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2019 Super Rugby odds

Grand Final Winner 2019

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While the official date for the start of the 2018 Super Rugby season is yet to be decided, the tournament is sure to take place between the usual months of February and August.

However, while there were 18 teams in the 2017 Super Rugby competition, this will be reduced to 15 teams for the 2018 tournament.  The reasons for the reduction in teams is because the Cheetahs and kings have been withdrawn by South African Rugby Union and the Force have been withdrawn by the Australian Rugby Union.

The two South African teams will join the Pro14, which mainly consists of European clubs.  In truth, neither they or the Force made much of an impact in Super Rugby last season and all three teams failed to make the finals.  That hasn’t stopped fans of the Force being very disappointed in losing their place in Super Rugby and Rugby Western Australia plans to pursue "every possible means" to ensure the Force stay in the competition.

The Crusaders won the 2017 Super Rugby title and will start the new campaign as one of the favourites.  They will be aiming to make their 13th appearance in the final and win their 9th Super Rugby title. 

The next best teams in terms of Super Rugby wins are the Blues and Bulls with 3 wins each and this underlines the strength of the Crusaders.  With the new season not starting until next year, the Crusaders must already be considered the team to beat, even before players have made any potential transfers during the off-season.

When looking at potential 2018 Super Rugby winners, it pays to look at the teams from New Zealand.

At least one team from the New Zealand Conference has played in each of the last 7 Super Rugby finals.  You must go back to 2010 to find the last time a New Zealand team failed to make the final and that was a match between the Bulls and Stormers, two teams from South Africa.

It would be a big shock not to see at least one of the Crusaders, Highlanders or Chiefs in the 2018 Super Rugby final.

Judging by recent years, their biggest threat is likely to be the Lions from South Africa.  They have reached the last two finals in Super Rugby only to leave disappointed having lost to the Hurricanes and Crusaders respectively. 

The Lions have only contested those two finals and will be hoping to make it three times lucky next year. 

Unfortunately, a strong challenge from Australia seems to be a long way off now and it would be a surprise to see a team from their conference making it through to the 2018 Super Rugby final.

In fact, in the last two years not a single team from Australia has progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of the tournament and it seems unlikely they will go much further than that in 2018.

It appears the 2018 Super Rugby title is in the hands of a team from New Zealand. Crusaders have won back-to-back titles before, can they do it again in 2018?