At the heart of the Blues region with more than 1.4 million people is New Zealand’s largest city. A place where approximately one third of the nation’s registered rugby players come from and home to one of the most famous stadiums in the world. This is the rugby capital of the world, and we’re proud to call it our home.
The Blues were established by the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1996 to take part in the newly formed Super 12 competition. Representing the Auckland, Counties Manukau and Thames Valley unions, the Blues dominated the early years of Super Rugby winning back to back titles in 1996 and 1997.
By the end of the 1990’s, a switch of provincial unions with neighbours the Chiefs, brought players from North Harbour and Northland into the Blues, and saw Counties and Thames Valley aligned closer to home with the Chiefs.
The Blues made the finals in 1998, brought home their third Super Rugby title in 2003 and reached the semi-finals in 2007 and 2011.
When rugby became professional in 1996, New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams were owned by the NZRU and managed by boards representing the provincial rugby unions in each team’s region. 2013 brought about the beginning of a new era for the Blues with NZR offering a licence to operate the club until 2020.
The resulting new structure is a limited liability partnership between Rugby Holdings (Auckland, North Harbour and Northland Provincial Unions) and private investor, Bolton Equities.
In our 20 year history to 2015, the club has produced some of this country’s biggest rugby stars and household names – Michael Jones, Carlos Spencer, Joe Rokocoko and Keven Mealamu to name a few.
At the Blues we have a great rugby legacy to honour, a responsibility to live up to the region we represent and a duty to return the Investec Super Rugby title to its rightful place.
Super Rugby is a premier professional rugby competition encompassing New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Argentina.
The international domestic competition was formed by South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby (SANZAR). Prior to SANZAR’s creation in 1996, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji competed in an amateur competition called the Super 10 during the early 1990s.
With an injection of media coverage and sponsorship, SANZAR kick-started professional rugby in the form of the Super 12 competition in 1996. It featured three teams from Australia, four from South Africa and five regional teams from New Zealand: the Highlanders, the Crusaders, the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.
Super 12 was expanded to Super 14 in 2006, welcoming in teams from South Africa and Australia, followed by Super 15 in 2011 with the inclusion of another Australian side.
In 2016, Argentina and Japan and a sixth team representing South Africa joined the Super Rugby competition, bringing the teams competing for the coveted trophy to 18. The current competition is broken in to two groups: Australasia and South Africa. It’s then divided in to four conferences: Australia, New Zealand, Africa 1 and Africa 2.
The 17 rounds of the Blues’ regular season are broken up into conference and group play:
- Six matches within the New Zealand conference
- Five matches against Australia’s conference
- Four matches against one of the African conferences
- Two byes
The competition is widely regarded as a training ground for national representative teams. More than 80 All Blacks have played for the Blues and we have enjoyed strong rivalries within the New Zealand conference.
Home to the Blues since 1996, Eden Park has been New Zealand’s most famous rugby stadium for over a century.
Enhanced with a half billion-dollar makeover to host 2011’s Rugby World Cup, it’s been dubbed ‘the Fortress’ by Blues fans due to the team’s winning ratio on the hallowed turf.
Located in the heart of Auckland’s vibrant Kingsland/Mt Eden central city suburbs, Eden Park seats just under 50,000 fans.
The stadium is conveniently located only four kilometres from Auckland CBD and is well served by bus and rail links. Travel on trains and special event buses is included in pre-purchased Blues match tickets.
In 2016, Eden Park will play host to the Blues’ Super Rugby season as well as League’s NRL Nines, 20/20 cricket, ITM Cup and All Blacks test rugby.