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Super Rugby TropheeSuper RugbyCrusaders vs Rebels to get the season underway in Christchurch on 13 February.

Defending champion Waratahs to start at home against the Force in Round 1.

Anzac Centenary weekend sees all 10 Australian and New Zealand teams in action across Round 11 (two derbies and three Trans-Tasman clashes).

Waratahs host the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium in a Round 15 re-match of the record-breaking 2014 Super Rugby Final.

All five South African teams are in action on home soil during Rounds 1-3.

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Super Rugby TropheeAll of the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks, traditionally South Africa’s strongest franchises in Super Rugby, have reason to feel fairly upbeat about their 2015 ordinary-season schedules.

SANZAR revealed the roster for next season – the last before the competition expands yet again – this week, and at least on paper there seems a better chance of the SA challenge being better than this year’s (only the Sharks made the playoffs, and were losing semi-finalists) as the draw is largely kind to the domestic trio of superpowers.

Jake White’s Sharks were widely considered to have had a dream draw in 2014, given the opportunity it presented for them to build a tidy head of steam on South African soil – including a generous allocation of Kings Park games – before their overseas leg.

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AustraliaArgentinaWallabies (14) 32 / 25 (7) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and Argentinian Pumas did battle in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at

Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast at 12:00 SA Time (20:00 AEST, 07:00 ARG Time, 10:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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New ZealandSouth AfricaAll Blacks (6) 14 / 10 (7) Springboks (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and South African Springboks did battle in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at

Westpac Stadium, Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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George Clancy

In the spotlight: George Clancy

SANZAR are looking to bring in a challenge system in order to combat refereeing errors, with each team allowed three per game.

Following in the footsteps of cricket and tennis, teams would be able to challenge a referee’s decision, while the TMO would be used only for these challenges, leaving the on-field referee to make the rest of the calls.

There are currently concerns that referees are hiding behind their TMOs at the moment, rather than making their own decisions, and the official in charge would now be responsible for deciding on tries and incidents of foul play.

The news comes after a weekend where both Rugby Championship games featured controversial refereeing decisions, with Argentina denied a perfectly good try when Pascal Gauzère called a knock-on on a charge-down from Leonardo Senatore.

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Agustin Creevy

Agustin Creevy

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy revealed on Friday a plan for fielding a full-strength international side when they join the southern hemisphere’s prestigious Super Rugby competition in 2016.

The move would rob European clubs of several leading players but would strengthen Argentina at Test level.

Super rugby organisers have already confirmed an Argentinian side will join the competition when it is expanded to 18 teams as the International Rugby Board pushes to expand the sport in South America.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has put South Africa on notice, saying he wants both their No.2 world ranking and the Mandela Challenge Plate back.

With Australia ranked third behind the All Blacks and Springboks, wins in Perth and then Cape Town could see them rise to No2 for the first time under new coach Ewen McKenzie.

It would also see them regain the Mandela Plate, which they lost last season after holding it for three years.

And it all starts at Perth’s Patersons Stadium this Saturday.

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The Rugby ChampionshipExtra-Time for Bledisloe Cup matches will not be introduced following the 12-12 draw between the Wallabies and All Blacks last Saturday.

SANZAR believes there is no need to change to laws as they stand, and given the rarity of tied results, they have no doubt there will be a clear winner of The Rugby Championship tournament within which the Bledisloe is contested.

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The Rugby ChampionshipOne of the great rugby tournaments starts again soon, as the third ever Rugby Championship gets underway next week. The competition has only been around officially since 2012 following the acceptance of Argentina into the Tri-Nations series, that featured three powerhouses of world rugby in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

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Super RugbyIt is the Finals of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! The Waratahs host the Crusaders.

This weekend decides the honors for the 2014 Super Rugby season.

What a game we have to look forward to!

The Waratahs have been good and consistent all season whereas the resurgent Crusaders, who absolutely pummelled the Cell C Sharks last weekend have hit a rich vein of form.

A winner is difficult to predict, there are game breakers on either side, no matter how you look at it. In the final analysis the 2 best Super Rugby sides of 2014 are in the Final and both deserve to contest for ultimate glory in 2014.

13 Other Challengers already now lay by the wayside, done and dusted, only 1 more game to come…. this one!

Who do you think will take the crown and Why?

Let the game continue…. let the battle commence!

