All Black Centurion Ma’a Nonu will return to the Blues for the 2019 Super Rugby Championship.The 36-year-old will bring his rugby career full circle in New Zealand, after playing for Toulon in the French Championship for three years.After deciding it was time to return to New Zealand with his wife Andrea and three children, the powerhouse midfielder has taken up a 12-month contract with the Blues, which will be his third stint with the Super club.
World Rugby has announced that Sir Bryan Williams (Ponsonby) is one of five legends of the game to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame for 2018. The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of rugby throughout their careers, while also demonstrating rugby's character-building values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect. Crusaders Assistant Coach Ronan O’Gara will also be inducted alongside Williams, Liza Burgess (Wales), Stephen Larkham (Australia) and Pierre Villepreux (France). Williams is the 22nd New Zealander to be inducted, along with the 1888 New Zealand team.
For the first time since 2009, Horowhenua-Kapiti has won the Hurricanes Under 20 Cup, following a Round 3 victory by 49-7 over Poverty Bay in Palmerston North. n the other Round 3 match, Wairarapa-Bush defeated Wanganui by 31-15 following a strong second-half performance, propelling Wairarapa-Bush into Runner-Up position for the Cup. The final Tournament Placings were: Horowhenua-Kapiti (1), 14 points; Wairarapa-Bush (2), 10 points; Wanganui (3), 5 points; Poverty Bay (4), 0 points.
At the conclusion of this tournament, the Heartland U20 team was named. Read more here
The future of New Zealand rugby appears to be female as surging registrations from women partially offsets the decline in the number of male players. The Deloitte Sports Review: State of the Unions report released on Friday highlighted a collective decline in male player registrations for Mitre 10 Cup [NPC] unions (0.1 per cent from 2016 to 2017) - driven by an 8.9 per cent drop in senior grades (21 year older and over) as they decreased by more than 2,000 registrations. Since 2010, male senior grades have decreased in size by 11 per cent. However, the women's game is moving quickly in the opposite direction, with a staggering increase of 63.8 per cent in senior grade registrations since 2010. Read more here
England have called up former Stokes Valley Junior Rugby Club and Hurricanes captain Brad Shields for their tour of South Africa after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) released him from his contract. NZR said there were "clear legal grounds" to oppose Shields' request, but allowed it "by special exception". "Brad has been an exceptional leader inside the Hurricanes and a loyal servant to New Zealand Rugby," it said. England head coach Eddie Jones sees the 27-year-old flanker as part of his plans up to next year's World Cup. New Zealand-born Shields, who qualifies for England through his parents, will join Wasps later this year. Read more here
Paul Tupai, who started his then amateur rugby career in the Bay of Plenty 28 years ago has retired from rugby. The 43-year-old's final match was recently for the Bedford Blues against Richmond in England. He played over 1,000 matches and is believed to be the last player to retire who was playing in 1996 when rugby went professional. Loose forward Tupai left Bay of Plenty after 115 caps for the Steamers for England in 2005 where he played for the Northhampton Saints, soon after playing internationals for Samoa.
The Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby have announced that John Plumtree will take the Head Coach role for the 2019 Investec Super Rugby season. Plumtree will take over from Chris Boyd after the 2018 season with Jason Holland confirmed as his Assistant Coach with both contracted for three years. Boyd is leaving New Zealand at the end of this season to take up the role as Director of Rugby at English club Northampton. Plumtree and Holland have signed three-year deals through until the end of 2021. The final make-up of the coaching staff for 2019 and beyond would be finalised soon with the focus now being on the 2018 season.
The Wellington Maori Te Upoko O Te Ika team won the annual Central North Island Te Tini A Maui tournament in Levin, beating Whanganui Maori 31-5 in the final. On Saturday they beat Manawatu 50-0 and Hawke's Bay Maori 64-7. This was their third consecutive tournament win.
World Cup-winning Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen has warned new law amendments for the breakdown could risk making rugby union resemble unlimited tackle rugby league. The new rules, already in force in the northern hemisphere, will be in evidence when New Zealand and Australia's teams begin their Super Rugby campaigns this week and will also be enforced during this year's Rugby Championship. Macqueen cited the recent Six Nations test between Ireland and Wales as an example of how the amendments could change the way the game is played by reducing the contest for possession at the breakdown. Late in the game Ireland put together a massive 41 phases of possession to get five-eighth Jonathan Sexton into a position to kick a winning penalty. Read more here
Petone's Brad Shield will captain the Hurricanes to start the 2018 Super Rugby season, which features nine new players. The squad for the opening fortnight is:
Forwards; Toby Smith, Chris Eves, Ben May, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Ricky Riccitelli, James O'Rielly, Sam Lousi, Murray Douglas, Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita, Brad Shields (c), Ardie Savea, Gareth Evans, Blade Thomson; Backs, TJ Perenara, Jamie Booth, Beauden Barrett, Ihaia West, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Vince Aso, Wes Goosen, Julian Savea, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Jonah Lowe.
The Highlanders’ 42-26 defeat of the Crusaders in their final pre-season game at Fred Booth Park inWaimumu yesterday was a game that lived up to rugby’s oldest cliches. Quite simply, it was a game of two halves. The fortunate news for Highlanders fans was that their side won both of them. Scores: Highlanders 42 (Matt Faddes 3, Jackson Hemopo, Tei Walden tries, penalty try; Lima Sopoaga 3, Fletcher Smith 2 con) beat the Crusaders 26 (Bryn Hall, Wyatt Crockett, Braydon Ennor tries, penalty try; Richie Mo’unga con, Mitchell Hunt con). Halftime: 28-19. Read more here
Former Otago and All Blacks loose forward and occasional lock Gary Seear lost a longtime cancer battle on Thursday, aged 65. Seear played 116 games for Otago and 34 games for the All Blacks, including 12 tests. He made his debut for Otago in 1971 and first played for the All Blacks in 1976 and famously kicked a 45-metre penalty against Franc in Paris in 1977.
It was the first game of a long year, but the Hurricanes have taken plenty of heart from their 43-22 pre-season win over the Crusaders in Greymouth on Friday evening. The Hurricanes lived up to recent weather carnage in the area by scoring seven tries, including a first half hat-trick to starting left wing Jonah Lowe. The Hurricanes led 24-5 at halftime and pulled further ahead to lead 36-5 before the defending champions came back. A crowd of 4,000 was on hand to watch the game. Both sides blooded plenty of new players and the two squads’next assignment is the Brisbane 10s next weekend. Elsewhere, the Blues overcame the Chiefs 45-19 in Te Kuiti and the Highlanders accounted for the Waratahs 55-29 in Queenstown on Friday. Hurricanes 43 (Jonah Lowe 3, Ben Lam, Julian Savea, Finlay Christie, Vince Aso tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con, Ihaia West 2 con) beat Crusaders 22 (Billy Harmon, Jack Stratham, Tima Faingaanuku, Manasa Mataele tries; Brett Cameron con). HT: 24-5.
The All Black Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens sides both fell on the final days of the Sydney Sevens tournaments. The men's side succumbed to Australia 24-12 in the quarter-finals and finished fifth overall, while the women missed out to Australia 31-0 in the final of the women's section. Australia won both the men's and women's competitions. The next men's round is this coming weekend in Hamilton, whilst the women are next in Japan on 21-22 April.
