Super 15, or Super Rugby – tournaments don’t come much bigger than this!
The Super 15 tournament comprises club teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa it is the largest professional tournament in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Super 15 competition is organised by the joint union of the three nations, SANZAR, which is also responsible for the The Rugby Championship, which features the countries national teams the Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies and takes place after the Super Rugby season ends.
The current Super 15 format features a conference for each country, with each Super 15 team playing each other home and away. They also face opponents from the other conferences once. Super 15 teams are awarded points for a win but also gain bonus point for scoring 4+ tries or by losing by less than a score i.e. 7 points. The Super Rugby Finals feature the six top teams.
The winner receives the Super Rugby trophy which features a design with three legs, representing each of the three Super 15 conferences and the colours of gold for Australia, black for New Zealand and green for South Africa. The winners of the Conferences receive a minature version of the Super 15 trophy.
In 2012 the organisers announced they are keen to see the tournament grow further and expand into new markets such as Argentina, Japan and the US. The growth of the sport in these countries thanks in part to the popularity of Rugby Sevens and the addition of rugby as an Olympic 2016 sport could lead to their involvement in the Tournament and a lucrative TV deal to benefit the game.
A new conference could be added in the US or American teams could be added to the existing set up. Teams could feature SANZAR players as well as the best of the local players to help develop skills. College rugby is growing rapidly in the States and athletes now have an alternative to the NFL to progress their careers. In addition, USA Rugby is part of the World Rugby official international schedule so the timing of such an expansion could not be better.
Super 15 Teams
|South Africa Rugby
|New Zealand Rugby
Super Rugby Champions
The tournament has grown since 1996 when it was 12 teams, to 14 in 2006 and Super 15 in 2011 and has been dominated by the New Zealand sides the Canterbury Crusaders and Auckland Blues. Only the Brisbane Reds, Canberra Brumbies and Pretoria Bulls have added their name to the list of winners of the Southern Hemisphere’s major rugby union competition.