As 2016 edges closer, so does the next exciting season of Super Rugby. The franchise has expanded to 18 teams across the Antipodean, Pacific and Japan. The teams from the Southern hemisphere have a strong depth of talent with New Zealand and Australia both playing as finalists in the 2015 World Cup and New Zealand ultimately being crowned as champions. South Africa still made it to the finals, but fell short in their quest for World Cup glory. Furthermore, history will be made as the first Japanese team contests in the Super Rugby tournament. Additionally, Buenos Aires based Super Rugby team ‘The Argentine’ will also be making their debut in the tournament in 2016. The rugby community will watch in awe as the talent within the Super Rugby teams vye for the title in the coming seasons. Super Rugby betting in 2016 should present some interesting odds as both bookies and punters will need to make some tough calls to decide which teams will be serious contenders for the title. All of the action will kick off on Friday the 26th in 2016.
Who are the teams to watch out for?
The Hurricanes – New Zealand
The team finished runners up after successfully finishing the top of the regular playing season in first place. Coach Chris Boyd believes that the team will continue to build momentum off the back of their success last season with 30 returning squad members from last years team and 9 new recruits. The team will boast 6 players from the World Cup winning All Blacks team, putting them as strong contenders to take out the 2016 title.
The Highlanders – New Zealand.
The Highlanders beat the odds in the 2015 season to claim the title and be crowned Super Rugby champions. The team has announced a 38-man squad for the 2016 season and have bolstered their lineup with young and exciting midfielders and forwards. The team will start as heavy favourites and will be the ones for the other teams to catch in 2016.
The Stormers – South Africa
The Stormers have been a formidable force in rugby and should be considered as a serious threat to take out the title under legendary Australian rugby coach Eddie Jones. The Stormers camp is excited to have Eddie on board, who in turn is excited at the prospect of developing his young squad of talented players over the coming seasons. Jones will be taking the Stormers into a new era without experienced Springbok stars Jean de Villiers and Duane Vermeulen. Even with the exit of these stars from the team, the Stormers are likely to be a strong force in the 2016 competition.
Brumbies – Australia
The Brumbies tend to have a strong team that has the capability to perform well, but have lacked the magic that has taken them to the finals and the Super Rugby titles in the past. Under the guidance of legendary Australian Wallaby Stephen Larkham as the team’s head coach, the Brumbies will be keen to get a good start to the season as they face off against last year’s finalists The Hurricanes in their first fixture. With players such as Jarrad Butler who has also been eyed out for a Wallabies spot, we may see him shine as a player and help lift the team to greater heights during the next season.
Chiefs – New Zealand
After a strong finish in the 2015 season, the Chiefs will be another formidable side to contest the Super Rugby title. They still remain the only team to win titles back to back and despite their fifth place finish in the 2015 season, Head coach Dave Rennie believes that the 2016 team has a good blend of experience with enthusiastic debutants.
Of the 18 teams that will take part in the competition, the title could be anybody’s for the taking. Historically, the New Zealand teams have provided strong rugby teams that generally occupy the top spots with the Australian and South African teams also gaining a few top places here and there. It’s anyone’s game with the new 18 team format and travel demands that each team faces.