné Steyn (2009)
157 Nathan Sharpe, Western Force (2006–2012: 87); Reds (1998-2005: 70)
141 Keven Mealamu, Blues (2001-2012: 130); Chiefs (2000: 11)
139 Stirling Mortlock, Rebels (2011–2012; 16); ; Brumbies (1998–2010: 123)
136 George Gregan, Brumbies (1996–2007)
136 Caleb Ralph, Reds (2011: 1); Crusaders (1999-2008: 126); Blues (1998: 6); Chiefs (1997: 3)
132 Phil Waugh, Waratahs (2000–2011)
131 Greg Somerville, Rebels (2011: 16); Crusaders (1999-2008: 115)
129 Reuben Thorne, Crusaders (1997–2008)
128 George Smith, Brumbies (2000–2010)
128 Tana Umaga, Chiefs (2011: 6); Hurricanes (1996–2007: 122)
127 Leon MacDonald, Crusaders (1997; 1999–2003; 2005-2009: 122); Chiefs (1998: 5)
127 Anton Oliver, Highlanders (1996–2007)
125 John Smit, Sharks (1999–2011)
125 AJ Venter, Stormers (2009: 10); Sharks (2000-08: 96); Cats (1998-99: 19)
124 Sean Hardman, Reds (2000–2010)
124 Victor Matfield, Bulls (2001–2011: 116); Cats (1999-2000: 8)
122 Stefan Terblanche, Sharks (1998–2003; 2008–2011)
121 Al Baxter, Waratahs (2000–2011)
121 Andrew Hore, Highlanders (2012: 9); Hurricanes (2002; 2004-11: 106); Crusaders (2001: 6)
118 Ma'a Nonu, Blues (2012: 8); Hurricanes (2003–2011: 110)
116 Stephen Larkham, Brumbies (1996–2007)
116 Danie Rossouw, Bulls (2001–2011)
Most Consecutive Matches
104 Caleb Ralph Blues (1998: 1); Crusaders(1999-2006: 103)
99 Pedrie Wannenburg Bulls (2003–2010)
94 David Croft Reds (2001–2008)
86 Liam Messam Chiefs (2006–2012)
83 David Lyons Waratahs (2000–2007)
80 George Gregan Brumbies
78 Brendan Cannon Western Force; Waratahs; Reds
76 Toutai Kefu Reds
75 Jacques Botes Sharks (2005–2011)
75 Bill Young Brumbies
73 Reuben Thorne Crusaders
79 Nathan Sharpe Western Force (77/77); Reds (2/70)
75 Victor Matfield Bulls (75/116); Cats (0/8)
67 Taine Randell Highlanders (67/77)
67 John Smit Sharks (67/125)
66 Richie McCaw Crusaders (66/110)
62 Todd Blackadder Crusaders (62/71)
60 Stirling Mortlock Rebels (15/15); Brumbies (45/123)
58 Keven Mealamu Blues (58/130); Chiefs (0/11)
56 Phil Waugh Waratahs (56/132)
52 Corné Krige Western Province & Stormers (52/62)
1,377, Daniel Carter, Crusaders (2001–08, 2010 – present)
1,134, Morné Steyn, Bulls (2005–present)
1,036, Stirling Mortlock, Brumbies (1998–2010), Rebels (2011)
990, Andrew Mehrtens, Crusaders (1996–2005)
959, Matthew Burke, Waratahs (1996–2004)
942, Tony Brown, Highlanders (1996–2004, 2011), Sharks (2006), Stormers (2008)
900, Peter Grant, Stormers (2006–present)
857, Stephen Donald, Chiefs (2005–2011)
751, Matt Giteau, Brumbies (2001–06, 2010–11), Western Force (2007–09)
700, David Holwell, Hurricanes (1998–2004, 2006), Blues (2007)
661, André Pretorius, Lions (2002–09, 2011), Western Force (2010)
629, Elton Flatley, Reds (1996–2006)
625, Carlos Spencer, Blues (1996–2005), Lions (2010–11)
619, Adrian Cashmore, Blues (1996–97), Chiefs (2004–05)
59, Doug Howlett, Blues (55), Hurricanes (1), Highlanders (3); (1997–2007)
58, Caleb Ralph, Crusaders (52), Blues (3), Chiefs (3); (1996–2008)
57, Joe Roff, Brumbies; (1996–2004)
56, Christian Cullen, Hurricanes; (1996–2003)
56, Stirling Mortlock, Brumbies (48), Rebels (8); (1998–present)
52, Bryan Habana, Bulls (37), Stormers (15); (2005–present)
48, Tana Umaga, Hurricanes (47), Chiefs (1); (1996–2007, 2011)
43, Ma'a Nonu, Hurricanes (42), Blues (1); (2003–2012)
43, Joeli Vidiri, Blues; (1996–2001)
42, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Chiefs; (2002–2011)
42, Leon MacDonald, Crusaders (42), Chiefs (0); (1997–2008)
41, Chris Latham, Reds; (1997–2008)
41, Scott Staniforth, Waratahs (23), Force (18); (1997–2010)
40, Joe Rokocoko, Blues; (2003–2011)
40, Rico Gear, Crusaders; (1999–2007)
37, Jaque Fourie, Stormers (7), Lions (9), Cats (15); (2003–2011)
36, Cameron Shepherd, Waratahs (6), Western Force (26); (2004–2011)
35, Drew Mitchell, Waratahs (17), Western Force (12), Reds (6); (2006–present)
35, Marika Vunibaka, Crusaders; (2000–2004)
35, Breyton Paulse, Stormers; (1998–2007)
35, Jeff Wilson, Highlanders; (1996–2002)
35, Stefan Terblanche, Sharks; (1998–2011)
33, Matt Giteau Brumbies(?), Force(?); (2003–2011)
32, Stephen Larkham, Brumbies; (1996–2007)
32, Roger Randle, Chiefs; (1996–2003)
32, Andrew Walker, Brumbies (?), Reds (?); (1999–2003, 2007)
31, Pieter Rossouw, Stormers (30), Western Province (1); (1996–2004)
31, Ben Tune, Reds; (1996–2003, 2005–07)
31, Lelia Masaga Chiefs; (2004–present)
30, Owen Finegan, Brumbies; (1996–2005)
30, Daniel Carter, Crusaders; (2001–07, 09-present)