2017 Saint Kentigern College and now Counties Manukau affiliated fullback Etene Nanai is in line to make his All Blacks Sevens debut this weekend in Sydney, named in the playing squad. Read more here
The schedule for Sydney is:
Friday 26 January
9.50pm NZT v Russia
Saturday 27 January
6.31pm NZT v Samoa
9.42pm NZT v Fiji
Sunday 28 January – Finals Day
The first games on Day 2 are below:
Men's Cup Quarter Finals:
11.30 Field 1 Waikato (Pool a winner) v Auckland
11.50 Field 1 North Harbour (Pool D winner) v Wellington
12.10 Field 1 Tasman (Pool C winner) v Manawatu
12.30 Field 1 Bay of Plenty (Pool B winner v Taranaki
Men's Bowl Quarter Finals:
10.05 Field 1 Counties Manukau v Mid Canterbury
10.25 Field 1 Hawke’s Bay v Southland
10.45 Field 1 Northland v Otago
11.05 Field 1 Canterbury v Wanganui
Women's Cup Quarter Finals:
10.05 Field 2 Waikato (Pool A winner) v Canterbury
10.25 Field 2 Bay of Plenty (Pool B runner-up) v Counties Manukau
10.45 Field 2 Auckland (Pool C winner) v Otago
11.05 Field 2 Manawatu (Pool B winner) v Wellington
Women's Bowl Semi Finals:
11.50 Field 2 Hawke’s Bay v North Harbour
12.10 Field 2 Southland v Poverty Bay
Lima Sopoaga has announced his departure from NZ rugby. His post on Instagram includes these words: "I'd like to thank the Highlanders, All Blacks, Southland and Wellington for the awesome experiences you have provided me with over the years. Thank you to all the fans for your support it's been one heck of a ride." Sopoaga leaves at the end of 2018 for Wasps in England.
The New Zealand Rugby Judicial Committee has completed the anti-doping hearings for Zoe Berry, Rhys Pedersen, Glen Robertson and Ben Qauqau-Dodds.Berry, Pedersen, and Robertson have been banned from playing rugby for the possession and, in some cases, use or attempted use of Clenbuterol and Qauqau-Dodds has been banned for the possession and use or attempted use of Metandienone.Clenbuterol and Metandienone are both prohibited substances under the NZ Sports Anti-Doping Rules. All athletes pleaded guilty to at least one of the offences alleged. The New Zealand Rugby Judicial Committee has ordered the suspension of Berry for four years commencing on 31 July 2017, Pedersen for 21 months from 1 January 2017, Robertson for four years from 3 February 2017 and Qauqau-Dodds for two years commencing on 31 July 2017. All four athletes were playing club rugby at the time of the offending.
The Waikato (Men's) and Manawatu (Women's) teams defended their BoP Provincial Sevens titles this weekend. Waikato beat Counties Manukau 24-19 in the Men's Cup final, while Manawatu beat Auckland 19-0 in the deciding match of the Women's round-robin tournament. Canterbury won the Plate final and BoP Academy the Bowl final in the Men's section. The National Sevens are in Rotorua this coming weekend.
Ponsonby's Bryan Williams is now Sir Bryan Williams, being named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Honours List for services to rugby. New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Officer, Steve Tew said Sir Bryan’s involvement and service to the game has been virtually lifelong and covered all aspects. “The rugby community in New Zealand and internationally has a huge amount of respect for Sir Bryan and we extend our heartfelt congratulations on his knighthood. “Sir Bryan has made an enormous contribution to rugby both on and off the field. "From playing, coaching, as an administrator and most recently as a trustee with the New Zealand Rugby Foundation supporting ‘catastrophically injured’ rugby players.
"His knighthood for services to rugby recognises his outstanding involvement and contribution to the game," said Tew. Sir Bryan made his All Black debut on the 1970 tour of South Africa and went on to play 113 times in the black jersey.
The team at Club Rugby wishes everyone a very merry Christmas and a relaxing and safe holiday break. From Mount Maunganui to New Orleans to Noosa, our contributors are having some time off too, re-charging batteries and getting set for a big year covering rugby from the ground up in 2018.
New Zealand’s National Sevens Tournament will move to a new location and a new time of year to boost the number of top-level players available to play, New Zealand Rugby has announced today. The change will take effect after January’s National Sevens in Rotorua, with the tournament then moving to Tauranga for the following three years starting in December 2018 where Tauranga Domain will play host to all the on-field action. This change will, in turn, affect local sevens tournaments followed by provincial qualifiers, which will presumably all be brought forward. Then the tail-end of representative season could be affected with players choosing one or the other.
Saturday 19th 2018 (10am - 4pm) - The Rugby Jamboree is a chance to share your stories, collectors (professional and personal), historians, authors, clubs, promoters, and everyone with an interest in rugby, young and old alike! This is the first year that we have done anything like this within the Museum and Te Manawa complex and are calling for Expressions of Interest for you to come and take a 'table' at our Jamboree to bring along what you have to show/tell/sell/swap or just educate each other.There will be short workshops on the day covering collection care, storage etc. An auction, other activities and a sausage sizzle. Something for all for an exciting day of rugby! On Sunday morning (20 May,10.00 - 1.00pm) will be given over to a more structured session. What rugby projects are you working on? Are you looking to complete a collection? Digitising a rugby club’s records? Writing a book? Building your personal rugby shrine? For more email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alama Ieremia has been tasked with turning around the fortunes of the problem Auckland provincial side. Ieremia's appointment as head coach for the next three seasons was announced on Monday by the Auckland Rugby Union. The 47-year-old former Hurricanes assistant and most recently in charge of the Manu Samoa setup takes over from Nick White who stepped aside at the end of a horror 2017 campaign that saw the Auks go 3-7 and narrowly avoid relegation from the Mitre 10 Cup's Premiership division. Read more here
Former Chiefs hooker Rhys Marshall has gone from herding sheep on horseback in Hawke's Bay to playing in Europe's top rugby competition. The 25-year-old ex-Taranaki rake scored a try and pulled off a try-saving turnover as Irish province Munster thrashed the Leicester Tigers 33-10 in the European Champions Cup clash in Limerick on Saturday (Sunday NZ Time). Yet, a few years ago, Marshall was working 12-hour days on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Read more here
Shannon Paku has been confirmed as the Manawatū Rugby Union's new chief executive. The 37-year-old former Manawatū, Wellington, Hurricanes and Blues outside back will take over from John Knowles, who announced in August he was stepping aside from the role at the end of the year. Manawatū Rugby Union board chairman Tim Myers said Paku would start the role in March and Knowles would stay on to help bridge the gap until he starts. Myers said it was Paku's business acumen that put him on top of the pile. "He has owned his own business and has really good commercial awareness which at the end of the day tipped him over the line as opposed to the other applicants." Read more here
The Manawatū Club Rugby Executive have agreed to a series of changes in senior club rugby structures, including the end of the annual Easter double-header round. The committee met on Monday night to discuss the changes, which will see the season extend one week longer, kicking off on March 17 and running until July 28. There will no longer be a round of matches on Easter Monday. Read more here
The days of drawing large crowds of passionate fans to national provincial championship rugby matches seem to be over. Being able to watch a game on television in the comfort of your own home or the pub, busy lifestyles, having too many games of rugby on in a season or struggling to justify the financial costs of attending a game with the family are just some of the reasons we see so many empty seats at games. The Mitre 10 Cup [Men's NPC] is a provincial competition, featuring a large number of club rugby players at a level below professional Super Rugby and maybe it is time to instil some of the grassroots values from club rugby to appeal to the staunchly loyal rugby supporters. Read more here
Brad Shields (Petone) has announced that he will leave New Zealand Rugby at the conclusion of the Hurricanes 2018 Super Rugby campaign after signing up to play for Wasps in England. Shields has played 86 matches for the Hurricanes and 60 matches for the Wellington Lions. “It’s good to have my playing future confirmed nice and early so I can focus 100 per cent on the Hurricanes,” he said. “I’m passionate about the Hurricanes and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure I give everything I’ve got to my final season at the club.” Shields said taking the decision to leave New Zealand Rugby was a tough one, but right one for himself and his family.
