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Super 12

From Academic Kids

Super 14, or Super 12 as it was known from 1996 through 2005, is a Rugby Union championship competed for by teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Contents

The Competition

The Super 14 is a round-robin competition with each team playing every other team with games held each weekend. A team receives four points for a win, two for a draw, and none for a loss. Teams also receive a bonus point for scoring four tries, regardless of the final result. A bonus point is also earned by a team that loses a game by seven points (a converted try) or less. The top four teams at the end of the round-robin phase then play semifinals, with the first placed team hosting the fourth placed team and the second placed team hosting the third placed team. The two winners then play the final at the home ground of the top surviving seed.

The Australian teams also play each other for the National Ricoh Championship (or State of the Union), the winner of which is awarded the Bob Templeton trophy.

History

The first Super 12 series was held in 1996, although it has its origins in the Super 10, Super 6 and South Pacific championships. It was born out of the success of 1995 Rugby Union World Cup, pitting regional teams of the then three strongest rugby nations against each other.

One significant reason for the development of the Super 12 competition was the introduction, in Australia especially but also in other nations, of pay (or subscription) television (often known in the USA as 'cable' or 'satellite' TV). A key 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.

In recent years (2001 onwards), Australia had pushed unsuccessfully for the inclusion of a fourth Australian team (this has been now confirmed as Western Australia), and South Africa for another team from its country (two extra teams were added, for a total of six, but only five will compete in any given year). There was also discussion 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. However, until 2006, the competition remained as it began.

In September 2004, SANZAR, a partnership established by the South African, New Zealand, and Australian rugby governing bodies that conducts the Super 12 and Tri Nations Series, began negotiations for a new television deal to take effect in 2006. That December, SANZAR announced that a new TV deal had been signed, with News Corporation winning the rights for the UK, Australia and New Zealand and Supersport winning rights for South Africa. SANZAR remains free to negotiate separate deals for other markets, such as France, Japan, and the Americas.

Under the new deal, Australia and South Africa each got one extra team in the competition, and a third round of fixtures will be added to the Tri Nations. The proposal also included the possibility of splitting the updated Super 14 into two seven-team divisions, but at this time, the competition will likely remain in its traditional single-table format. However, Argentina and the Pacific Islands remain shut out of the competition proper under this proposal (but see the following paragraphs for more information).

It has been confirmed that the new Australian team in the competition will be based in Perth and is to be called 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 Central Cheetahs, based mainly on the Free State union. However, a sixth South African team, as yet unnamed, will be formed in the Southern and Eastern Cape (SEC) region. The SEC team will replace one of the five existing South Africa sides for 2007 and 2008. South Africa will establish a promotion/relegation system to determine the five sides that will compete in the Super 14 each year. The fallout from the controversy surrounding the addition of the fifth South African side resulted in the creation of a competitive series involving Argentina, the Pacific Islands and at least one South African side, slated to begin in 2006.

Teams

In 2006, the competing teams will be:

  • New Zealand
    • Blues - Encompasses the Auckland, North Harbour and Northland NPC unions (northern North Island)
    • Chiefs - Encompasses the Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, King Country, Thames Valley, and Waikato NPC unions (central North Island)
    • Crusaders - Encompasses the Buller, Canterbury, Marlborough, Mid Canterbury, Nelson Bays, South Canterbury and West Coast NPC unions (north and central South Island)
    • Highlanders - Encompasses the North Otago, Otago and Southland NPC unions (southern South Island)
    • Hurricanes - Encompasses the East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Manawatu, Taranaki, Poverty Bay, Wairarapa-Bush, Wanganui and Wellington NPC unions (southern North Island)
  • South Africa
    • Bulls - Encompasses the Blue Bulls (Pretoria) and Falcons Currie Cup unions
    • Cats - Encompasses the Golden Lions (Johannesburg), Leopards and Pumas (Witbank) Currie Cup unions
    • Central Cheetahs - Encompasses the Free State, Griffons, and Griquas Currie Cup unions; the new South African Super 14 team
    • Sharks - Encompasses the Natal Currie Cup union (Durban and KwaZulu-Natal)
    • Stormers - Encompasses the Boland and Western Province (Cape Town) Currie Cup unions

In 2007 and 2008, the unnamed SEC team will replace the lowest-finishing South African team in the 2006 table. After the 2007 season, the lowest-finishing South African team in that year's Super 14 table, other than SEC, will play a promotion/relegation test match against the team that was relegated in 2006. There will be a similar test match in following years, with SEC subject to possible relegation starting at the end of the 2008 season.

The SEC region, as well as the relegated region from 2007, will play in a series against the national teams of Argentina, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

Past Winners

The 2004 Super 12 Trophy was taken by the ACT Brumbies, who defeated the Crusaders 47-38 in the final. The 2005 Super 12 Trophy was taken back by the Crusaders, who defeated the NSW Waratahs 35-25 (after leading by 35-6 with 15 minutes to go in the final).

Winners

  • 1996 Blues
  • 1997 Blues
  • 1998 Crusaders
  • 1999 Crusaders
  • 2000 Crusaders
  • 2001 ACT Brumbies
  • 2002 Crusaders
  • 2003 Blues
  • 2004 ACT Brumbies
  • 2005 Crusaders

Total Wins

  • Crusaders 5
  • Blues 3
  • ACT Brumbies 2

Wins by Country

  • New Zealand 8
  • Australia 2
  • South Africa 0

External links

Template:SANZAR links

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