There have been six different winners of the trophy across the last seven seasons but New Zealand teams have won 14 of the 21 Super Rugby championships. Will this change in 2017?
The 2016 Super Rugby season saw the Hurricanes make history by picking up their first ever Super Rugby trophy, defeating the Lions who were also in contention for their first ever trophy. It’s a continuing trend in the premier competition as the playing field continues to level out between the teams despite the successful expansion to 18 teams.
While the Hurricanes made it the second year in a row that a New Zealand team had won the competition, their name being etched into the history books meant that there have been six different winners of the trophy across the last seven seasons.
The Hurricanes joined the Highlanders, Waratahs, Chiefs, Reds, and Bulls as part of the six different clubs to have lifted the trophy in the period. The Chiefs are the only team in the last seven years to have won the Super Rugby Final more than once, when they earned consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013.
Expansions have signalled the promotion of a level playing field for the competition, exemplified by the fact that there had been only four different winning teams in the 15 seasons prior to the seven-season period mentioned above.
Overall, no team has been more successful than the Crusaders, though all of their seven championships came before 2009 and before the team expanded beyond a 14-team format.
New Zealand teams have maintained their dominance through the various changes in format to the competition, though. While the Crusaders might not have lifted the trophy since the competition moved to 15 teams, the Chiefs, Hurricanes, and Highlanders have combined to bring the trophy to New Zealand in four of the six years since the competition expanded in 2011.
Such has been the dominance of New Zealand teams, they’ve won 14 of 21 total Super Rugby championships; twice as many as the rest of the nations combined. Australian teams have combined for four wins between the Brumbies, Reds, and Waratahs while the Bulls have earned all three championships attributed to South Africa.
In fact, all but three Grand Finals in the history of Super Rugby have featured at least one team from New Zealand. Only the 2001, 2007, and 2010 campaigns did not feature a team from New Zealand, while the most recent iteration of the Super Rugby final to feature only New Zealand teams came as recently as 2015 when the Highlanders pipped the Hurricanes