Poneke hooker Dane Coles' rugby year from hell has taken another dark turn with the All Blacks hooker ruled out of the rest of the northern tour after suffering a serious knee injury with a ruptured ACL in Saturday night's (Sunday NZT) test against France in Paris. He will jet home immediately after Tuesday's game between the All Blacks and a French XV at Lyon's Groupama Stadium, joining the half-dozen called up from the Barbarians squad to supplement the touring New Zealanders. Coles' wrecked knee will require surgery and a recovery period his coach put in the four to six-month range, but will almost certainly sit around the longer part of that equation Read more here
Tauranga Sports beat Greerton Marist 26-14 in the men's final for the Sir Gordon Tietjens Trophy and Rangiuru edged Rangataua 19-12 to win the women's final for the Exia Edwards Trophy in the Baywide club rugby sevens tournament on Saturday.
Waikato have the second worst representation of NPC players in Super Rugby. New Zealand's five franchises revealed their 38-man squads for 2018 last week and only the championship's bottom province, Southland, have less than Waikato. The Stags failed to win a match in 2017 and the Mooloos will face them next year after being relegated from the premiership having lost a record seven straight matches. Waikato have just six Super Rugby players - including All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown who didn't feature this season - when every other province bar Southland (four), Manawatu (eight) and Bay of Plenty (nine) have at least 10. Read more here
Rugby player numbers in New Zealand remained strong in 2017, due largely to growing numbers of females of all ages signing up. In 2017, almost one in six registered players were female, with more than 24,000 girls and women lacing up their boots, an increase of 11 percent on 2016.
Rugby by the numbers in 2017
The moons have aligned for Beauden Barrett (Coastal) to add captaincy to his list of achievements with the All Blacks. Barrett has been named at first five-eighth, and skipper, in a mostly second-string lineup to face Robbie Deans' Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday (early Sunday NZT) in front of a crowd expected to top 70,000. It will be the first time the 59-test playmaker, and 2015 World Cup winner, has led New Zealand's finest after being handed the reins at the start of the week in Kieran Read's absence. Read more here
Horowhenua Kapiti's first five James So'oialo likely holds his province's Meads Cup fortunes in his boot. The Levin-based team has never won any silverware in the Heartland Championship and their rise to the final has taken many by surprise after finishing ninth last year. The talented So'oialo landed six penalty goals in his side's 18-17 nail-biting win semifinal win over a fast finishing Buller side to make their first final against arch rivals Wanganui on Saturday. Horowhenua Kapiti know they have a mountain to climb against the five times champions, who have only missed the Meads Cup final twice since its inception in 2006. Read more here
Tasman's ability to beat Taranaki away from home has been highlighted for a second straight year after they upset the Mitre 10 Cup [Men's NPC competition] Premiership top qualifiers 30-29 in New Plymouth. The victory sets up another final in Christchurch next Saturday with Canterbury favoured to continue their domination of domestic rugby. While Taranaki looked arguably the more dangerous side for periods, they were let down badly by their discipline as they got on the wrong side of referee Nick Briant and paid the ultimate price in failing to send veteran coach Colin Cooper off in the sort of style many in their province would have wanted. Read more and watch video highlights here
Veteran Black Ferns and Auckland Storm halfback Emma Jensen has been named in the British Barbarians first women's team. Former Black Fern Jensen will join players from seven countries under the banner of the famous English club. The women's team will play a Munster outfit at Thomond Park in Limmerick, Ireland on November 10. Read more here
New Zealand’s rugby community is mourning the loss of former All Blacks Head Coach Peter Burke, who passed away aged 90. A Taranaki centurion, Burke played 117 matches for the amber and blacks including a successful Ranfurly Shield tenure as captain in 1958. Burke played 12 matches for the All Blacks, including three Tests, he retired from playing in 1959. Turning his attention to coaching, Burke served as a selector and assistant coach of Taranaki, and tasted more Ranfurly Shield success as the Union enjoyed their most successful Shield tenure in history during this time. Burke coached the All Blacks in 1981 and 1982, his 11 matches in charge of the All Blacks included series wins over the Springboks and the Wallabies. Burke served as New Zealand Rugby Union President in 1994 and received a New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to sport. In 2008 Burke was named a life member of New Zealand Rugby
Two of the country's leading women's players are celebrating 100-game milestones this weekend in round 5 of the Farah Palmer Cup. Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili celebrated her 100th game for the Auckland Storm on Friday night with a try in the Storm's 37-5 win over North Harbour. Black Ferns fullback Selica Winiata is set to play her 100th first-class game (69 for Manawatu) on Saturday for the Manawatu Cyclones against the Hawke's Bay Tuis in Napier.
Former All Blacks and Marist St Pat's loose forward Victor Vito has been named the 2017 French Top 14 Player of the Year. Vito who plays for French Club La Rochelle was awarded Top 14 Player of the Year after being nominated. Vito who played 33 tests for New Zealand and eight seasons for the Hurricanes before joining La Rochelle last year, beat out fellow nominees Clermont centre Remi Lamerat and Lyon flanker Carl Fearns for the honour.
Wellington Football Club is seeking expressions of interest from Coaches and Managers for the 2018 season for multiple coaching and management positions. To find out more about the Axemen, visit their website or Facebook page www.wellingtonfootballclub.org.nz / www.facebook.com/WellingtonAxemen To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to Club Captain, Walker Manaena or if you require any further information please contact:Walker Manaena Club Captain, Wellington Football Club email@example.com or Charlie Fuller Rugby and Coach Development Officer, Wellington Football Club firstname.lastname@example.org
Neither Mitch or Luke Jacobson were alive when two brothers last played together for Waikato. But the two youngest of three Jacobson brothers became Waikato's first in 23 years when Luke made his Men's NPC debut against Taranaki in August. The last were Tom and Richard Coventry during Waikato's 1994 season and former All Blacks Steve and Rob Gordon were before them having played for the Mooloos in 1991. Five Clarke brothers - Ian, Doug, Don, Brian and Graeme - famously played together for Waikato against Thames Valley in 1961 and four Clarkes on the field at once wasn't uncommon in that era. Read more here
Hastings Boys’ High School have won the National Top Four for the first time after defeating Hamilton Boys’ High School 25-17 in a gripping final which featured six lead changes. St Mary’s College beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 29-12 to win the Girls final, while St Peter’s School beat Feilding High School 31-3 to win the Co-ed Cup final. Read more here
Emma Jensen is set to become the first player to mark 100 matches in the women’s national provincial championship when she takes the field for the Auckland Storm at Eden Park on Saturday. The former Black Ferns halfback has played 24 matches for Waikato and Saturday sees her 76th match for the Auckland Storm, against traditional rivals Canterbury (kick off 12.05pm). Jensen played in the first season of women’s provincial championship rugby in 1999 and spent five seasons with Waikato. The three-time Women’s Rugby World Cup winner has also won 10 provincial titles with Auckland, has 49 Black Ferns Test caps to her name and earlier this year celebrated 150 matches for her club side College Rifles.
