Queensland performed above expectations last season amid some trying circumstances. But any good graces they enjoyed are now a thing of the past, Friday's match against the Highlanders must be the beginning of a new dawn.
In Super Rugby round two we see two trans-Tasman clashes as well as a New Zealand derby. Read for all of this week's team lists.
Round 1 of Super Rugby is in the books and there were already some interesting takeaways for each team and the big question mark hanging over their heads in 2019. We address the key execution, or personnel issues, here.
Former South Africa Blizboks Sevens star Rosko Specman scored a brace of tries as he made a sensational Super Rugby debut, while Springboks fly-half Handre Pollard delivered a masterclass kicking display as the hosts won 40-3.
The Super Rugby season is once again upon us. Here, we analyse the South African conference, and ESPN columnist Greg Growden offers his thoughts on each of the five franchises.
The Springboks star signed for the Bulls instead of the Stormers because "it was the right thing to do" after the Cape Town franchise said it would rather invest in young players.
The new jerseys, inspired by Marvel's Spider-Man, Thor, Black Panther and Captain America, will debut in public at the Super Hero Sunday preseason double-header at Cape Town Stadium on February 3.
The hooker has received an offer to play for the Bulls next season, but he is believed to be on the verge of doing a deal with the Stormers, for whom he played from 2006 to 2009 and again in 2011.
There was plenty on the line in the final regular season round yet two Australian teams were unable to perform when it mattered most. The Brumbies did, however, exposing the Waratahs for exactly what they are.
Sunwolves winger Semesi Masirewa was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Bernard Foley. It was the correct decision to the letter of the law, but could it have been better served by a report system? Your Round 18 Super Rugby talking points are here.
The burly forward will captain the Stormers in the absence of Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi, who has been withdrawn through illness.
Super Rugby returned from a month-long hiatus only for the negative themes from the June Test series to immediately surface in the provincial competition. Thankfully 24 hours later, the Chiefs helped remind us just how good the game can be.
The Rebels may have ended Australia's 32-game winless streak in New Zealand, but it was the Waratahs, Reds derby that produced the highlights, meanwhile two All Blacks players have been left red-faced for off-field hijinks.
The Waratahs were hoping to add the Chiefs to their list of victims after ending the trans-Tasman streak in Sydney last week. And they would have, too, had it not been for the game's premier lock: Brodie Retallick.
After 40 games, Australia finally saw the end of their New Zealand hoodoo with the Waratahs putting on a slick display to thump the Highlanders, while the deliberate knockdown debate continues to rage.
Japan's Sunwolves have snatched a 26-23 Super Rugby win over the Stormers in Hong Kong via a drop goal almost four minutes after the siren.
KweséESPN's John Goliath looks at some of the pros and the cons if SA Rugby decides to ditch their southern-hemisphere partners for their northern counterparts.
There has been that much talk about the "dark arts" this week that Super Rugby has felt like a Harry Potter novel. Australia's sides have an opportunity to push the limits this week, but need their chief protagonists to be at their absolute best.
NSW Waratahs had every right to feel aggrieved over some of the decisions that were, and were not, made in Christchurch. The cold hard fact is, however, that a 29-0 lead should, no matter the opposition, be enough to go on and claim victory.
The mouth-watering midfield showdown between Sonny Bill Williams and Ngani Laumape is the highlight of a clash between the Hurricanes and Blues that might not be as clear-cut as it seems.
Australia's losing streak to their New Zealand counterparts has hit a new low, with Australia's best falling to New Zealand's worse, while the Jaguares and the Sharks found a way to get the win over two New Zealand teams.
After 36 games without a trans-Tasman victory, hopes are high the Waratahs will at last register a W for Australia. If they don't win, then we might as well condemn the entire Aussie conference to a second tier and banish them to America.
The Reds gave Australian rugby something to smile about with a shock win over the Lions. But that warm glow lasted little more than three hours as the Brumbies' shortcomings exposed a problem which requires urgent attention Down Under.
Round 10 Super Rugby action saw the Australian sides cop awful wake-up calls, the Chiefs add more casualties to their injury list and the Lions and Bulls shine in South Africa.
Super Rugby Round 10 has barely rated a mention this week given the ongoing saga involving Israel Folau. That might be a good thing for the Reds for whom attack has become an enormous problem.
- STORM15thTRIES SCORED 1st Brumbies : 12 Tries ScoredBRUMB1st012
- STORM14thPOINTS DIFFERENCE 1st Sharks : 54 Points DifferenceSHARK1st-3754