Blues (Super Rugby)

Last updated

Blues
Auckland Blues rugby team logo.png
Union New Zealand Rugby Union
Nickname(s)The Blues
Founded1996
Location Auckland, New Zealand
Region Auckland
North Harbour
Northland
Ground(s) Eden Park (Capacity: 50,000)
Coach(es) Leon MacDonald
Captain(s) Patrick Tuipulotu
Most caps Keven Mealamu (164)
Top scorer Adrian Cashmore (617)
League(s) Super Rugby
2019 5th (New Zealand Conference)
13th (overall)
Kit left arm Bluesleft.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body Blueskit.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm Bluesright.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts Bluesshorts.png
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks Bluessocks.png
Kit socks long.svg
Team kit
Official website
theblues.co.nz

The Blues (known as the Auckland Blues from 1996 to 2000) is a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Auckland, New Zealand who play in the Super Rugby competition. Like New Zealand's four other Super Rugby teams, the Blues were established by the NZRU in 1996. One of the most successful teams in Super Rugby history, the Blues won the competition in its first two seasons, 1996 and 1997, and again in 2003. Additionally, the team were finalists in 1998 and semi-finalists in 2007 and 2011.

Contents

History

Formation, Early Years and Immediate Success (1996–97)

The team's logo from 1997-2000, when the team dropped the Auckland prefix from its official name. Blues logo.gif
The team's logo from 1997–2000, when the team dropped the Auckland prefix from its official name.

Along with New Zealand's other Super Rugby sides, the Blues were established by the NZRU to take part in the newly formed Super 12 competition which, involved teams from South Africa and Australia in addition to New Zealand. Each of New Zealand's five sides represented a number of provincial unions, with the Blues representing the Auckland, Counties Manukau and Thames Valley unions, while the neighbouring Waikato Chiefs representing the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, King Country, Northland and North Harbour unions. As the amount of international representatives in the Auckland region was thought to be unfair, it was split up between The Blues and The Chiefs. During this era, the Blues played the majority of their home matches at Eden Park, with round robin fixtures occasionally held at Growers Stadium in Pukekohe.

The Blues tasted immediate success, winning the Super 12 back-to-back in 1996 and 1997. In 1996 the side won eight of eleven round robin matches and finished the regular season in second place (behind the Queensland Reds on 41 points. They then went on to defeat Northern Transvaaal, now the Bulls, 48–11 in the semi-final at Eden Park. This result secured a home final, where the Blues comfortably defeated the Sharks 45–21. In 1997, the side improved on their previous season, comfortably topping the table with 50 points after going undefeated in the regular season, the sole blemish on an otherwise perfect season being a draw with Northern Transvaal in a re-match of the previous season's semi-final. The Blues once again easily won their semi-final, defeating the Sharks 55–36 at Eden Park and again securing a home final. The 1997 final was a more hard fought encounter than the previous year's, with the Blues defeating the ACT Brumbies 23–7.

Middle Years (1998–2005)

By the end of the 1990s the number of international representatives from the Blues region had decreased. This led the Blues and the Chiefs to arrange a swap, where the Chiefs would represent the Thames Valley and Counties Manukau provincial unions in exchange for the Blues representing the Northland and North Harbour unions in addition to Auckland. Although in the seasons leading up to the trade North Harbour and Northland had outperformed Counties Manukau and Thames Valley in provincial rugby (thus potentially widening the already sizeable gap between the Blues' and Chiefs' on-field performance), it enabled both teams to represent unions in closer geographical proximity. Because of this trade, the Blues lost the area colloquially referred to as South Auckland , (excluding those portions of the South Auckland to the north of Manurewa). Thus, the Blues traded a portion of South Auckland for the Northern portion of the Auckland region and Northland, and still do not represent the entire Auckland region. Generally supporters in the South Auckland region identify as Blues supporters even though they are technically in the Chiefs region. In 2000, the Auckland Blues dropped the Auckland prefix from their name, and became known simply as 'Blues'.