The NZ Barbarians National 1st XV Championships are being held at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North this coming Friday and Sunday. The ‘Top Four’ tournament has been staged every year since 1982. See the link below for a compilation of results and scoring from each of the finals 1982-2016. This year’s semi-finalists are Saint Kentigern College, Hamilton Boys’ High School, Hastings Boys’ High School and Southland Boys’ High School. Read more here
Aidan Winter has done more than most in the Otago Country jersey. The flanker played his 50th game for the team against a North Otago XV in Wanaka last month. While at higher levels 50 games can be achieved in a few years nowadays, it is a far more impressive feat to in the Country team.The 35-year-old is in his 10th year in the team, having begun in 2005 and played every year except for when he was overseas in 2012-14. Read more here
To follow our coverage of the Men's NPC, Farah Palmer Cup Women's NPC and Heartland Championship competitions, visit the Draws & Results link across the top of this page. Use the 'Change Competition' menu on the left-hand side of the page to view other competitions other than the default one showing.
Former All Blacks forward Victor Vito has been shortlisted for French rugby's Top 14 player of the year award after a stellar season with beaten semifinalist La Rochelle. Vito is one of three players in line for the award with Lyon's England No 8 Carl Fearns nominated, as well as Clermont's French centre Remi Lamerat. Fearns scored eight tries in 19 games this season while Lamerat was a key figure in helping Clermont win the Top 14 title, and also progress to the European Champions Cup final where they lost to Saracens. The winner of the Top 14 player of the year will be announced in Paris on September 18. Read more here
England's reign as world champions was ended by a magnificent performance from New Zealand as the Black Ferns ran in seven tries in Belfast to win 41-32. A penalty try and the first of Lydia Thompson's double helped England lead 17-5 approaching the break. But it was a narrow advantage having dominated territory and possession, and the Black Ferns then took control. Prop Toka Natua led the way with a hat-trick as New Zealand became world champions for the fifth time. Flying full-back Selica Winiata grabbed a brace and Charmaine Smith and Kendra Cocksedge also went over as the Black Ferns regained the mantle of world champions, which England had held since beating Canada to win the title in 2014. Read more here
Poneke hooker Dane Coles returns for this 50th Test this Saturday against Australia in Dunedin. The matchday 23 features just three changes from last week's team, all in the forwards. Hooker Coles returns to the front row for what will be his 50th Test, with Codie Taylor moving to the bench. Prop Kane Hames comes onto the bench replacing Wyatt Crockett, while Scott Barrett is the reserve lock, in for Luke Romano, who has a minor foot niggle. Lock Sam Whitelock will play his 90th Test this weekend. 28-year-old Whitelock is the most capped All Blacks lock of all time. The All Blacks have played Australia 159 times with 110 wins to the All Blacks, 42 to the Wallabies and seven draws.
A fortnight tomorrow sees the start of the Top 4 tournament in Palmerston North, and this weekend shapes as a pivotal one in the chase for those places where the contenders will look to separate themselves from the pretenders. We’ll take a look at all three competitions, region by region. Read more here
Wing Portia Woodman dotted down four times as New Zealand prevailed 45-12 over the USA in the semifinals of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Belfast on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time). The pacy and powerful No 14 produced a stunning solo effort in a hotly contested first half, before adding three more as the four-time champions eventually shook off a physical American outfit in the second spell and powered into the tournament decider. Read more here
For the third year, we are covering the Men's NPC competition (and the Women's NPC and Heartland Championship) through this website. To view draws and results and team lists for each game (as received/released) visit Draws & Results across the top of this page.
The Southland Stags will open their 2017 Men's NPC campaign against Hake's Bay in Napier on Saturday. Logan Savory of the Southland Times takes a look at the players who are set to line up in the maroon jersey this year. Read more here
After a series of dominating displays at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia led to New Zealand’s second age-grade title in three years, a significant number of their June squad will have the opportunity to gain experience in senior rugby when the NPC begins this week. In addition, a range of players who missed out on final selection for the Baby Blacks will be looking to impress, and U18 and U19 players selected to play in the senior provincial competition will seek to establish themselves ahead of next year’s Championship. Read more here
Counties Manukau wing Portia Woodman scored a likely tournament-record eight tries in New Zealand's 121-0 rout of Hong Kong in their second Pool A match at Billings Park in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday (Monday NZ Time). Following on from their 44-12 win over Wales in their opening match, Glenn Moore's side ran rampant against their outclassed Asian opponents, running in 19 tries and adding 13 conversions. It was the third time the Black Ferns have eclipsed 100 points at a WRWC, trailing only the 134-6 win over Germany in pool play in 1998. It was New Zealand's most points since a 117-0 win over Germany in the round of 16 in 2002. Read more here
Hastings Boys' High School have lost their Super 8 rugby crown despite drawing their final 12-all against Hamilton Boys' High School in Hastings today. Hamilton Boys won the trophy courtesy of scoring the first try of the match through hooker Tane Te Aho following a 43rd minute lineout drive. Hastings have a week off before meeting the second placed Wellington team. Napier Boys' High School were pipped 21-20 by Palmerston North Boys' High School in their Hurricanes region qualifier in Napier today. Napier had an early 8-0 lead but Palmerston North gained the upperhand when wet weather hit Napier. Read more here
Don't expect to see Julian Savea spend the upcoming Wellington Lions season sulking on the wing. The 54-test veteran was the notable absentee when the All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad was named this week. Having appeared in two of New Zealand's four matches this year, and had an indifferent Super Rugby campaign with the Hurricanes, the 27-year-old was relegated to the provincial ranks. Savea was at the Lions' season launch on Friday, but excused from media duties. As a Super Rugby player, he was entitled to still be on leave but attended the launch as a show of his commitment to Wellington's cause. Read more here
Canada will host the Maori All Blacks for their first visit to Vancouver, when the two sides meet at BC Place Stadium on Friday 3 November 2017, Rugby Canada and New Zealand Rugby announced this morning. The match was announced at a special function in Vancouver early this morning. The match in Vancouver will be the first of a two-match end of year programme for the Maori All Blacks. The second fixture, to be played in Europe, will be announced in due course. Canada will be securing its top professionals for the match in order to field the strongest team possible at BC Place. Having recently lost to the USA in a home-and-home series for the North America 1 seed at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, Canada will use the 3 November fixture to prepare for the next chance to qualify for the World Cup.
New Zealand's outside backs have run amok to open their women's rugby World Cup campaign with a 44-12 win over Wales in Dublin. Fullback Selica Winiata bagged a hat-trick while there was a double for winger Renee Wickliffe as the four-time champions started the tournament in resounding fashion. Seven of the eight tries went to outside backs, with winger Portia Woodman and centre Stacey Waaka also registering. The exception to the rule was one try to lock Eloise Blackwell. Read more here
he Crusaders, the most successful team in Super Rugby history, relied on their defence to win this year's competition. That is the view of head coach Scott Robertson, who looked on as his side beat the Lions 25-17 at Ellis Park in Saturday's final to register their eighth Super Rugby title. The Crusaders had started strongly and, after a red card to Lions flank Kwagga Smith, extended their lead to 25-3. At that stage, there seemed to be no way back for the Lions, but two tries in the last quarter made for an interesting finish. It was during those final 20 minutes, Robertson says, that the Crusaders had to earn the win through their defence. Read more here
Outstanding young prospects, Folau Fakatava, Devon Flanders, Lincoln McClutchie and Danny Toala have committed their future to Hawke’s Bay Rugby for 2018 and 2019. Each player hails from the highly successful Hastings Boys High School First XV that finished runner up in the 2016 Top Four Schools competition and are currently unbeaten after a stellar 2017 season to date. Read more here
A straight-talking rugby coach was the inspiration for an emotional club rugby victory on Saturday.
