Super Rugby is one of the most famous rugby competitions in the world and the largest provincial rugby competition in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, Super Rugby is bracing for its biggest season ever, with 18 teams taking part from five countries. This will be the first time teams from outside Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will compete for the title since 1995.
Argentina will field its first ever Super Rugby squad, boasting a number of players from Argentina’s semi-finalist 2015 World Cup squad. Japan’s Sunwolves will compete for the first time and are the the first-ever team from the Northern Hemisphere. Home games will take place in Tokyo and Singapore.
The Super Rugby competition has evolved continuously since it first debuted in the early 90s, continuing to grow in size and popularity over the last decade.
The competition first launched in 1992 with six teams from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. The ‘Super 6’ replaced a number of trans-national provincial competitions held in the South Pacific during the 80s and 90s.
The following year, South Africa joined the newly expanded ‘Super 10’ after being readmitted to international sport following the end of apartheid. In 1995, following the success of the 1995 World Cup, Rugby boards from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia formed a new partnership (SANZAR) and launched a “Super 12” competition in 1996 featuring five teams from New Zealand, four from South Africa and three from Australia.
The Super 12 underwent a revamp in 2006, which saw Western Force joining the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies from Australia, while the Central Cheetahs joined the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions from South Africa.
The competition continued to grow in 2011 with the addition of the Melbourne Rebels, bringing the number of teams to 15.
The arrival of 2016 means there’s even more reason to get excited with another three teams joining the battle for rugby supremacy. So pull on your team’s colours and show your support as they take on the world’s best.