The 1998 season saw the Blues again top the points table with 43 points at the conclusion of the round robin, with nine wins and two losses to their credit. They defeated the Otago Highlanders by 37–31 in the side's third consecutive home semi-final, securing a home final against the Crusaders, a match which promised a great deal due to Auckland's traditional sporting rivalry with Canterbury. The Crusaders ultimately won the match by 20–13, putting an end to the Blues' dominance of the competition. [ citation needed ]

From 1999 – 2002 the Blues' onfield performance was poor, missing the playoffs every season, finishing at an all-time low of 11th on the ladder in 2001 with just four wins for the season. The club was able to turn its from around in the 2003 season, topping the ladder with 49 points and 10 wins from 11 matches. The team went on to defeat the ACT Brumbies by 42–21 in the semi-final, before beating the Crusaders 21–17 in the final for the team's third Super Rugby title. The Blues were unable to follow their 2003 success up in 2004 and 2005 however, missing the playoffs in both seasons. [ citation needed ]

Super 14 Era (2006–10)

Blues playing against the Crusaders in Eden Park in 2008 Blues vs Crusaders 2008 02.jpg
Blues playing against the Crusaders in Eden Park in 2008

The expanded 14 team competition couldn't have started worse for the Blues, who were in 2006 forced by the NZRU to include North Harbour captain Rua Tipoki in their squad of 24 players who are 'protected' from the draft. Tipoki was originally to be excluded from the draft due to personal circumstances to stay in Auckland. Andrew Mehrtens had in the past done this with the Crusaders. The NZRU however forced coach David Nucifora to pick Tipoki in his 24-man squad and hence drop another player. It is believed the NZRU was in favour of dropping players such as Isa Nacewa who are ineligible to play for the All Blacks. [1] Instead, Nucifora excluded All Black Isaia Toeava, who subsequently played for the Hurricanes in 2006. Following the draft fiasco, and the forgettable season which followed, the Blues showed signs of resurgence in 2007, finishing the round robin in fourth place, securing a semi-final against the Sharks in Durban. The travel and form of the opposition were too difficult to overcome, however, with the Blues losing to the eventual runners-up by 34 – 18. The 2008 season, the final under coach David Nucifora, saw the team finish the season with an 8 – 5 record and a sixth-place finish on the ladder. In 2009, Pat Lam was appointed as coach, however the team was not able to make significant improvements under his leadership for the remainder of Super 14, missing the playoffs in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Super Rugby Era (2011–present)

2011 season

In 2011 the Super Rugby competition was expanded to 15 teams and adopted a conference format. The Blues had a successful start to the season, defeating the Crusaders by 24–22 at Eden Park. This was followed by a win and a loss on their South African tour, followed by a 22-all draw against the Western Force in Perth. This was followed by a seven match winning streak between rounds five and twelve. However, the mid-season winning streak came to an abrupt end with a 37 – 31 loss to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, which initiated a four match losing-streak. In the final round-robin match of the season, the Blues defeated the Highlanders by 33–16 at Eden Park, securing the side's first playoff appearance since 2007 and first home playoff match since 2003. The team subsequently defeated the New South Wales Waratahs 26 – 13 to secure a semi-final against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, which they lost 30–13.

The 2011 season also marked the departure of Kurtis Haiu, who was diagnosed with a bone tumour in April. [2] Following his diagnosis, he took an indefinite break from rugby to focus on his health. [3]

2012 season

2012, the team's fourth season under coach Pat Lam, saw the arrival of former Hurricanes icons, and 2011 Rugby World Cup winners, Ma'a Nonu and Piri Weepu. The regular season began on 24 February against the Crusaders at Eden Park. Following two successive losses to start the season, the side's first victory came away to the Bulls, with starting debutant Gareth Anscombe scoring all of the Blues points in the 29–23 win. In doing so, Anscombe set a team record for most points in a match. [4] In the same match, Rene Ranger became the first Blues player to receive a White Card, which resulted in a two-week suspension. Seven consecutive losses followed, beginning with the Stormers in round four, and finishing with the Hurricanes in round eleven. Growing frustration amongst fans was evident during this period, with racist remarks directed at coach Pat Lam via social media, talkback radio and the Blues own website. [5] [6] Lam, who is of Samoan descent, received support from a number of former Blues players during this period, including Michael Jones and Eroni Clarke. [6] After beating the Lions in round twelve, the Blues suffered the biggest defeat in club history with a 59 – 12 loss away to the Crusaders, which was followed by losses at home to the Highlanders and table-topping Chiefs. The Blues finished the season on a high note, with wins against the Western Force and Brumbies.