Pirates Rugby Club women's premier team manager Jess Tuhega said the team dedicated its 27-10 win against University in the women's club final at Kettle Park in Dunedin on Saturday to their coach, Neville ''Nev'' Haua, who died in June. Read more here
It's unusual for Napier Old Boys Marist's premier rugby team's No 8 and tryscoring machine Joseph Penitito to dine out on Friday nights. But he had no intention of allowing his brother, Clive second five-eighth Duff Penitito to cook for him last night. "I think he heard my teammates telling me to poison his dinner," Duff joked as the brothers hammed it up on the eve of today's Maddison Trophy final between their respective teams at Napier's McLean Park. It will be a rare occasion when brothers have been on opposing teams for the final and although Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited Napier Old Boys Marist have won the last four games between the two sides, Joseph said there would be no complacency in the defending champions camp as they chased their 34th consecutive win today. Read more here
Celtic's stunning Hamersley Cup grand final run has kept going with a deserved 25-10 victory over Harlequins. The South Canterbury championship win makes Celtic the most successful club in New Zealand in the modern era, when it comes to consecutive senior rugby crowns. While Celtic's pack dominated proceedings their unsung backline sparked into life and ran in four tries at Alpine Energy Stadium, with first five Willie Wright adding a penalty and conversion. Read more here
Hamilton Old Boys will host Otorohanga at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday in the final of the Waikato premier club rugby competition. Jesse King and Ian Anderson had a chat to the respective head coaches this week and a look at the match-up. Read more here
Former Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman has welcomed the move to test New Zealand's leading Secondary School Rugby players. Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) will randomly test athletes at September's Top Four National First XV finals tournament in Palmerston North. DFSNZ regularly tests young athletes, but this will be the first time the agency has tested athletes representing their schools. "It's a very important initiative" said Howman. "A lot of the problems in doping occur in the stages where young athletes are trying to break through into the elite nature and they're tempted to do that by others who should know better but a lot of doping goes on at that level so I'm really pleased at the initiative from DFSNZ and the willingness I think of the school principals to take this on."Read more here
Ponsonby's Willie Talataina-Mu is adjusting to life in Invercargill after signing with Southland for the upcoming 2017 representative rugby season. The 21-year-old first-five-eighth who was one of the leading points scorers in the 2017 Auckland club rugby season with 129, will try to break into the provincial scene with the Stags, after being on the cusp of the Auckland side in recent seasons. The former Samoan under-20 and New Zealand under-19 representative has played club rugby alongside the likes of Blues brothers Akira and Rieko Ioane, Patrick Tuipulotu and Hurricanes star Vince Aso and Michael Fatialofa, but has headed south to further his chances of playing in the NPC. Read more here
It should be a case of short-term pain, long-term gain as women's rugby players in Nelson and Marlborough finally get a chance to test themselves in the national provincial championship. Tasman is the new addition to the expanded 11-team Farah Palmer Cup competition. Tasman will contest the second-tier championship, with two crossover matches against premiership teams Waikato and Canterbury. Read more here
Moutere are the 2017 Marlborough division one rugby champions. The proud Spring Creek-based club picked up a record 32nd senior title when it overcame a gallant Renwick combination 22-19 at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim on Saturday. In a thrilling encounter the Magpies came from behind twice to take the honours, scoring four tries to their rival's three. Read more here
The last team to qualify for the Waikato premier club rugby playoffs have bolted into the final. Otorohanga upset top qualifiers Hamilton Marist 31-21 in Hamilton on Saturday in their semifinal and will now meet Hamilton Old Boys to decide the title-winners for 2017. At Fred Jones Park, Old Boys routed Melville 43-0 to assume favouritism for the final, scoring six tries in a dominant display. Otorohanga's win came courtesy of a magnificent second-half scrum performance at Marist Park. Read more here
The Hurricanes negotiated a tenacious Brumbies side in Canberra on Friday night in their Super Rugby quarter-final The Brumbies were right in the match at halftime, but weight of possession and territory for the Hurricanes finally bore fruit when returning rake Dane Coles passed inside to halfback TJ Perenara to score the match-breaking try. HURRICANES 35 (Wes Goosen 2, Jordie Barrett, TJ Perenara tries; Jordie Barrett 2, Beauden Barrett conversions; Jordie Barrett 3 penalties) bt ACT BRUMBIES 16 (James Dargaville, Josh Mann-Rea tries; Wharenui Hawera 2 penalties)
Mike Delany has returned from England to play for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the upcoming NPC season. Delany has recently returned from England where he was playing for the Newcastle Falcons in the English Premiership. Delany has previously clocked up over 60 caps for BoP, the 35 year old first five eighth brings a wealth of knowledge and experience back to NZ. In a career spanning over a decade, Delany has previously played Super Rugby for both the Highlanders and the Chiefs prior to heading overseas to play for Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights, French Club Clermont Auvergne and the Newcastle Falcons.
Napier Old Boys Marist loose forward Matt Gardner produced three tries in a player-of-the-match performance for his team on Saturday to become the 17th weekly winner and establish a two-point lead on the leaderboard with one round remaining in the tussle to become this season's holder of the Hawke's Bay Club Rugby Player of the Year award. Read more here
Otorohanga clinched their semifinal spot in the last round of Waikato premier club rugby with a resounding 52-24 victory over Fraser-Tech on Saturday. They'll now visit Hamilton to play Marist on Saturday, after Marist finished top of the table with an 80-7 thrashing of University. Hautapu did everything they could to leap Otorohanga into fourth, but their mammoth 79-7 bonus point win over United Matamata Sports wasn't enough. Otorohanga's forwards laid the platform for their victory by dominating the set-piece and they put plenty of pressure on Tech early when they opted for a scrum following a late tackle penalty. Read more here
Rugby's law book is being shredded by a whopping 50 per cent, as the game gets closer to a much-needed simplification. By late 2018 we could all be enjoying a simpler game, thanks to the World Rugby Council's commissioning of a technical group to undertake a Laws Simplification Project. At the completion of the northern season in mid-2018, the trials will be reviewed by the Laws Review Group in June, with recommendations made to the Rugby Committee in October, then Council to confirm the amendments in November 2018. Read more here
Adam Boult's arrival on the Manawatu club scene has been packed with highlight worthy plays. Plenty of classy and experienced outside backs have been left grasping for air as he bolted past them this season, his first for Te Kawau. And heading into the final week of the regular season, he tops all try scorers with 14. Remarkably, he only turned 18 this year. He is a shoo-in for the Manawatu Under 19 team and is eligible for another season in the side next year. Read more here
Wairarapa-Bush head coach Joe Harwood is excited at the amount of young talent included in the 30-man squad selected to prepare for the 2017 Heartland rugby championship. The number of players who are bidding to represent the combined unions at this level for the very first time stretches well into double figures and Harwood sees that as a positive sign for the future of the sport there.The decision of former All Black halfback Piri Weepu to make himself available for Wairarapa-Bush was welcomed by Harwood who said his leadership skills would be invaluable.View the squad and read more here
In-form Napier Old Boys Marist first five-eighth Johnny Lauano didn't know he was playing his 150th game for the team until an hour before kick-off on Saturday. Nor could he remember his first season with the side. But there was one thing Lauano, 29, was certain of after Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited Napier Old Boys Marist's 40-10 win against Hastings Rugby and Sports in the feature Maddison Trophy seventh-round clash at Elwood Park. This was the team's 30th consecutive win during the past two seasons and the 16th time they had secured maximum competition points this season. Read more here
After four months on the sideline, Hurricanes captain Dane Coles (Poneke) appears destined for a return to active duty. It won't be on Saturday, when the team host the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium, but it shouldn't be too long after that. Particularly with a trip to Cape Town on the cards. As the stands today, the Hurricanes will meet the Brumbies in Canberra in the Super Rugby quarterfinals. Read more here
Timaru took its chance to hold a match between two Super Rugby teams with both hands.The Crusaders and Highlanders visited for a mid-season clash and the Timaru rugby community were treated to fine weather and some good rugby, with the only downside being the result, as the Crusaders were humbled 33-12. It was a fantastic day out as an estimated 4500 people turned up to support the teams. Read more here
The Petone Rugby Football Club mourns the loss of club member Sione Palei 'Bah' Tuiano Tuiano, who died in a motor accident on Sunday morning. Bah joined the club this year and played for the Petone Brotherhood First Grade team and for the Premier Reserves. Bah's two brothers continue their battles in hospital. The Wellington club rugby community extends its condolences to all family and friends.
