There is just one derby on the cards for Round 12 of Super Rugby action, a stark contrast to the intra-conference action we’ve enjoyed in recent weekends. The Stormers and Bulls will face off in the competition’s only derby of the round, with both team’s looking to keep in touch with the Lions who sit comfortably atop the South African conference.
Then Super Rugby teams have had very different fortunes against team’s from outside their own home country since the beginning of 2016, with it having a major impact on which countries have been most represented in the finals.
Australian teams have found it more difficult than any others to adapt to Super Rugby clubs from anywhere else. They’ve picked up just 30 wins from their 113 games in non-derbies since 2016 for a low win rate of just 27%. While they have managed to garner a losing bonus point from one quarter of their losses in that time, they are still far off the pace set by the New Zealand and South African clubs.
Indeed, next-best South Africa have won 50% of all non-derby games since the beginning of 2016, losing less than half thanks to a handy three draws in that span. Combined, they’ve played more fixtures against teams from outside their own country and have therefore also picked up more losing bonus points in that time, taking a bonus point in defeat at least once in every three losses.
New Zealand, who have played the same number of games against teams from outside their home country as the Australian clubs have, boast the best teams when it comes to repelling foreign opposition. They have an impressive win rate of 85% in such fixtures, winning 96 times since the beginning of the 2016 campaign. Not only have they managed to win strongly in those games, but they’ve been effective in their few defeats as well - picking up a losing bonus point from nearly one in three games lost against teams from outside New Zealand.
This weekend, the Jaguares, Lions, and Highlanders will be far from home. The Argentine squad will play the second game of their tour of New Zealand but they’ll come into the fixture with confidence after picking up their first ever win over a New Zealand side last round with a 20-13 defeat of the Blues.
The Lions are also in New Zealand, but they’ve been less fortunate in recent times. The Lions have lost their last three games in succession against New Zealand clubs, including their defeat in the 2017 Super Rugby Final. In fact, they haven’t won in New Zealand since a 36-32 affair against the Chiefs in Round 2, 2016.
The Highlanders will endure the reverse - facing down with the Sharks in South Africa. The Highlanders have won their last six games on the bounce against teams from South Africa, though three of their last four such victories have come by margins of seven points or fewer. The story is just as rosy for the Highlanders when they’re playing away to South African teams, with the Dunedin side winning each of their last five regular season games in South Africa.