Super Saders rule semis
The team that tops the Super rugby table is not necessarily the team which wins the Super rugby title.
The team that tops the Super rugby table is not necessarily the team which wins the Super rugby title but most often it is.
The history of the first 16 years of Super Rugby in the professional era tells us that. It excludes the early days of the Super 10 (1993 to 1995).
On four occasions the team that came first in the Round Robin did not win Super Rugby - 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2007. The Reds have come first three times and won the trophy once.
In finals of 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 the team that came top of the Round Robin played the team which came second. But then in 1999 the final was between the team that came 3rd and the team that came 4th - and the team that came 4th came forth and won the title.
That all changed in 2011 when the teams that came 1st and 2nd in the Round Roibin went automatically into semifinnals while the teams that came third to sixth played off for the right to make the sceimis.
Of the four teams in this year’s semis the Crusaders have been there most often.
The 2012 semifinalists in previous semifinals:
Sharks: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2012
Crusaders: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Chiefs: 2004, 2009, 2012
Stormers: 1999, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012
Absent are frequent semifinalists, the Brumbies, who contested semifinals six times up to 2006, the Bulls, Blues and Hurricanes.
A table of semifinalists, including this year’s, would look like this:
6: Bulls, Brumbies, Blues, Hurricanes
5: Stormers, Waratahs
3. Highlanders, Chiefs
New Zealand teams have made the semifinals 33 times, South African teams 20 times and Australian teams 15 times.
When it was the Super 12, every team made the semifinals at least once. Since then the Lions, the Cheetahs, the Force and the Rebels have not made a semifinal, though previously the Lions and the Cheetahs formed the Cats.
This year there is no Australian team in the semifinals. The same thing happened in 1998, 2007 and 2009. In 2001 there was no New Zealand team in the semifinals. In 2002 and 2003 there was no South African team in the semifinals.
The Crusaders have been semifinalists 11 times in a row.
3: Sharks, Bulls
1: Highlanders, Hurricanes. Chiefs, Stormers, Reds
Team names have changed a bit but here is a synopsis of the Super Rugby’s semifinalists.
Log position: Queensland, Auckland, Northern Transvaal, Natal.
Natal beat Queensland 43-25 in Brisbane
Auckland Blues beat Northern Transvaal 48-11 in Auckland.
Blues beat Natal 45-21
Log position: Auckland Blues, ACT Brumbies, Wellington Hurricanes, Natal Sharks.
Brumbies beat Hurricanes 33-20 in Canberra
Blues beat Sharks 55-36 in Auckland.
Blues beat Brumbies 23-7 in Auckland.
Log position: Auckland Blues, Canterbury Crusaders, Coastal Sharks, Otago Highlanders
Blues beat Highlanders 37-31 in Auckland
Crusaders beat Sharks 36-32 in Christchurch
Crusaders beat Blues, 20-13
Log position: Reds, Stormers, Highlanders, Crusaders
Highlanders beat Stormers 33-18 at Newlands
Crusaders beat Reds 28-22 in Brisbane
Crusaders beat Highlanders 24-19
Log position: Brumbies, Crusaders, Highlanders, Cats
Brumbies beat Cats 28-5 in Canberra
Crusaders beat Highlanders 37-15 in Christchurch
Crusaders beat Brumbies 20-19 in Canberra
Log position: Brumbies, Sharks, Cats, Reds
Brumbies beat Reds 30-6 in Canberra
Sharks beat Cats 30-12 in Durban
Brumbies beat Sharks 36-6 in Canberra
Log position: Crusaders, Waratahs, Brumbies, Highlanders
Crusaders beat Highlanders 34-23 in Christchurch
Brumbies beat Waratahs 51-10 in Sydney
Crusaders beat Brumbies 31-13 in Christchurch
The Crusaders won all 13 of their matches scoring. 30 or more points in every match
Log position: Blues, Crusaders, Hurricanes, Brumbies
Crusaders beat Hurricanes 39-16 in Christchurch
Blues beat Brumbies 42-21 in Auckland
Blues beat Crusaders 21-17
Log position: Brumbies, Crusaders, Stormers, Chiefs
Crusaders beat Stormers 27-16 in Christchurch
Brumbies beat Chiefs 32-17 in Canberra
Brumbies beat Crusaders 47-38 in Canberra
Log position: Crusaders, Waratahs, Bulls, Hurricanes
Crusaders beat Hurricanes 47-7 in Christchurch
Waratahs beat Bulls 23-13 in Sydney
Crusaders beat Waratahs 35-25 in Christchurch
Log position: Crusaders, Hurricanes, Waratahs, Bulls
Hurricanes beat Waratahs 16-14 in Wellington
Crusaders beat Bulls 35-15 in Christchurch
Crusaders beat Hurricanes 19-12 in Christchurch
Log position: Sharks, Bulls, Crusaders, Blues
Sharks vs Blues, 34-18 in Durban
Bulls vs Crusaders, 27-12 in Pretoria
Bulls vs Sharks, 20-19 in Durban
Log position: Crusaders, Waratahs, Sharks, Hurricanes
Crusaders beat Hurricanes 33-22
Waratahs beat Sharks28-13 in Sydney
Crusaders beat Waratahs 20-12
Log position: Bulls, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders
Bulls beat Crusaders 36-23
Chiefs beat Hurricanes 14-10
Bulls beat Chiefs, 61-17
Log position: Bulls, Stormers, Waratahs, Crusaders
Bulls beat Crusaders 39-24 in Soweto
Stormers beat Waratahs 25-6 at Newlands
Bulls beat Stormers 25-17 in Soweto
Log position: Reds, Storerms, Crusaders, Blues, Waratahs, Sharks
Crudsaders vs Sharks, 36-8 in Nelson
Blues vs Waratahs, 26-13 in Auckland
Crusaders beat Stormers 29-10 at Newlands
Reds beat Blkues 30-13 in Brisbane
Reds beat Cruisaders, 18-13 in Brisbane
Log position: Stormers, Chiefs, Reds, Crusaders, Bulls, Sharks
Crusaders beat Bulls, 28-13 in Christchurch
Sharks beat Reds, 30-17 in Brisbane
Chiefs vs Crusaders in Hamilton
Stormers vs Sharks at Newlands