On 17 July, Pat Lam was released. On the same day, Sir John Kirwan was appointed as head coach for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. [7] In August, the Blues' full coaching staff for the 2013 season was announced, with Sir Graham Henry taking on a role as technical advisor and defensive coach, Mick Byrne appointed forwards and kicking coach, and Grant Doorey appointed skills and backline coach. [8]

2013 season

The 2013 season saw an all new Blues team with many players leaving, including Ma'a Nonu to the Highlanders [9] and Gareth Anscombe to the Chiefs. [10] On the morning of 31 October 2012 new coach Sir John Kirwan announced the 2013 Blues squad which included 14 Super Rugby debutants, and Ali Williams taking over as captain. [11] Handed a bye on the first round the Blues started the regular season on 23 February 2013 with a 34–20 away win against the Hurricanes, followed by a 34–15 home win against the Crusaders the next week. 3 consecutive losses followed, including the Bulls first victory at Eden Park. [12] The Blues regained some form again, winning 4 of the next 5 games. Beating the Highlanders at home and completing the double over the Hurricanes with a 28–6 win at Eden Park before losing a close game against the Reds. The Blues then defeated both the Stormers and the Rebels before losing 3 games in a row to the Crusaders, Brumbies, and Highlanders respectively. The Blues then travelled to South Africa with two must win games against the Sharks and the Cheetahs, unfortunately losing both and ending the Blues chances of making the play-offs. Ali Williams played his 100th game for the Blues against the Sharks. [13] The Blues returned to New Zealand with a last home game against the already play-off qualified Chiefs. Despite a red card to Kane Barrett for stomping in the 23rd minute, the Blues played a remarkably strong game, taking the lead just after half-time but a yellow card to first-five Baden Kerr struck another blow for the Blues. The mounting Chiefs pressure paid off resulting in a Ben Tameifuna try with 17 minutes to go, winning the game for the Chiefs. The Blues walked off the field to a standing ovation from their fans, the first time an Eden Park crowd had been upstanding for a defeat. [14]

The Blues finished the season in 10th place, with 6 players earning All Black call ups and Frank Halai as the team's top try scorer scoring 10 tries in his debut season. They signed international super star Benji Marshall for the 2014 season (only to return to league with the Dragons halfway through it) and Ma'a Nonu for two seasons starting in 2014.

2014 season

The Blues 2014 season started with coach Sir John Kirwan announcing 6 new players to the squad including three All Blacks with the return of Ma'a Nonu and Tony Woodcock after they both played with the Highlanders for a season, and Jerome Kaino. This also included former NRL player Benji Marshall who had previously played with the Wests Tigers for 10 years. [15]

The Blues season started with an away loss to the Highlanders, going down 29–21. The next week they played their first home game of the season at Eden Park, defeating the Crusaders 35–24. They travelled to South Africa for two games against the Sharks and the Lions, losing both games but coming away with a losing bonus point against the Lions. They returned to New Zealand for two home games against the Cheetahs and the Highlanders, both of which they won bringing the up to 6th place on the ladder. The team travelled to Canberra to face the Brumbies and were defeated 26–9, and were defeated again by the Hurricanes in wellington after a bye week. This was followed by two home games against the Waratahs and the Reds, winning both and coming away with a bonus point win against the Reds. They then lost their next two games going down to the Chiefs and the Sharks, picking up a losing bonus point against the Sharks. They returned to Eden park to defeat the Hurricanes, followed by a bonus point win in Perth against the Western Force. This put them into 8th place on the ladder with two games to play in the regular season before finals, needing to place in the top 6 for a spot in the play-offs. They went down to the Crusaders in Christchurch meaning that in order to make the finals they needed to win their final game against the Chiefs who were in the same situation. They lost their final game against the Chiefs going down 11–8, putting them out of the finals and ending a 6-game winning streak at Eden Park for the season. The Blues finished 10th overall and 5th place in the New Zealand conference. [16]

Ihaia West, Patrick Tuipulotu, Benji Marshall, and Tom Donnelly all made their Blues super rugby debut in the 2014 season.