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Super RugbyIt is the Semi-Finals of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Semi-Final games in this Round, as all the other 11 teams have now been dispatched. Both games take place on Saturday 27 July 2014.

It is crunch time, as only the winners advance to the Final on 2 August 2014.

The Crusaders and Waratahs host the Semi-Finals, as top contenders on the Combined Super Rugby Log. The challengers are the Cell C Sharks and the Brumbies, who have had to travel in order to see if they can advance against strong home ground advantage, for the Final.

Only 3 Super Rugby games for 2014 remain!

Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.

Let the games continue….

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Jake White

Is Jake already lining up his excuses?

Is Jake White trying to get his excuses in early should his Shark team lose against the Crusaders on Saturday?

If his tactics against the last placed SA conference side, the Cheetahs, hadn’t backfire and the Sharks were victorious, they would have had the week off and played the semi final at home.

Would he have complained about the format then?

When his Bok team won the 2007 World Cup they did so without having to face either the All Blacks or the Wallabies. White never complained about the format being skewed did he? No, he benefitted and rightly so, the rules are the rules.

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Jaco Peyper

Jaco Peyper

SANZAR has appointed the referees for Saturday’s Semi-Finals. Jaco Peyper will referee in Sydney, Glen Jackson in Christchurch.

The Crusaders are the only team that played in the 2013 Semi-Finals.

In 2013 the referees for the Semi-Finals were Steve Walsh for the Chiefs vs Crusaders and Craig Joubert for the Vodacom Bulls vs the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld.

In 2013 Peyper and Jackson were both involved in the Play-Off’s – Peyper for Crusaders vs Reds and Jackson for the Brumbies vs Toyota Cheetahs.

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Steve Tew

NZRU boss Steve Tew

A decision on Super Rugby’s Asian expansion could require mediation, with Australia and South Africa expected to butt heads over whether Singapore or Japan gains inclusion.

Earlier this month, Fairfax Media revealed expressions of interest from both, and SANZAR confirmed yesterday that Singapore and Japan submitted the only bids for the 18th team to join an Argentinian side and South Africa’s Southern Kings from 2016.

Now those bids have been lodged with SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters, both will have their respective business cases, broadcast revenue potential and competitiveness assessed before a final decision is reached. Additional teams will need around $10 million per year to cover travel, wages and other expenses.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe 2014 Super Rugby season is slowly drawing to a close and tomorrow sees the two Play-Off matches in the form of a Qualifying Round. Tomorrow’s victorious teams will qualify for the right to play in the Semi-Finals.

The only certainty is that the Crusaders and the Waratahs will be hosting those Semi-Finals, but against whom, and what happens after that?

There are multiple scenarios and permutations that could come into play.

3 Weekends of Super Rugby remain in 2014, this weekend’s Play-Off Round, the Semi-Final Weekend and the Final the week thereafter.

The Final takes place on 2 August 2014.

 

If you are a Sharks fan:

image

Your team qualified 3rd on the Combined Log.

They’re up against the Highlanders in Durban, on Saturday night.

  • If the Sharks win, then they travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders in the one Semi-Final.
  • If the Sharks beat the Crusaders and the Waratahs beat the Brumbies, the Sharks travel to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.
  • The Sharks can host the Final if they beat the Crusaders and the Brumbies beat the Waratahs.

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Super RugbyIt is the Play-Off Round of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Play-Off games in this Round, as all teams below Log position 6 has now been dispatched and the Top 2 teams have a nice rest weekend, with both games on Saturday.

This is the final crunch to sort the men from the boys, to sort the teams going forward into the Semi-Finals.

The Waratahs and Crusaders sit comfortably at the Top of the table and the Brumbies, Chiefs, Cell C Sharks and Highlanders compete in this Round.

It is winners take all in these Play-Off games, the losers joing the other 9 Teams who have already been dispatched to also-ran’s.

Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.

Let the games continue….

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Special EditionSuper RugbyAs we head into the Super Rugby Finals Series, here is an overview of what happens should the scores be level at full time in any of our remaining matches.

(a) 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 half time;

Before extra time begins, the 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 half time.

Teams and match officials must remain on the field during the rest period and at half time.

Injury time is added to the two 10 minute periods.

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Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh

Sanzar has announced that South Africa’s Craig Joubert and Steve Walsh from Australia will referee the two Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers this weekend.

