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    NZ scribe expects lift in Super Rugby standards

    2017-12-12 12:51
    The Crusaders won the 2017 Super Rugby competition (Gallo Images)

    Cape Town - A popular New Zealand scribe hopes the reduction in the number of teams participating in Super Rugby will improve the competition's standard.

    The southern hemisphere showpiece will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from 2018, with South Africa losing two teams and Australia one, from this year's format.

    From a South African perspective, the Cheetahs and Southern Kings were axed leaving SA Rugby with four representatives.

    Australia also now boasts four teams, with the Western Force removed from the equation.

    Japan’s Sunwolves and Argentina’s Jaguares retained their status.

    The competition has been dominated by New Zealand teams in recent years, with Kiwi sides winning the last three editions - and 15 of the 22 tournaments played to date.

    In 2017, no Australian side managed to beat a New Zealand team in the 26 matches played between the two country's teams.

    Marc Hinton, a columnist for the Stuff.co.nz website, is hopeful that the change in format will bring about stronger opposition for the Kiwi sides.

    “Let's not forget that South Africa and Australia are now down to just four Super Rugby teams apiece. You have to figure that concentrates their talent better, and lifts standards. One can only hope so. Maybe we will even see an Aussie team beat a Kiwi one in 2018,” Hinton Wrote.

    “Also there have to be improvements from the Sunwolves and Jaguares. Both have failed to live up to expectations, and may need to dial up their competitiveness lest they too start facing that hovering axe.”

    The 2018 Super Rugby tournament starts on Saturday, February 17 when the South African Conference kicks-off with the Stormers hosting the Jaguares in Cape Town. The Lions, runners-up the last two years, host the Sharks in Johannesburg, while Bulls have a bye.

    The Australian and New Zealand Conferences will kick-off a week later when defending champions the Crusaders open the defence of their title at home against the Chiefs.

    The Brumbies, last year’s Australian Conference winners, open the season against the Sunwolves in Tokyo who are now positioned in the Australian Conference.

    2018 Super Rugby Conferences:

    New Zealand Conference
    Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes

    Australian Conference
    Brumbies, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs, Sunwolves

    South African Conference
    Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

    Results

    05 August 2017
    29 July 2017
    22 July 2017
    21 July 2017
    15 July 2017
    14 July 2017
    08 July 2017
    07 July 2017
    01 July 2017
    30 June 2017
    09 June 2017
    03 June 2017
    02 June 2017
    28 May 2017
    27 May 2017
    26 May 2017
    21 May 2017
    20 May 2017
    19 May 2017
    13 May 2017
    12 May 2017
    06 May 2017
    05 May 2017
    30 April 2017
    29 April 2017
    28 April 2017
    22 April 2017
    21 April 2017
    15 April 2017
    14 April 2017
    09 April 2017
    08 April 2017
    07 April 2017
    02 April 2017
    01 April 2017
    31 March 2017
    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017
    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

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