The Super Rugby is an annual tournament of professional men’s rugby union which is contested by teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. It was established in 1996 by the South Africa New Zealand Argentina Rugby or the SANZAR after the sport became professional in 1995.

The 2019 Super Rugby Cup was the 24th season of Super Rugby and it is the second season which was played using the reduced 15-team format composed of the three geographical conferences. It can be recalled that it was in 2017 when the total number of teams participating in the Super Rugby Cup was reduced from 18.

The Group stage was made up of 18 rounds of matches, with the teams playing a total of 16 matches each with two bye weeks. Teams played their conference mates twice during the group stage – one at home and one away and they played four teams from each conference once to complete the regular season. The Top three teams from each conference move on to the knockout stage along with the next five teams with the most points in the team standings. The top three teams and the highest-ranked wild card team will host the quarterfinals and the higher-ranked semifinalists will host the semifinals. The same will hold true in the final with the higher-ranked squad hosting the Grand Final.

“Trophy" Who Are The Remaining Teams?

This year was a competitive season with the quarterfinals cast being completed after the last match of the season when the Bulls defeated the Lions to earn a Bonus Point win in Pretoria.

These are the teams which made it to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Super Rugby Cup. Teams are arranged according to their final ranking:

  1. Crusaders – New Zealand Conference Winners
  2. Jaguares – South African Conference Winners
  3. Brumbies – Australian Conference Winners
  4. Hurricanes
  5. Bulls
  6. Sharks
  7. Chiefs
  8. Highlanders

The Crusaders clinched a third consecutive New Zealand Conference and are the highest ranked team in the quarterfinals with a total of 58 points from 11 wins. The Jaguares won the South African Conference for the first time ever with 11 wins and a total of 51 points. Over in the Australian Conference, it was the Brumbies who topped with 48 points on 10 wins. Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked team is the Hurricanes who finished second to the Crusaders in the New Zealand Conference with 53 points. As the Top 4 teams in the standings, these teams will have the privilege to host the quarterfinals matches.

Slots 5-8 were determined by the next four highest-ranked teams, based on points earned and regardless of which conference they came from. As a result, the Bulls of the South African Conference grabbed the 5th spot with 41 points. They were followed by conference mates Sharks who had 38 points. New Zealand Conference’s Chiefs and Highlanders completed the cast with 36 points each.

With the eight teams already determined, they will then play the quarterfinals according to the following schedule:

Game Date Team 1 Team 2 Venue Local time
QF1 June 21, 2019 Crusaders Highlanders Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch  19:35
QF2 June 22, 2019 Hurricanes Bulls Westpac Stadium, Wellington  19:35
QF3 June 21, 2019 Jaguares Chiefs Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires  19:05
QF4 June 22, 2019 Brumbies Sharks GIO Stadium, Canberra   20:05

The winners of QF1 and QF2 will then face each other in the semifinals while the victors of QF3 and QF4 will square off in the other semifinal match.  The semifinal games will be hosted by the higher ranked teams. The winners will then play each other to determine who wins the 2019 Super Rugby Final scheduled for July 6, 2019, and will be hosted by the higher ranked team as well.

Here are the odds to win the 2019 Super Rugby Cup Grand Final. Odds are from as of 6/17/19:

Team Odds
Crusaders -188
Hurricanes +400
Los Jaguares +900
Brumbies +1200
Chiefs +2000
Bulls +2500
Sharks +3300
Highlanders +4000

“Trophy" Who Wins?

Super Rugby is a competition that has been dominated by the New Zealand Conference. 62% of the teams that played in the history of the Super Rugby Grand Final have come from New Zealand. 16 out of the 23 previous winners of the Super Rugby Cup including six out of the last seven were New Zealand-based squads. No team from Argentina and Japan have made the finals.

The Crusaders have been the dominant team in this tournament as they have won it a total of nine times, including the last two. The Crusaders have made it to the Grand Final game in four out of the last eight years. This year, they topped the standings and are the rugby betting favorites to win the whole thing for a third straight season.

The Crusaders have never lost a match in Christchurch in the finals and they have an 89% winning percentage at home. Against teams from New Zealand though, that winning rate at Christchurch is down to 75% but that’s still impressive. To win it again this year, the Crusaders have to beat two New Zealand teams to get there, starting with the Highlanders in the quarterfinals.

If there’s a team in the quarterfinals that is capable of toppling the Crusaders, I think it’s the Highlanders although that seems unlikely to happen. The Highlanders will be inspired by the return of Ben Smith who may be playing his final Super Rugby match in the quarterfinals. However, the Crusaders’ winning record at home is quite intimidating although they have been under-performing in recent weeks.

For all the talk that teams from South Africa and Australia are making ground on their New Zealand counterparts, half of the eight remaining teams in the 2019 Super Rugby Cup are from New Zealand, including the top seed. The Crusaders were the top performing team in 2019 and there is no reason to believe that they will be stopped in their quest for a third straight Rugby Super Cup title. Prediction: Crusaders

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