2015 season

The 2015 season started with coach Sir John Kirwan announcing the Blues squad, with the inclusion of 11 new players after losing 12 players including Ma'a Nonu and Piri Weepu, who both played over 100 super rugby games. [17]

The Blues season started with a loss to the Chiefs, going down 23–18, picking up a losing bonus point. This was followed by an unsuccessful tour of South Africa, going down to the Stormers and Cheetahs, coming away with a single bonus point from a 25–24 loss to the Cheetahs. This was followed by 4 consecutive losses against the Lions, Hurricanes , Waratahs and Chiefs, 3 of which they picked up a losing bonus point. Their first win of the season came against the Brumbies at Eden Park with a 16–14 victory, ending the Blues 9 game losing streak. This was followed by consecutive losses against the Highlanders and Crusaders, picking up a bonus point against the Highlanders. This was followed by a strong 41–24 win against the Force. Their next game against the Rebels was their final away game of the season, they went down 42–22, ending the season with no away wins, having only won 2 away games in the last 3 years. Their final 4 games were all at home with high hopes of finishing the season on a high. They won the first game 23–18 against the South African conference leaders the Bulls, however this was their last win of the season going down in their final 3 games against the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders. This ended the franchises worst super rugby season, [18] ending in 14th place ahead of the Force, with just 3 from 16 wins for the season.

The end of the season was marked by the resignation of coach Sir John Kirwan, who had been with the team for the last three years winning just 17 out of 58 games. The Blues signed former All Black captain Tana Umaga to replace Sir John Kirwan as head coach of the Blues. [19]

2016 season

2017 season

On 7 June the Blues defeated the British and Irish Lions 22–26 at Eden Park.

On 15 July they lost to the Sunwolves by 48–21. [20]

Season-by-Season summary

Super 12Super 14Super Rugby

A season-by-season summary of Blues regular season results and playoff fixtures is shown below:

Season-by-Season Results
YearPlayedWinDrawLossPFPADiffBPPointsPlacePlayoffs
199611803408354+549411st(defeated Sharks in final)
1997111010435283+1528501st(defeated Brumbies in final)
199811902388298+907432nd(lost to Crusaders in final)
199911416202201+15239th
200011605300262+386306th
200111407243298−5552111th
200211605318249+695296th
2003111001393185+2089491st(defeated Crusaders in final)
200411614337309+286325th
200511605243216+273277th
200613607290348−585298th
200713904355235+1206424th(lost to Sharks in semi-final)
200813805354267+878406th
200913508339369−3012329th
201013706376333+439377th
2011161015405335+7010604th(lost to Reds in semi-final)
2012 164012359430−7183212th
2013 166010347364−17124410th
201416709419395+2493710th
2015163013282428−14682014th
201615816374380−653911th
201715717425391+347379th
2018164012378509-13162214th
2019165110347369-2283013th

Results per opposition

Blues Super Rugby results vs different opponents

Super Rugby
OppositionSpanPlayedWonDrawnLostWin%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Chiefs 1996–2020331112133.3%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Crusaders 1996–2020351102431.4%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Highlanders 1996-2019331701651.5%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Hurricanes 1996–2020331511745.5%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Brumbies 1996-2019241401058.3%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Western Force 2006-20171191181.8%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Rebels 2011-2018740357.1%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Reds 1996–2019241121145.8%
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Waratahs 1996-202025170868.0%
Flag of South Africa.svg Bulls 1996-202023142760.9%
Flag of South Africa.svg Cheetahs 1997-20171180372.7%
Flag of South Africa.svg Lions 1996-202022150768.2%
Flag of South Africa.svg Sharks 1996-201925901636.0%
Flag of South Africa.svg Southern Kings 20161100100.0%
Flag of South Africa.svg Stormers 1996-2020221201054.5%
Flag of Argentina.svg Jaguares 2016-2019310233.3%
Flag of Japan.svg Sunwolves 2017-2019320166.7%
Overall1996–2020335171715751.0%
Updated to: 15 March 2020

Honours

Super 12/14 (1996–2010)

1996, 1997, 2003

1998

2007

Super Rugby (2011–present)

2011

World Club 10s

2014

Brisbane Global Tens

2018

Rivalries

Overall the Blues have dated rivalries with all other New Zealand-based Super Rugby teams (Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders), however a notable trophy is contested between the Blues and Highlanders. The Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy is contested between the Blues and Highlanders as a part of regular season fixtures between the two sides. The trophy is awarded in memory of Gordon Hunter, who had been head coach of both teams prior to his passing in 2002.

