Teams from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will all be represented during the finals series. The deciding final will take place on August 4, and you won’t miss a minute of the action when watching at home on TV or streaming the match Live to a mobile device.
2018 Super Rugby Finals Preview
The 2018 Super Rugby season was the 23rd edition of the tournament. New Zealand’s Crusaders are the defending champions, after they travelled to Johannesburg to beat the Lions 25-17 in last season’s televised Super Grand final. Some major changes were made to the format of the tournament this season; after two years of an expanded 18-team format, the league will reverted back to 15 teams, split into three separate conferences; the New Zealand Conference, the Australian Conference (which includes Japan’s Sunwolves), and the South African Conference (which includes Argentina’s Jaguares). After 18 rounds of regular season competition, in which each team played 16 games, the top teams from each conference will advance to the finals, as will five ‘wildcard’ teams made up of the five teams with the next best records overall. The first round sees the “Qualifiers”, which are followed by the Semi-Finals and then the Grand Final.
When: February 18 – August 4 (AU time)
Where: Australia, Argentina, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa
Heading into the finals series, the Crusaders, last year’s Champions, are the overwhelming favourites after a dominant season which saw them lose just two games. If they can salute once again in 2018, it will be their ninth Super Rugby Championship, three times as many as their nearest rivals. The Hurricanes, who have won the tournament on just a solitary occasion, are comfortably viewed as the next best chance, further confirming the dominance of New Zealand teams in the competition. Last year’s runners-up in the Lions, from South Africa, are carrying the hopes of non-New Zealand teams, and despite going just 9-7 throughout the regular season are given some chance of challenging for their first ever title.
Super Rugby 2018 LIVE TV Times (AEST)
Saturday 4 August: Crusaders vs Lions at 5.35pm
Shown as Sydney time, adjust for regional differences. Super Rugby Finals replays available at designated times following the live matches.
Super Rugby Live Streaming and a Free Trial
You won’t find this year’s Super Rugby free to air in Australia, but Fox Sports 501 (Foxtel) will broadcast each and every match LIVE, in HD, and ad-break free during play.
So if you’re a resident of Australia you may wish to review the Foxtel Sports Combo pack, which offers Super Ruby live online streaming options and has no lock-in contract if trialled by August 18. With the Sports Combo you can watch the action in the comfort of your home, or if you’re out and about you can stream Super Rugby free using the Foxtel App.
Super Rugby Rivalries
Crusaders vs Highlanders – This matchup is the battle for supremacy on the South Island of New Zealand. The Crusaders represent the north side of the island and the Highlanders the south, but further to this the two teams are a professional representation of the amateur rivalry between Otago University in Dunedin, and Canterbury University in Christchurch. Last season, these two sides met in a fiery quarter final which saw the Crusaders crush the Highlanders 17-0.
Bulls vs Sharks – This is a rivalry which transcends rugby. All sides in South Africa have a healthy combination of respect and hatred for one another, but the animosity between these two sides is on another level. Games between these two teams are games between Durban and Pretoria; between Rooinek and Boer, between the English and the Dutch. Neither of them had a great season in 2017 – the Sharks were knocked out in the first round of the finals and the Bulls didn’t make it – but both have a proud history and will be keen for redemption.
Reds vs Waratahs – Of course, no rivalry list would be complete without a couple of proud Australian sides, and the Reds and the Waratahs are exactly that. The Queensland vs New South Wales rivalry has a long and tumultuous history, and this is the Super Rugby incarnation of that struggle. Both teams have had an unsuccessful past couple of years which has dampened the spirit of the contest somewhat, but when they return to their full powers, there is no doubting it will return to its best.
Super Rugby Finals 2018 Schedule
Per prior licensing agreement, Super Rugby Finals are not available on free to air in Australia.
Saturday 21 July Qualifiers: TBC
Saturday 28 July Semi Finals: Winner QF 1 vs Winner QF 4 TBA
Sunday 29 July Semi Finals: Winner QF 2 vs Winner QF 3 TBA
Saturday 4 August Grand Final: Winner SF 1 vs Winner SF 2 TBA