Rugby is absolutely everywhere in New Zealand! Maybe you have heard talk of the All Blacks or the Haka? These are both part of this sport, that in New Zealand is seen as a way of life. It is unofficially our national sport and most kiwis absolutely love it. You would have to hide under a rock to not hear something about rugby while studying in NZ. The All Blacks are our national team; the best of the best. We might like to believe that All Black's are born, but really, the players have to start somewhere, and that’s what we call the Super Rugby competition.
Super Rugby is the professional men's rugby competition in the Southern Hemisphere, also including Japan. The competition started in 1996 with 12 teams from NZ, Australia and South Africa and was known as Super 12 through until 2005 when the name was changed to Super 14 to allow for two new teams. In 2011 the competition was re-branded again as Super Rugby. The 2016 season saw teams from Argentina and Japan join the competition.
In New Zealand the teams are separated out by geographic location. The teams are widely followed and the competition between the NZ teams in the 2017 season was intense. In the North Island Auckland is represented by the Blues, Chiefs represent Waikato and the Hurricanes are located in Wellington. Heading south, the Crusaders are Christchurch's team, the Highlanders are based in Otago.
New Zealand, especially Canterbury, was ecstatic when the Crusaders won the title this year, making it the eighth time they have won the Super Rugby title in its history. It was a nail-biting final over in Johannesburg against the South African Lions team, with a final score 25-17. The Crusaders went unbeaten all season within the Super Rugby competition. The team feature several current All Blacks players.
Even if sport is not your thing, make sure you check out a rugby game while you are here! It is quite the experience!