SuperRugby is the largest and pre-eminent professional Rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere. After starting as the Super 10, then Super 12 and later growing into the Super 14 competition, it then expanded to 15 teams for the 2011 season and has been rebranded as Super Rugby, with no number included. It consists of teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The competition was started in 1996, and from the first season through to 2005, the competition was known as Super 12; the name was changed to Super 14 following the addition of two teams for the 2006 season. Matches are now broadcast in 41 countries.
|My first attendance at a SuperRugby game May 2011.
Stormers vs Crusuaders Photo by Adrian Brookes.
Thanks to Marché Theron for getting the tickets to this sold out game.
Each respective country competing in Super Rugby has a number of their own domestic leagues, which feed into Super franchises.
South Africa actually used their Currie Cup teams as opposed to creating new franchises during the earlier years of the Super 12. However, the Currie Cup is now the third tier of rugby in South Africa, below Test and Super, it is played after the Super Rugby season, and all unions are aligned to a franchise (but not all franchises play Super Rugby, see Southern Kings), though it is mainly the big five, the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Natal Sharks, Free State Cheetahs and Western Province which contribute the most to the Super Rugby sides.
In New Zealand, the ITM Cup is the most prominent domestic tournament below the Super Rugby, in which all the respective Unions are also aligned with Super franchises.
In Australia, a new national club competition called the Mazda Australian Rugby Championship was launched in 2007. It was intended to bridge the gap between Super 14 and club rugby, and was similar to the Currie Cup and Air New Zealand Cup. It consisted of eight teams: Sydney Fleet, Central Coast Rays, Western Sydney Rams (from New South Wales), Ballymore Tornadoes, East Coast Aces (from Queensland), Perth Spirit (from Western Australia), Melbourne Rebels (from Victoria) and the Canberra Vikings (from ACT). 
The competition began on 10 August, played in a round-robin format, with the Grand Final played on 14 October. Western Sydney were the minor premiers (i.e., finished atop the league table before the playoffs), but lost in the semifinals. Central Coast won the inaugural and ultimately only Grand Final. The ARU scrapped the competition after its inaugural season, citing larger-than-expected financial losses of A$4.7 million. 
Each country has its own Conference consisting of all the SuperRugby teams in their country. Standings are maintained for these individual conferences and then there is a SuperRugby standing table also.
Here is an example of the standings from the three conferences for illustrative purposes only (extract from May 2011), check here for the latest.
|South African Conference||Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Bye||Bonus||PD||Points|
|New Zealand Conference||Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Bye||Bonus||PD||Points|
As of the 2011 season, each team plays a total of 16 regular season matches, eight home and eight away. Each team plays all four of the other teams in their conference twice, both home and away, and play against four of the five teams in each of the other two conferences
- Internal Conference Matches – a team will play each of the four other teams in its conference on two occasions meaning a total of eight Internal Conference Matches. With one match against each team played at a home venue and one match played at an away venue this will result in four home matches and four away matches;
- Cross Conference Matches – a team will play four of the five teams from each of the other conferences on one occasion meaning a total of eight Cross Conference Matches. In playing the four teams from each of the other conferences, two of those matches will be played at a home venue and two matches will be played at away venues for a total of four home and four away
Example from May 2011 (check here for the latest):
|Super Rugby Standing|
|1||Reds||Australian Conference Leader||54|
|2||Blues||New Zealand Conference Leader||54|
|3||Stormers||South African Conference Leader||48|
Highlights Stomers vs Crusuaders Week 12 Super 15 2011.
Highlights Bulls vs. Rebels Week 13 Super 15 2011.
|1996||Blues 45-21 Natal|
|1997||Blues 23 -7 ACT Brumbies|
|1998||Blues 13 -20 Crusaders|
|1999||Highlanders 19-24 Crusaders|
|2000||ACT Brumbies 19-20 Crusaders|
|2001||ACT Brumbies 36-6 Sharks|
|2002||Crusaders 31-13 ACT Brumbies|
|2003||Blues 21-17 Crusaders|
|2004||ACT Brumbies 47-38 Crusaders|
|2005||Crusaders 35-25 Waratahs|
|2006||Crusaders 19-12 Hurricanes|
|2007||Bulls 20-19 Sharks|
|2008||Crusaders 20-12 Waratahs|
|2009||Bulls 61-12 Chiefs|
|2010||Bulls 25-17 Stormers|
|2011||Reds 18-13 Crusaders|
- "Mazda Australian Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby Union. http://www.rugby.com.au/fixtures_results/australian_rugby_championship/overview,50381.html Retrieved May 27, 2011
- "ARC scrapped after $4.7m loss". FoxSports. 18 December 2007.http://www.foxsports.com.au/breaking-news/arc-scrapped-after-47m-loss/story-e6frf33c-1111115141536 Retrieved May 27, 2011
- International SuperRugby website http://www.superrugby.com/ Retrieved May 27, 2011