Marist defeated Eastern-Northern Barbarians 12-10 yesterday to book their place in the upcoming Galbraith Shield final. Barbarians get a second life and they will play Star in a sudden death semi-final next week after Star defeated Woodlands 40-21 and ended their season.
A young Horowhenua first-five's meteoric rise from rookie club player to regional call-up is complete. Sean Pape has been named in the 2017 Hurricanes under-18 training squad, to take part in a five-day training camp starting on July 9. The 58-man squad will be cut to 23, when a team to take on the Crusaders under-18s on July 15 is picked afterwards. In his first year at the club level, Pape is the H-K club competition's top points-scorer, with 114. His points have fuelled Shannon's impressive season - they sit third on the table with two rounds to go before the playoffs. Read more here
A group of 120 current and recent schoolgirl players have been nominated to trial for a development camp from 12-17 December and to participate in a tournament on Saturday 16 December.
Three New Zealand teams will be selected: U18 Girls Sevens, U18 Girls Maori Sevens and U17 Girls Sevens. View the names here
Despite Blues missing the Southland club rugby playoffs, which will start on Saturday, Fukofuka showcased his abilities for all to see in Southland club rugby through the round-robin stages. As a result, he has been crowned Southland's premier club rugby player of the year which was determined on an MVP points basis. Read more here
New Zealand are the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series champions after taking out the final tournament in France. The team secured the world title after beating hosts France in the semifinal 21-7, before rounding out their series win with an emphatic 22-7 win over Australia in the tournament final in Clermont-Ferrand. They finished the series with 116 points after winning five of the six tournaments, with Australia 16 points back in second. They lost just one of their 36 matches this season, to the United States in the Sydney Sevens semifinals.
Rugby referee Natarsha Ganley has thrived in unfamiliar territory. After making her debut in the international game this month, on Saturday, Ganley will make history in the local club competition. Ganley was assistant referee, during the recent International Women's Series. This afternoon, Ganley will mark another milestone when she becomes the first woman to referee a North Harbour Rugby premier 1 men's club game. Canterbury, Auckland and Manawatu have already had a woman referee at premier level. Read more here
Six teams are still in the hunt for top-four places in one of the closest East Coast club rugby competitions in many years. Tirihau Victory Club (TVC), defending champions Hikurangi, Ruatoria City and Uawa are leading the charge, but Waiapu and Hicks Bay are not out of the hunt. Hicks Bay, in sixth place, are on a roll heading into tomorrow’s game against bottom-of-the-table Tawhiti, having won their past four games, including last week’s 29-27 victory over Hikurangi and a 22-20 defeat of third-placed Ruatoria. Fifth-placed Waiapu, who host Tokomaru Bay United tomorrow, recorded a 30-22 win against Uawa (fourth), while Uawa put 30 points on TVC two weeks ago. Read more here
The Awatere Rugby Club, which last year combined with Kaikoura to create East Coast Rugby, is hosting a special fundraising match between the Tasman Makos and Wellington Lions on August 10 to pay for the insurance excess of $29,000 on around $180,000 of damage to their Seddon clubrooms. Club committee member, coach and chairman of the East Coast steering committee, Andrew Lawson, says about the same amount was fundraised following the 2013 Grassmere earthquake and it was "a bit gutting" to have the newly fixed clubrooms damaged so badly again during the Kaikoura earthquake. Most of the building's aluminium window frames were sheared off and fell out, plumbing pipes severed, gib torn and cladding damaged. Read more here
The All Blacks match-day 23 to face the British and Irish Lions on Saturday sees the return of captain Kieran Read with Ardie Savea moving to the bench. Rieko Ioane has been named on the left wing replacing Julian Savea in what will be Ioane's first start in his third Test. It will also be Ioane's third time facing the Lions in the series. Coach Steve Hansen praised Ioane: I'd also like to congratulate Rieko on getting his first start for the All Blacks. His outstanding form throughout the season this year, including against the Lions, has earned him his start on the wing."
A thrilling come-from-behind victory secured Hamilton Old Boys the Waikato women's club rugby title over the weekend. They beat favourites and defending champions University 19-10 on Saturday afternoon, after trailing 10-0 at halftime. Playing on their home ground, University opened the scoring inside six minutes, when prop Kate Anderson dove over. They then extended their lead to 10 midway through the half, as hooker Natalie Delamere scored their second. But in the second half, it was all Old Boys. Read more here
It's only mid-June, but already two of the semi-finalists have been decided in Taranaki Premier club rugby. Competition leaders Coastal and defending champions Tukapa are the first two sides to book their places in the semifinals of the Taranaki premier club competition. Coastal had to dig deep and defend more than they had in any game this season to get past bottom-placed Clifton 18-12 at the Okato Domain on Saturday. Tukapa captain Mitchell Crosswell scored two tries as they beat Spotswood United 24-17 at Yarrow Stadium. Read more here
Pirates-Old Boys player Jimmy Affleck will bring up his 250th game for Pirates-Old Boys when they take on Star at the Les George Oval today. Pirates and Old Boys merged in 2001 and Affleck has played in all but one of the club's 17 seasons after he played his first game for Pirates-Old Boys in 2002. Meikle said he played for the right reasons, in terms friendship and club loyalty, and that made him the perfect club member. Not surprisingly, at 249 games, Affleck has played the most games for the club, with David Hall sitting in second. At 35 Affleck has indicated he is not done yet and is likely to feature when the 2018 season rolls around as well. Read more here
Coastal first five-eighth Beauden Barrett has been named in the All Blacks match-day squad to play his 50th Test against Samoa in Auckland on Friday night. Barrett is also currently has 297 Test points and is poised to be the fifth All Black to score 300 Test points. Brother Jordie Barrett is also on the bench and could make his Test debut.
