The Crusaders are heading to Kaikoura, Waiau, Hanmer Springs, Amberley, Darfield, Methven and Ashburton this Wednesday on a community crusade. Groups of players will spend a day in the regions, lending a hand to community projects, dropping in on some local businesses and visiting local rugby clubs. The Crusaders will provide some manpower to community projects in each region, including working bees at some local schools, restoring the water tanker and goal posts to the Kaikoura Rugby Club, bike track maintenance in Methven, tidying up community gardens in Waiau and painting a community building in Hanmer.
Ash Dixon was the clear candidate to be the co-captain for the Highlanders even though he may not start all games. Hooker Dixon, who is going into his third year with the southern franchise, was named yesterday as co-captain of the Highlanders this season along with fullback Ben Smith. Dixon has been an everpresent for the Highlanders over the past couple of years. He played in every game for the side in 2015 as the team went on to win the title and also played in nearly every match last season. Read more here
The first player to reach 100 games forthe Bay of Plenty union, Manukapua (Manu) Maniapoto, passed away in Rotorua on Wednesday morning. Maiapoto played for the Whakarewarewa club from 1955 to 1969 and played 107 matches for BoP and also represented New Zealand Maori from 1960-1966.
Looking for HSBC Wellington Sevens tournament draws, news and information? The official website is here
Verbal abuse of officials is increasing at grassroots levels of the game, the Rugby Football Union in England has warned.The RFU has reported a rise in numbers playing and watching the game since the World Cup was held in England in 2015. But those new to the sport need educating on behavioural standards, according to rugby development director Steve Grainger."We are starting to see some challenges in touchline behaviour," Grainger told BBC Radio 5 live. "As we bring a different demographic into the game and broaden the number of people that come into the game, I think you inevitably get that." read more here
Saying Crusaders loose forward Heiden Bedwell-Curtis is itching to go would be a candidate for understatement of the year. The 25-year-old is champing at the bit to be fully recovered from a fractured hip and cleared to play in time for his team's first Super Rugby pre-season match, against the Highlanders in Darfield on February 4. Bedwell-Curtis suffered a hairline fracture to his hip while playing for Manawatu against Otago in the final regular season game of last year's Mitre 10 Cup [Men's NPC competition]. Read more here
21-year-old Tasman player Andrew Knewstubb's head was still spinning after being named men's player of the national sevens tournament in Rotorua. And the drama didn't end there after Knewstubb and fellow Tasman team-mates Trael Joass and Tone Ng Shiu were also selected in a national training squad to prepare for the next leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington on January 28-29. A Paraparaumu College First XV product, Knewstubb headed south to the Kahurangi club in 2014 and has represented Nelson Bays in 15-a-side at both fullback and No 10. Read more here
Day one results of the National 7s and the draw for the Cup quarter-finals can be viewed here Day Two coverage and tournament round-up published on Club Rugby on Sunday evening.
Richie Mo’unga has committed to furthering his career in red and black, having re-signed with the Crusaders through to the end of the 2019 Super Rugby season. The young first five-eighth had a standout debut season in 2016, playing in every game for the Crusaders and ending the year as the competition’s fourth highest points scorer. Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson was impressed with how Mo’unga grew in to his role in 2016 and is looking forward to seeing his game develop over the coming seasons. Mo’unga has made quick progress through the rugby ranks, going straight from school boy rugby to the Canterbury provincial team in 2013, and then making his Super Rugby debut last year at just 21 years of age.
Above: The late Jonah Lomu played in the first Wellington Sevens tournament and hands the trophy over to 2014 winning captain DJ Forbes. Photo by Dave Lintott Photography. Now in its 18th year, there’s been many colourful moments witnessed off the field at the HSBC Wellington Sevens. Below are seven of the tournament’s rugby highlights.
Above: New cap Vilimoni Koroi playing for Feilding High School, where he made last year's New Zealand Secondary Schools team from. He is a newly contracted Otago player and is set to make his All Black Sevens debut next week. The All Blacks Sevens team has been named for next weekend's HSBC Wellington Sevens tournanment. Four new caps have been included in the 14-player group.
Selectors have announced a squad of 20 contracted players for 2017 for the Olympic Silver medal winning Black Ferns Sevens, made up of 18 fully-contracted players and two training contracts, leaving a further spot to filled later in the year. The squad to contest the remainder of the 2016-2017 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series sees the addition of eight new contracted players into the Black Ferns Sevens environment.
Te Upoko o Te Ika will be the official radio broadcaster for Round 3 of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to be played at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 28 and 29 January. Featuring 16 teams and 45 matches over 2 days, the tournament will be covered by Te Upoko o Te Ika Radio on both days, broadcasting live from Westpac Stadium on 1161AM and also available on any mobile device globally via www.tunein.com or www.irirangi.
The Counties Manukau Steelers Sevens team today, en route to winning the National Sevens. Photo by Dave Lintott Photography. Counties Manukau have won both the men’s and women’s crowns at this weekend’s National 7s tournament in Rotorua.