February 13, 2019 / 7:13 AM / 6 months ago

Factbox - Super Rugby at a glance

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Factbox on the 2019 Super Rugby competition, which starts on Friday:

KEY FACTS

* The 24th season of Super Rugby features teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa with matches also being staged in Singapore and Fiji.

* Season will run straight through from Feb. 15 to July 6 with no break for a test window because it is a World Cup year.

* Remains a 15-team competition with the same conference structure for the second year in a row after the unsuccessful experiment with 18 teams.

* Teams earn four points for a win and two for a draw. Bonuspoints are awarded for finishing three or more tries ahead of your opponent, or for losing by less than seven points.

CONFERENCES

* New Zealand Conference: Otago Highlanders, Wellington Hurricanes, Canterbury Crusaders, Waikato Chiefs, Auckland Blues.

* Australia Conference: New South Wales Waratahs, ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds, Sunwolves (Japan)

* South African Conference: Bulls, Stormers, Lions, Sharks, Jaguares (Argentina)

FORMAT

* Each team plays 16 matches. They face their conference opponents home and away and will take on eight of the remaining10 sides in cross-pool matches.

* Each team has two bye weeks.

* The three conference winners automatically qualify for the playoffs along with the next five highest-ranked teams on an overall table.

* The highest-ranked winners of the quarter-finals host the semi-finals.

HISTORY

* The competition started as the Super 12 in 1996, a year after rugby union became professional, and was expanded to 14teams from 2006 and 15 in 2011 after the Melbourne Rebels were added.

* Was expanded in 2016 to include a sixth South Africanside and teams from Argentina and Japan but reduced to 15 again for last season after crowds and TV audiences dwindled.

* New Zealand teams have dominated the competition, winning16 of the 23 titles. The Canterbury Crusaders are the most successful with nine titles, including the last two. All five New Zealand sides have lifted the Super Rugby trophy.

* South Africa’s Bulls are the only South African champions, having won the title in 2007, 2009, 2010.

* Australia’s ACT Brumbies have won the title twice (2001,2004) while the Queensland Reds (2011) and New South WalesWaratahs (2014) have both won it once each.

Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford

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