Stadium

The team's primary home ground is Eden Park, located in the central Auckland suburb of Kingsland. The stadium has a capacity of 50,000. In addition to hosting Blues home matches, the ground is the home of the Auckland Rugby Football Union and Auckland Cricket, and is a frequent host of All Blacks matches, and hosted the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-finals, third-place playoff, and final. [21]

In addition to Eden Park, Blues home matches are occasionally held at North Harbour Stadium, home of the North Harbour Rugby Union, and Okara Park, home of the Northland Rugby Union.

Auckland Albany Whangarei
Eden Park QBE Stadium Northland Events Centre
Capacity: 50,000Capacity: 30,000Capacity: 18,500
Auckland EdenPark.jpg North harbour stadium.JPG Whangarei view from parahki.JPG

Franchise area and ownership

The Blues represent the Auckland, North Harbour, and Northland rugby unions. Since 2014 the club until 2020 has been owned 60% (divided 65%, 29% and 6%) by the three unions, through Rugby Holdings Ltd., and 40% by private investor Bolton Equities Ltd. The previous Blues (and Auckland Rugby Football Union) CEO was Michael Redman, who was formerly CEO of the New Zealand Breakers basketball team. The current board is made up of six members. Don Mackinnon, also a former New Zealand Netball and High Performance Sport NZ director, took over in 2019 as Blues Chairman from Tony Carter who chaired the board since it became a stand-alone organisation in 2013. The current board includes John Hart, Sam Lotu-liga, Richard Dellabarca, Kate Daly, Grant Graham and Brian Wilsher.

Andrew Hore took up the top job as CEO of the Blues in October 2019. Hore beat off serious competition from 70 applicants to become Blues CEO and believes glory days can return to the team's home ground of Eden Park. Hore was previously CEO at the Ospreys in Wales before going on to turn around the New South Wales Waratahs and NSW Rugby before deciding it was time to return to New Zealand to the Blues' challenge.

Development team

The Blues have fielded a development team in competitions such as the Pacific Rugby Cup and in matches against other representative teams for several seasons. Known as the Blues Development XV, the squad is selected from the best emerging rugby talent in the Blues catchment area and is composed of Blues contracted players, wider training group members, under 20s, and selected club players. [22] [23]

Players

Current squad

The squad for the 2020 Super Rugby season: [24] [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2] [lower-alpha 3] [lower-alpha 4] [lower-alpha 5] [lower-alpha 6]

Blues Super Rugby squad

Props

Hookers

Locks

Loose forwards

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

Midfielders (Centres)

Outside backs

(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped, DEV denotes a development squad player, ST denotes a short-term signing, SRA denotes a signing for the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
  1. Baden Wardlaw was originally named in the Blues squad, but subsequently announced his retirement from rugby in late-November 2019. [25]
  2. 1 2 Carroll was not included in the original Blues squad, but subsequently joined the side in late-November 2019 as a replacement for Wardlaw. [26]
  3. 1 2 Tolai was not included in the original Blues squad, but was announced in the team for round 5. [27]
  4. 1 2 3 Walsh & Caird were not included in the original Blues squad, but were announced in the team for round 7. [28]
  5. 1 2 Carter was not included in the original Blues squad, but was announced in the squad for the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. [29]
  6. 1 2 Tua was not included in the original Blues squad, but was announced in the squad for the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. [30]

Players that have represented the All Blacks

87 officially recognized Blues players have gone on to represent the All Blacks as of the 2017 season. There have been a total of 268 players to have played for the Blues which means that 30% of all Blues over two decades have either represented the All Blacks or have gone on to represent them.

