Super 14 franchise areas

Super 14 franchise areas

The Super 14 competition in rugby union, including teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, is based on a franchise system of teams representing substantial regions of the three participating countries. This article provides specific detail as to the areas covered by each Super 14 franchise.

Australia

Traditionally, Australia has not had a national rugby competition, with the game being structured around regional club competitions. Instead, the four Australian Super 14 franchises have evolved from traditional state and territory representative sides. The rugby power bases of New South Wales, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory are joined by Western Australia as the franchise locations:
*Brumbies — Australian Capital Territory and Southern New South Wales, including the Riverina
*New South Wales Waratahs — most of New South Wales, including metropolitan Sydney
*Queensland Reds — Queensland
*Western Force — Western Australia

There are four states and territories which do not have a franchise:
*Victoria — Australia's second most populous state, but Australian rules football is the dominant sport. The Victorian Rugby Union bid for Australia's fourth Super 14 team but failed, the franchise going to Western Australia.
*South Australia — a substantial market, but again Australian rules football is the main sport.
*Tasmania — a small market, though larger than the ACT (but less geographically concentrated). Australian rules football is the main football code.
*Northern Territory — Australia's least populous state or territory.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, each of the country's five Super 14 franchises are linked with several provincial unions in the country's two domestic competitions, the professional Air New Zealand Cup and amateur Heartland Championship. For all practical purposes, all Super 14 players will be drawn from the Air New Zealand Cup sides. Each franchise is entitled to draw players from any of its member unions without any player draft or negotiations with another franchise. The specific unions linked to each franchise are:
*Blues
**Air New Zealand Cup:
***Auckland
***North Harbour
***Northland
*Chiefs
**Air New Zealand Cup:
***Bay of Plenty
***Counties Manukau
***Waikato
**Heartland Championship:
***King Country
***Thames Valley
*Crusaders
**Air New Zealand Cup:
***Canterbury
***Tasman (formed by merger of Marlborough and Nelson Bays)
**Heartland Championship:
***Buller
***Mid Canterbury
***South Canterbury
***West Coast
*Highlanders
**Air New Zealand Cup:
***Otago
***Southland
**Heartland Championship:
***North Otago
*Hurricanes
**Air New Zealand Cup:
***Hawke's Bay
***Manawatu
***Taranaki
***Wellington
**Heartland Championship:
***East Coast
***Horowhenua-Kapiti
***Poverty Bay
***Wairarapa Bush
***Wanganui

outh Africa

South Africa operates its Super 14 system in basically the same manner as in New Zealand, with each franchise linked with one or more unions in the country's domestic competition, the Currie Cup.

The country currently has five franchises. The four franchises from the Super 12 era—the Bulls, Cats (now the Lions), Sharks and Stormers—were joined in 2006 by the Central Cheetahs. Their identities are largely based around the 5 traditional powers of the Currie Cup competition; the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Natal Sharks, Western Province and Free State Cheetahs respectively. The sixth franchise, the Southern Spears of the Southern and Eastern Cape region, became a major bone of contention in South African rugby. Originally, the Spears were entrenched in the 2007 and 2008 Super 14. To make room for the Spears, a promotion/relegation process was to be instituted in 2006 to determine which team would not participate in the following season's Super 14. The entrenchment of the Spears proved highly controversial; after allegations of financial mismanagement and poor results against other South African sides, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) decided on 19 April 2006 to scrap its original plan to admit the Spears in 2007.

The High Court of South Africa gave the Spears a potential reprieve in August 2006 when it ruled that the Spears had a valid contract with SARU and its commercial arm, SA Rugby, to enter both the Currie Cup and Super 14. Both the SARU and SA Rugby planned to appeal this decision. In November 2006, all parties involved reached a settlement; the Spears dropped their suit and abandoned any attempts to enter the Super 14. [cite web| work=Planet-Rugby.com | title=Spears abandon their Super conquest | url=http://www.planet-rugby.com/Teams/South_Africa/story_55239.shtml | date=2006-11-16 | accessdate=2006-11-22] Still later, the Spears were liquidated.

The unions linked to each franchise are:
*Bulls
**Blue Bulls (Pretoria and Limpopo Province; home matches in Pretoria)
**Falcons (East Rand; home matches in Brakpan)
*Central Cheetahs
**Free State Cheetahs (central and western Free State; home matches in Bloemfontein)
**Griffons (northern Free State; home matches in Welkom)
**Griquas (Northern Cape; home matches in Kimberley)
*Lions (known as Cats through the 2006 season)
**Golden Lions (Johannesburg)
**Leopards (North West; home matches in Potchefstroom)
**Pumas (Mpumalanga; home matches in Witbank)
*Sharks
**Natal Sharks (KwaZulu-Natal; home matches in Durban)
*Stormers
**Boland Cavaliers (northern Western Cape; home matches in Wellington)
**Western Province (Cape Town)

*The Southern Spears were intended to draw players from the following unions:
**Border Bulldogs (eastern Eastern Cape; home matches in East London)
**Eagles (Western Cape east of Cape Town; home matches in George)
**Mighty Elephants (western Eastern Cape; home matches in Port Elizabeth):Since the Spears never joined Super Rugby, the SARU and SA Rugby must now determine how to reincorporate players from the Spears region to the other franchises.

Notes and references

ee also

* Super 14
* Rugby union in Australia
* Rugby union in New Zealand
* Rugby union in South Africa


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