The New Zealand under-20s will face England in the world rugby championships final after beating France 39-26 on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) in Tbilisi, Georgia. NZ led the semi-final 36-0 just after half-time but France, who've never progressed to the decider in this tournament, fought back admirably after New Zealand had streaked clear. Hawke's Bay first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon scored 19 of New Zealand's points - including one of their five tries. The final takes place at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi on Sunday at 6pm (Monday, 2pm NZ time). New Zealand 39 (Asafo Aumua, Dalton Papali'i, Will Jordan, Tiaan Falcon, Will Jordan, Caleb Clarke tries; Falcon 4 con, 2 pen) France 26 (Baptiste Pesenti-Compagnoni, Peato Mauvaka, Baptiste Couilloud, Lucas Tauzin tries; Alex Arrate 3 con). HT: 29-0
After one All Blacks cap was buried with his father and another was lost when the family home burnt down, Ben Purvis thought he would never see another. So he was humbled when presented with cap number 746, that of his father, former All Black wing Neil Purvis, at the annual Neil Purvis memorial match at Tarras on Saturday. As captain of the Upper Clutha side playing Arrowtown, Ben Purvis received the replacement cap from family friend Paul Allison who approached the New Zealand Rugby Union with the request. It was presented by his father's friend and former All Black Wayne Graham. Read more here
Teenage halfback Xavier Roe proved to be a spectacular match-winner for Melville as they came from 24-3 down at halftime to beat University in their Waikato club rugby premiership clash on Saturday. Former Hamilton Boys' High School No 9 Roe, who came on as an injury replacement five minutes into the second spell in what seemed a losing cause for the out-played visitors at Waikato University, helped turn the match on its head before scoring a breathtaking individual try with time up to give his side a 31-27 win. Read more here
The Black Ferns beat a very competitive Canada side 28-16 at Wellington's Westpac Stadium on Friday, on the back of a terrific individual performance from halfback Kendra Cocksedge. Earlier in the day, England kicked off the tournament with an emphatic 53-10 win over Australia at Jerry Collins Stadium. Read more here
Not a cent has been spent by the New Zealand Rugby Union on the Sir Colin Meads statue. In just over a week, a 2.7-metre bronze sculpture of the rugby great will be unveiled in the former All Black's hometown of Te Kuiti. The NZRU was approached to make a donation by project leader Legendary Te Kuiti Committee, but the union said no. "The Sir Colin Meads statue and exhibition are fantastic local initiatives," NZRU president Maurice Trapp said, "led by his family and community. As has been the case with a number of similar local commemorative projects, New Zealand Rugby is not making a monetary contribution to the statue," Read more here
New Zealand has qualified for the semi-finals of the World Under-20 Rugby Championships by topping Pool B unbeaten. In their latest match the Baby Blacks trounced Ireland 69-3, scoring 11 unanswered tries. New Zealand led 31-3 at halftime. Fullback Will Jordan and back Caleb Clarke each scored a hat-trick. Read more here
The Black Ferns host Canada in their Test match in Wellington on Friday night at 5.30pm. Prop Pip Love returns after injury ruled her out of the 2016 season. Stacey Waaka is back in the starting XV after an impressive Black Ferns debut in 2015 at just 20 was stalled by injury last year. Experienced forwards Les Ketu and Linda Itunu are also back after missing selection due to injury in 2016, and utility back and Black Ferns Sevens player Theresa Fitzpatrick will make her debut from the bench. Read more here
Hurricanes wing Julian Savea will start in his 100th Investec Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in front of his home fans at Westpac Stadium on Friday. Julian Savea will become the tenth player to reach 100 caps for the Hurricanes after Tana Umaga, Rodney So’oialo, Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata, Jeremy Thrush, Ma’a Nonu, Victor Vito, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane.
Otherwise known as The Bus, Savea, 26, made his Hurricanes debut against the Highlanders in Wellington in 2009 and has been a fixture on the wing ever since. Though it took him 16 matches to score his first Super Rugby try, Savea has been a try-scoring machine during his seven seasons in the Hurricanes. He has crossed the try line 45 times in 99 matches, the same number of tries he has scored for the All Blacks.
Waimea Old Boys coach Mark Milne graciously acknowledged that a draw might have been a fair result. But he clearly wasn't about to deny his players a stunning 31-28 overtime win over Nelson in Monday''s Tasman Trophy club rugby final at Trafalgar Park. When Waimea flanker Dan Hytongue burrowed across for the matchwinning try in the 10th and final minute of overtime, it signalled the end of a remarkable contest in which both sides had flirted with both victory and defeat. Nelson had virtually looked out of the hunt after a spectacular 90m intercept try to winger Mo Tau had put Waimea ahead 21-7 13 minutes into the second half. Nelson fought back courageously though through tries to fullback Andrew Norton-Taylor and to outstanding flanker Ethan Blackadder to eventually level up at 21-21 by fulltime. Read more here
Southern remains on top of the competition standings following a healthy 41-5 win against Alhambra-Union on Saturday in Dunedin club rugby. Playing an expansive running game, Southern took control through its big forward pack to dominate from the outset. Openside flanker Josh Clark and locks Andrew Sanders and Axel Hohneck maintained a high work rate to kept Alhambra-Union on the back foot. Southern led 27-0 at halftime. Dunedin also secured a bonus-point 43-35 victory against Zingari-Richmond. Kaikorai consolidated its place in the top four with a crucial 25-17 win against Harbour, while Green Island and Taieri drew 15-15. Read more here
The drought is over. After 16 years Christ's College have beaten Christchurch Boys' High School in the famous 'College Match.' With about five minutes remaining Christ's was ahead 16-15 when a firework exploded at Straven Road. It was a metaphor for a frantic and historic finish. Down 15-11 at halftime, Christ's played with the assistance of a brisk breeze in the second spell and were able to anchor themselves inside the hosts 22 for long periods. Read more here
Nelson prop Isaac Salmon will have a great yarn to tell the grandkids one day. He'll tell them about the time he scored three first half tries in a Tasman Trophy division one club rugby semi-final while also spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a crazy shoulder charge. Still, Salmon's stunning three-try performance was a telling factor in Nelson's 43-10 win over Marlborough club Moutere at Nelson's Trafalgar Park on Wednesday night. Most importantly, it's given them the opportunity to defend the title they won last season when they meet Waimea Old Boys in Monday's final following Waimea's tight 22-17 win over Wanderers in the other semifinal at Jubilee Park. Read more here
Respect is what the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians are after in their clash with the British and Irish Lions. Coach Clayton McMillan named the line-up he hopes can push the Lions at Toll Stadium, but recognises the battle ahead of him.McMillan named a powerful forward pack and complimented it with an exciting backline capable of playing with the flair associated with the Barbarians' jersey. Read more here
The odds of Poneke hooker Dane Coles being fit to feature in the British and Irish Lions rugby series have plummeted. The Hurricanes had targeted next Friday's clash with the Chiefs in Wellington to welcome Coles back to the fold. But indications are the hooker hasn't recovered from his concussion symptoms at the rate everyone hoped and he's been described as "a doubtful starter" for the Hurricanes' 23 to play the Chiefs. That would make him very hard to select in All Blacks teams to meet Samoa in a one-off test on June 16 or the first test of the Lions series on June 24. Read more here
Former Highlanders and Chiefs first five-eighth Trent Renata has signed a two-year deal with the Wellington Lions. Renata, 29, will join Oriental-Rongotai and the Lions squad for the 2017 Men's NPC at the conclusion of the Italian top league season where he has been playing for Mogliano for the past two seasons. Renata was equally capable of playing first five or fullback and was also a highly accomplished goal kicker. The Hamilton-born Hamilton Boys High School old boy represented Waikato 66 times at provincial level since his debut in 2008, and has also played for Otago, in 2014, and Tasman, in 2015. He played under new Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes during his time with Waikato, including being a key part of the side that lifted the Ranfurly Shield off Taranaki in 2012.