2019 coaching staff

Captains

Coaches

Blues coaches by date, matches and win percentage*
CoachPeriodGWDL%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Sir Graham Henry 1996–1998393216082.05
Flag of New Zealand.svg Jed Rowlands 199911416036.36
Flag of New Zealand.svg Gordon Hunter 200011605054.55
Flag of New Zealand.svg Frank Oliver 200111407036.36
Flag of New Zealand.svg Peter Sloane 2002–20054630115065.22
Flag of Australia (converted).svg David Nucifora 2006–20084023017057.50
Flag of Samoa.svg Pat Lam 2009–20126431132048.44
Flag of New Zealand.svg Sir John Kirwan 2013–20155018032036.00
Flag of New Zealand.svg Tana Umaga 2016–20184619225041.30
Flag of New Zealand.svg Leon MacDonald 2019–present2310112043.48
Totals (1996–present) * 3351717157051.04
Updated to: 15 March 2020

Notes:

^* Official Super Rugby competition matches only, including finals.

Records and achievements

Individual records

Most appearances

#PlayerApps.Span
1. Keven Mealamu 1642000–2001; 2003–2015
2. Jerome Kaino 1392004−2012; 2014−2018
3. Tony Woodcock 1372002–2012; 2014–2015
4. James Parsons 1112012−Present
5. Ali Williams 1022002−2013
6. John Afoa 1012004–2011
7. Charlie Faumuina 992009–2017
8. Doug Howlett 971999–2007
9. Carlos Spencer 961996–2005
Joe Rokocoko 962003–2011

Most points

#PlayerPts.Span
1. Adrian Cashmore 6191996–2000
2. Carlos Spencer 6081996–2005
3. Luke McAlister 3892004–2007; 2010–2011
4. Ihaia West 3412014−2017
5. Doug Howlett 2751999−2007
6. Joeli Vidiri 2151996−2001
7. Isa Nacewa 2082005−2008
8. Joe Rokocoko 1952003−2011
9. Stephen Brett 1912010−2011
10. Rieko Ioane 1852016–Present

Most tries

#PlayerTriesSpan
1. Doug Howlett 551999–2007
2. Joeli Vidiri 431996–2001
3. Joe Rokocoko 392003–2011
4. Rieko Ioane 372016–Present
5. Rene Ranger 282009–2013, 2016–2017
6. Carlos Spencer 251996–2005
7. Rudi Wulf 202005; 2007–10; 2012
George Moala 202012–2018
9. Isaia Toeava 182007–2012
10. Mils Muliaina 162001–2005

Most points in a match

#PlayerPts.OppositionYear
1. Gareth Anscombe 29 Bulls 2012
2. Adrian Cashmore 27 Highlanders 1998
3. Stephen Brett 26 Lions 2010
4. Adrian Cashmore 24 Bulls 1998
5. Carlos Spencer 23 Western Province 1996
Nick Evans 23 Highlanders 2008

Most tries in a match

TriesPlayerOppositionYear
4 Joeli Vidiri Bulls 2000
Doug Howlett Hurricanes 2002
Mils Muliaina Bulls 2002
Rieko Ioane Sunwolves 2019
3 Joeli Vidiri Waratahs 1996
Mark Carter Stormers 1998
Rupeni Caucaunibuca Crusaders 2004
Rua Tipoki Western Force 2006
Joe Rokocoko Cheetahs 2008
Joe Rokocoko Western Force 2010
Frank Halai Melbourne Rebels 2013
Rieko Ioane Melbourne Rebels 2017

Mark Telea Waratahs. 2019

Most points in a season

#PlayerPts.Year
1. Adrian Cashmore 1801998
2. Nick Evans 1502008
3. Carlos Spencer 1432003
4. Adrian Cashmore 1421997
5. Stephen Brett 1412010
6. Luke McAlister 1372011
7. Ihaia West 1302016
8. Simon Hickey 1242014
9. Adrian Cashmore 1181999
10. Jimmy Gopperth 1042009

Most tries in a season

TriesPlayerYear
12 Doug Howlett 2003
10 Joeli Vidiri 1996
Joeli Vidiri 1997
Joeli Vidiri 1998
Doug Howlett 2002
Frank Halai 2013
Rieko Ioane 2017

Team Records [4]

All time record

Record updated as of Round 9 v Brumbies, 2017

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The 1998 Super 12 season was the third season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1998, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals, with the first placed team playing the fourth and the second placed team playing the third. The winner of each semi final qualified for the final, which was contested by the Auckland Blues and the Canterbury Crusaders at Eden Park, Auckland. The Canterbury Crusaders won 20 – 13 to win their first Super 12 title.

