Super Rugby – 2016 Season Preview – Africa 2 Conference

The following is a team-by-team preview of the Africa 2 Conference for the 2016 Super Rugby season. The Africa 2 Conference consists of the Jaguares, Kings, Lions and Sharks.

These details will be updated as more information becomes available. All new and departed players lists are sourced from Wikipedia.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our Super Rugby 2016 futures tips.

New Competition Format

Due to the addition of three new teams, the regular and post season formats have been changed. There are now two regional groups: the Australasian Group, which consists of the five Australian and five New Zealand franchises, and the South African Group, which consists of six South African sides along with the Jaguares from Argentina and the Sunwolves from Japan.

There are now four conferences instead of three. The Australian and New Zealand conferences remain unchanged, while the South African conference has been split into two, named Africa 1 and Africa 2. The Africa 1 Conference consists of the Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers and Sunwolves, while Africa 2 consists of the Jaguares, Kings, Lions and Sharks.

Regular Season

The regular season will consist of 17 rounds. Each team will receive two byes so each side will play 15 games as opposed to 16 last year.

Each team’s schedule consists of:

– 6 intra-conference matches. In the four-team conferences, each team will play each other home and away. In the five-team conferences, each team will play two opponents home and away and once against the other two teams, one at home and one away.

– 9 inter-conference matches. Each team will play the other teams in their regional group once. They will also play against each team from one of the two conferences in the other group. For 2016, the teams in the Africa 1 Conference will play each team in the Australian Conference, while teams in Africa 2 will play each team from New Zealand.

Post Season

The top team in each of the four conferences will automatically qualify to host a quarter final as the #1-#4 seeds. They will be seeded order of competition points.

The next top three teams from the Australasian Group and the next best team from the South African group will qualify as the #5-#8 seeds. They too will be seeded in order of competition points.

The 1st seed will play the 8th seed, the 2nd seed will play the 7th seed, and so on.

The quarter final winners will progress to the semi-finals, where the highest seed to reach the semis will host the lowest seed, while the the second highest seed will host the third highest seed.

The winners of the semi-finals will progress to the final, which will be hosted by the highest-seeded semi-final winner.

Team-By-Team Previews

Click here to compare Super Rugby futures odds.



  • Futures Odds: 14.775 (Betfair)
  • Rugby Vision Title Winning Probability: 3.7% (equates to fair odds of 27.03)
  • Rugby Vision Wooden Spoon Probability: 0.9% (equates to fair odds of 111.11)
  • 2015 Season: The Jaguares did not participate in the 2015 season.
  • Head Coach: Raúl Pérez
  • Captain(s): Agustín Creevy
  • Internationally Capped Players: 34
  • Key Departures: N/A
  • Key New Players: Ramiro Herrera (France), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (France), Agustín Creevy (England), Juan Cruz Guillemaín (France), Tomás Lavanini (France), Juan Manuel Leguizamón (France), Leonardo Senatore (England), Juan Martín Hernández (France), Nicolás Sánchez (France), Joaquín Tuculet (Wales)
  • Pre-season Results Stormers 29-14 Jaguares
  • Causes for Optimism The squad is exclusively made up of Argentinian players, the majority of whom are capped with Los Pumas. The Kings look weak this year, which will provide a genuine opportunity for the new side to pick up two wins. They will also play the Sunwolves.
  • Causes for Concern New teams tend to struggle in their first season of Super Rugby. The Jaguares looked really poor in their pre-season clash with the Stormers, so it may take a few weeks for them to get up to speed.
  • Summary The side is packed with players from the Argentine national team, who have plenty of experience playing the likes of the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies, so they won’t be overawed in their opening season. The Janguares are odds on to make the playoffs in their debut season, which doesn’t surprise me given the strength of the squad, however their pre-season form is a concern.




