While the rest of the world is sitting back, prepared to join the fun with real money gambling casino games, SANZAAR teams are preparing for the upcoming 2018 Super Rugby. For those who don’t know, SANZAAR is the governing body of the Australian, South African, New Zealand, and Argentine rugby union teams, and the Super Rugby is perhaps the most important rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere.
This year, the Super Rugby has reduced the number of participant teams with two South African and one Australian team withdrawing from the competition. South Africa will only send four teams – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks, and Stormers – without the Cheetahs and Kings participating after they lost their spots in the competition. Australian team Western Force has lost its license, meaning that it, too, will be sitting this one out.
The list of participating teams includes the Blues, the Chiefs, the Crusaders, the Highlanders, and the Hurricanes from New Zealand, the Brumbies, the Rebels, the Reds, the Waratahs, and the Sunwolves from Australia, and the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks, the Stormers, and the Jaguares from South Africa.
The tournament starts on Saturday, the 17th of February, with the South African conference kicking off with the Stormers hosting the Jaguares in Cape Town, and the Lions hosting the Sharks in Johannesburg. The Australian and New Zealand conferences will start a week later, with defending champions the Crusaders attempting to defend their title at home, against contenders the Chiefs, while last year’s Australian Conference winners the Brumbies opening with a game against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
“Super Rugby is one of if not the best club rugby tournaments in the world highlighted this year by a global TV audience of nearly 50 million and a final crowd in Johannesburg of 60,000,” SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos told the press a few months ago. “It is a key high-performance pathway for players from the SANZAAR Unions to transition from club to test rugby, and this will continue to be the case in the future. It was not an easy decision to reduce the number of teams,” he continued, “but a necessary one considering the outputs from the strategic review to date. The tournament was not working with 18 teams, the structure was confusing, the outcomes of matches were becoming too predictable and the fans and stakeholders had, through our surveys, voiced their concerns.”
The complete list of Super Rugby 2018 fixtures can be found here.
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