Mark Garry 'Hammer' Hammett is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former player. Having represented Canterbury provincially 76 times, and the Crusaders 81 times and the All Blacks 30 times – including 29 Test matches, Hammett later went on to coach both Canterbury and Crusaders as a forwards/assistant coach. He is currently on the assistant coach of the Highlanders in Super Rugby and the Tasman Makos in the Mitre 10 Cup.

The history of the Highlanders focuses on the rugby union team in the Super Rugby competitions. The team was originally formed as one of five New Zealand franchises for the Super 12 in 1996. The team encompassed the provinces of North Otago, Otago and Southland. The Highlanders placed eighth in their first year with five wins, but slumped to last in the competition in 1997 with only three wins. They improved to qualify for their first semi-final in 1998, and became the first New Zealand team to defeat all four South African franchises in the process. They were defeated by eventual 1998 Champions the Auckland Blues in their semi-final however. Their best ever finish came in 1999 when they won eight matches, and their semi-final to host the 1999 Super 12 Final at Carisbrook, but lost to South Island rivals Crusaders in the match. They qualified for their third consecutive semi-finals in 2000, and this time played the Crusaders in Christchurch, but lost again.

Aaron Cruden New Zealand rugby union player

Aaron Wiremu Cruden is a New Zealand rugby union player, who plays for Chiefs and formerly Montpellier, Manawatu and New Zealand internationally. Cruden's usual position is first five-eighth.

2013 Super Rugby season rugby competition

The 2013 Super Rugby season was the third season of the new 15-team format for the Super Rugby competition involving teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The tournament was won by the Chiefs, who defeated the Canberra-based Brumbies 27–22 in the competition final. For sponsorship reasons, this competition is known as FxPro Super Rugby in Australia, Investec Super Rugby in New Zealand and Vodacom Super Rugby in South Africa. Including the past incarnations as Super 12 and Super 14, this was the 18th season of the Southern Hemisphere's premier domestic competition. Conference matches took place every weekend from 15 February until 13 July – with a break between rounds 17 and 18 for internationals games – followed by the play-offs series that culminated in the final on 3 August.

The 2014 Super Rugby season is the fourth season of the 15-team format for the Super Rugby competition involving teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. For sponsorship reasons, this competition is known as Asteron Life Super Rugby in Australia, Investec Super Rugby in New Zealand and Vodacom Super Rugby in South Africa. Including its past incarnations as Super 12 and Super 14, this is the 19th season for the Southern Hemisphere's premier transnational club competition. The conference games will take place every weekend from 15 February until 12 July, followed by the finals series, culminating in the grand final on 2 August. The winners of the 2014 Super Rugby Season were the New South Wales Waratahs

The 2015 Super Rugby season was the 20th season of Super Rugby and the fifth season featuring an expanded 15-team format. For sponsorship reasons, this competition was known as Asteron Life Super Rugby in Australia, Investec Super Rugby in New Zealand and Vodacom Super Rugby in South Africa. The round-robin matches took place every weekend from 13 February until 13 June, followed by the finals series and culminating in the final on 4 July. This was the final season that featured a 15-team format.

The 2014 Super Rugby Final, was played between the New South Wales Waratahs from Australia and the Crusaders from New Zealand on 2 August 2014. It was the 19th final in the Super Rugby competition's history and the fourth under the expanded 15-team format. The Waratahs had qualified in first place during the regular season, while the Crusaders had qualified in second place. Both teams hosted semi-final matches, with the Waratahs defeating fellow Australian team the Brumbies in Sydney and the Crusaders defeating South African team the Sharks in Christchurch. As the Waratahs had qualified higher, the final was held in Sydney.

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Preceded by
Inaugural Champions
2002Crusaders
Super 12 Champions
1996 (first title) – 1997 (second title)
2003 (third title)
Succeeded by
1998Crusaders
2004Brumbies