Joubert will be the man in the middle in Canberra, where the Brumbies host the Chiefs, while Walsh will be in action in Durban in the second Qualifier between the Cell C Sharks and the Highlanders.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyLike every fine season of Super Rugby, all is not revealed until the final weekend of the regular season, and the 2014 campaign, and 19th tournament overall of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier provincial competition, will be no different.

However congratulations must be offered to the Waratahs, who offered one piece of clarity over the weekend with their 44-16 win over the Highlanders.

With that, the Waratahs has for the first time qualified as the top-ranked team after the regular season, and become the ninth franchise in history to finish as ‘minor premiers’.

For coach Michael Cheika and his troops, this will be a significant fact even though he was quick to remind all who would listen that the Super Rugby Finals Series would be another step up for a team that looks the goods.

However, as Cheika correctly pointed out, there will be teams with more experience at this stage of the season and this is a crucial factor for potential champions.

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Japan coach Eddie Jones says it’s a joke that Singapore could be given a team in an expanded Super Rugby competition.

From 2018, the competition will feature 18 teams, with South Africa’s Southern Kings, an Argentine team, and a yet-to-be confirmed side added to the mix.

Recent reports indicated that Singapore has leapt to the front of the queue as the favourite to get the 18th franchise.

Jones, via a column on the Courier Mail website, said Japan should get the 18th franchise.

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Special EditionSuper RugbySANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for the last Open Round of Super Rugby 2014, Round 19.

Glen Jackson starts the weekend off when the Blues host the Chiefs at Eden Park, Auckland.

This weekend sees 7 games, 3 on Friday and 4 on Saturday.

The Hurricanes have a BYE weekend.

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Singapore Sports Hub - National Stadium

Singapore Sports Hub – National Stadium

Singapore has emerged as the leading candidate to host the 18th Super Rugby team when the tournament expands in 2016.

SANZAR confirmed last week that the two leading locations for the 18th team that will play in the South African group are Singapore and Japan.

According to reports South Africa have flexed their muscle and pushed Singapore into the lead as the location is far more accesible than Japan.

South African teams will have to travel to Singapore or Japan to play some of their matches and currently there are no direct flights from South Africa to Japan.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 18 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend, the first Round after the June Test break! We have 7 games in Round 18, with 2 game on Friday, 4 games on Saturday and 1 game on Sunday.

All the sides from South Africa are back in action this weekend, after sitting out last weekend when the Antipodian sides played a Round on their own to counter the fact that the South African Conference started a week early in February.

The Logs are finally reflecting the true position of the 15 sides relative to one another and in the process the Sharks have dropped 1 place on the standing after a rampant Waratahs side bullied the Brumbies to atke a 3-point lad on the Combined Log.

The Brumbies have a Bye weekend.

After this Round of games, there is only 1 Open Round left in Super Rugby in 2014, next weekend, after which the final 6 teams to continue into the Play-Off’s will have been decided. Teams who do not make the Play-Off’s will be done and dusted with this year’s competition.

With the June International Test Window now a thing of the past, the teams can once again throw their full weight into Super Rugby.

This is the stage where some results are becoming critical and where certain sides can open up doors for themselves, whilst burrying some of those teams around and in close proximity to them on the Logs.

Let the games continue….

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Super RugbyWhistleSANZAR has released the names of the Match Officials for Round 18 of Super Rugby 2014.

Nick Briant starts the action at Waikato Stadium when the Chiefs host the Hurricanes on Friday at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT) .

This weekend sees 7 matches, with 2 on Friday, 4 on Saturday and 1 game on Sunday.

The Brumbies have a BYE weekend.

After this Round, a full 113 matches would already have been played in Super Rugby 2014.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyWe run through some key players that went down in action during the June Internationals for Southern Hemisphere nations, that might impact some team’s Super Rugby chances.

South Africa and Australia are severely hit but things look a lot better for the New Zealand Franchises.

It is fast heading to crunch time in Super Rugby, with Round 17 on this weekend. The South African sides are of course excluded from Round 17 due to the fact that they started a week earlier than their Antipodian counterparts.

Including Round 17, there are only 3 weeks of the open Rounds left, before the weekend of Play-Off games ensue for the Top 6 Super Rugby sides and the margins for error is so small, specially for those Franchises still on the fringes of making the Play-Off’s.

After the 2 Play-Off games, featuring No 3 against No 6 and No 4 against No 5, there is one weekend of Semi-Finals (2 games) and a week later the Final.

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