  • Futures Odds: 501.00 (Luxbet)
  • Rugby Vision Title Winning Probability: <0.1% (equates to fair odds of >1000.00)
  • Rugby Vision Wooden Spoon Probability: 33.5% (equates to fair odds of 2.99)
  • 2015 Season: The Kings did not participate in the 2015 season.
  • Head Coach: Deon Davids
  • Captain(s): Steven Sykes
  • Internationally Capped Players: 2
  • Key Departures: N/A
  • Key New Players: Jacobie Adriaanse (France), Philip du Preez (France)
  • Pre-season Results Cheetahs 21-11 Kings, SWD Eagles 16-22 Kings
  • Causes for Optimism The Kings have been drawn into the Africa 2 conference, which features fellow debutantes the Jaguares.
  • Causes for Concern On paper the squad looks weak, with no Springboks in the side. The team is made almost entirely of players from the provincial side, the Eastern Province Kings, which could only finish 7th in the Currie Cup Premier Division last year. The South African Rugby Union took over the running of the franchise in 2015 when the it ran into financial difficulties. Brent Janse van Rensberg was appointed as head coach but resigned less than a month later.
  • Summary The Kings are my pick for the competition wooden spoon. The one thing that may save them is the fact that they get to host the Sunwolves, who are the other major wooden spoon contenders. It’s hard to be optimistic about a side that is primarily made up of players from a team that finished 7th in the Currie Cup. The financial problems can only be a bad distraction and the quick turnover of coaches in recent months doesn’t bode well.




  • Futures Odds: 41.85 (Betfair)
  • Rugby Vision Title Winning Probability: 6.7% (equates to fair odds of 14.93)
  • Rugby Vision Wooden Spoon Probability: 0.3% (equates to fair odds of 333.33)
  • 2015 Season: Finished 8th overall (2nd in the South African conference)
    The Lions were a pleasant surprise last season, finishing 8th despite being tipped to be a cellar dwellar in the standings. They finished the season with just 6 losses but missed out on a playoff berth due to a relative lack of bonus points.
  • Head Coach: Johan Ackermann
  • Captain(s): Warren Whiteley
  • Internationally Capped Players: 5
  • Key Departures: Schalk van der Merwe (France)
  • Key New Players: None
  • Pre-season Results Bulls 28-24 Lions
  • Causes for Optimism The Lions are a well coached side and have been drawn into a weak conference. They have had little turnover during the off-season so they should be one of the more settled sides at the start of the competition.
  • Causes for Concern With only five Springboks in the team, the Lions don’t have the same depth as some other franchises, so any injuries will take a heavy toll on their performances.
  • Summary The Lions are much like South Africa’s equivalent to the Highlanders. They feature far fewer Springboks than their larger rivals but the team has been more than the sum of its parts in recent seasons. They won 5 games after returning to Super Rugby in 2014 and ended 2015 with 9 wins and a draw. Given they are placed in a conference with the Kings and Jaguares, they have a reasonable chance of staying in the playoff hunt deep into the season.




  • Futures Odds: 17.00 (Luxbet)
  • Rugby Vision Title Winning Probability: 3.5% (equates to fair odds of 28.57)
  • Rugby Vision Wooden Spoon Probability: 0.7% (equates to fair odds of 142.86)
  • 2015 Season: Finished 11th overall (4th in the South African conference)
    After topping the South African conference in 2014, coach Jake White departed and the Sharks had a poor 2015, finishing 4th in the conference.
  • Head Coach: Gary Gold
  • Captain(s): Patrick Lambie
  • Internationally Capped Players: 12
  • Key Departures: Jannie du Plessis (France), Matt Stevens (France), Bismarck du Plessis (France), Mouritz Botha (England), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Willem Alberts (France), Ryan Kankowski (S.A. Sevens), Cameron Wright (France), Fred Zeilinga (Cheetahs), François Steyn (France)
  • Key New Players: Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Ruan Botha (Stormers), David McDuling (Sharks), Keegan Daniel (Japan), Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs), Wandile Mjekevu (France), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), Joe Pietersen (Cheetahs)
  • Pre-season Results Toulon 21-29 Sharks, Toulouse 17-31 Sharks
  • Causes for Optimism The new competition format has been kind to the Sharks, who share a conference with the Kings, Lions and Jaguares. The top team in each conferences automatically qualifyies for the quarter finals. The Sharks enjoyed a strong pre-season, beating albeit understrength Toulon and Toulouse sides. They have poached some handy players from the Cheetahs during the off-season.
  • Causes for Concern Jannie du Plessis , Bismarck du Plessis and Willem Alberts have all departed. Fly-half Patrick Lambie is out for the first six weeks.
  • Summary Like many sides the Sharks have lost a lot of experience during the off-season. They only managed to finish 4th in South African conference last year despite boasting a Springbok-laden team. Perhaps they can achieve more this season with a more youthful side.


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