A Tasman club rugby player has passed away after suffering cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday. New Zealand Rugby announced today that 22-year-old Bevan Moody passed away this morning. He is survived by his partner Kendra and his two-year-old daughter Maddison. Moody had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital since Saturday evening. The young prop suffered cardiac arrest in the second half of the match between Nelson Club and Waitohi and stopped breathing. t is the second rugby related death in as many weeks across the country. 19-year-old Wellington club player Daniel Baldwin died last Wednesday after suffering an injury in a game the previous weekend. Moody played for the New Zealand Barbarians in 2013 and was a trialist for the New Zealand under-20s side the following season. Read more here
All Blacks Captain Kieran Read headed back to school today for a special event, with the inspirational loose forward announcing he has signed a new two-year contract with New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders through to the end of 2019. In recognition of his roots, Read has also revealed he is returning to the province where he was born and raised, and has also signed with Counties Manukau through to 2019. 31-year-old Read made the announcement in front of an excited school assembly at his old school, Rosehill College, in Papakura this morning.
Rangataua Sports proved they are more than capable of defending their Baywide title with a comprehensive 33-19 victory over previous leaders Te Puna at Te Ariki Park on Saturday. Rangataua's first-half performance was about as complete a 40-minute performance you could hope for with fast ruck ball and clever switches of play from their sharp backline proving too much for the Te Puna defence. Scottish winger Frank Robson, centre Timo Gardiner and lock Jesse Parete finished off excellent team tries with Steamers fullback Chase Tiatia returning to his best form with ball in hand as Rangataua led 19-5 at the break. Read more here
Tamati Samuels and Jesse Houston are the new faces in the New Zealand team for the final tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series in London. Samuels, from Hawke's Bay, and Houston, from Canterbury, come into the side after Rocky Khan (calf), Sione Molia (shoulder) and Jamie Booth (quad) were ruled out because of injuries they suffered in the Paris leg last weekend. Tasman's Andrew Knewstubb returns from injury for London, which begins on Saturday night (NZT). Read more here
Club Rugby's thoughts today are with the family, friends and teamates ofWellington Axemen Colts player Daniel Baldwin passed away yesterday evening. Daniel had been in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital since Saturday after collapsing during a match at Ngati Toa Domain last Saturday. The collective thoughts of everyone in the Wellington rugby community are with the Baldwin family and the Wellington Football Club at what is an extremely difficult time for everyone involved in our game. The New Zealand Rugby Foundation, New Zealand Rugby and the WRFU have offered their full support to the Baldwin family and offered counselling to other parties affected by this tragic accident.
Hayden Triggs has confirmed his retirement from rugby after a 'stressful' season where the former Maori All Blacks lock had to cope with losing his three-week old baby daughter Stella. Triggs, 35 and a former Linton Army solider, had represented the Hurricanes, the Highlanders, the Chiefs and the Blues before joining Leinster in 2015. He first played at provincial level for Manawatu in 2002 and won 70 caps for the Manawatu Turbos, as well as representing Otago (2009-2010) and North Harbour (2014-15). Read more here
A group of principals were concerned that some schools were taking advantage of the rules to gain an edge, Christchurch Boys' High School headmaster Nic Hill said in a statement. The New Zealand Schools Rugby Union (NZSRU) changed the rules last year so 19-year-old non-domestic players could no longer compete. Hill said Canterbury's UC Championship, run by the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU), was not being consistent with the national rules. It still allowed players who would not be eligible under the national rules to receive "dispensation" to play. Read more here
At the halfway point of the Manawatu club rugby season, the regular playoff contenders have worked themselves into a handy lead from the chasing pack.But they might not have it all their own way with many of the teams below them rounding into form. A look at how each team is looking for the second half of the season. Read more here
Mount Albert Grammar School's First XV rugby team are the second-best high school side in the world. The team picked up the silver medal at the Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament in Japan last month - a competition that has been won by New Zealand schools nine times throughout its 17-year history.They beat out high school teams from Russia, Japan, South Africa, Fiji, England, Chinese Taipei, and Korea, before losing to Lycees de la Borde Basse from France in a close final.But it could have gone the other way for MAGS, who lost 3-9 to the French team, and were disallowed a try that the referee later apologised for not awarding. Read more here
Central and Eastern sub-union players could be forced to merge with other teams, as the two sub-union teams are unable to muster enough players for their matches against premier grade rugby teams on Wednesday and Saturday. The four Southland country sub-unions of Western, Central, Northern and Eastern plus the Southland Under-19 team and a Town team had all been selected to be playing two games each this week against the six clubs from the Premier grade. This initiative was designed to give club players an extra pathway to represent Southland Country, Town and Southland B. Read more here
Central and Eastern sub-union players could be forced to merge with other teams, as the two sub-union teams are unable to muster enough players for their matches against premier grade rugby teams on Wednesday and Saturday. The four Southland country sub-unions of Western, Central, Northern and Eastern plus the Southland Under-19 team and a Town team had all been selected to be playing two games each this week against the six clubs from the Premier grade. This initiative was designed to give club players an extra pathway to represent Southland Country, Town and Southland B. Read more here
The Harbour Rugby Club is turning 25 this year and will celebrate the milestone in the last weekend of the month. Chairman Martin Paris said he was expecting from 120 to 150 people to attend the celebrations which will start on Friday evening with an informal get-together and an auction night. The Harbour Rugby Football Club was formed in 1992 when the Port Chalmers and Ravensbourne clubs merged. Both those clubs were more than 100 years old. Read more here
He's been making the big decisions for 16 years and now, one of the Horowhenua-Kapiti rugby fraternity's most recognisable faces, has clocked up his 150th game in the middle. Referee Michael McNamara reached the milestone by officiating Paraparaumu's 13-9 win over Shannon at the Paraparaumu Domain on Saturday. Since making his senior grade debut he has officiated at seven H-K grand finals, including the last five in a row. A Paraparaumu local, McNamara played for Kapiti College, but not to a high level. Read more here
More than 100 players have left the Dunedin Metropolitan Rugby competition in the past year. Pirates' decision to pull out of the premier grade grabbed the headlines, but a quick look at the competition draw reveals it is one of five teams missing this season. The premier grade, premier two grade and senior grade tournaments have all shed one team this season, while the junior colts grade has dropped two teams. That is quite an alarming fall, but also part of a wider trend which has seen the popularity of club rugby wane since the mid 1990s. Read more here
Nelson College held on for a gripping 22-21 win over Christ's College despite playing most of the second half with 14 men after flanker Brad Pool was red-carded by referee Gary Reilly for verbal abuse in Saturday's opening round of the UC Championship secondary schools rugby championship. It required a remarkable defensive effort by the home team on Nelson College's main ground to also retain the Moascar Cup after Pool was sent packing just eight minutes after the restart. Two first half tries to irrepressible fullback Leister Faingaanuku had helped Nelson to a 15-7 halftime lead after Christ's had opened the scoring through an early try to their centre Isaiah Punivai. But with Christ's applying all the early pressure in the second half, Pool's indiscretion compounded Nelson's problems as Christ's looked to turn the screws. Read more here
The New Zealand U20s opened their Under 20 Oceania Tournament on the Gold Coast with a comfortable 63-3 win over the Fijian U20s on Friday evening. In windy conditions, New Zealand outscored the Fijians 8 tries to nil, fullback Will Jordan crossing for a hat-trick and starting first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon kicking 19 points. Playing with the aid of the strong wind, New Zealand scored four tries and sailed to a 35-0 halftime lead. Read more here
James Broadhurst has called time on his rugby career. The 29-year-old Hurricanes lock today confirmed his retirement due to the ongoing effects of concussion. Broadhurst said it had been difficult to be advised by medical experts to walk away from the game he loved, but ultimately it was the right advice. I've been away from the game for a little over 18 months and still experience symptoms which affect my daily life. “Some extensive efforts have gone into getting me back to sport by medical professionals in and out of rugby. Even though it hasn't resulted in the outcome I had hoped for, I owe each and every one of them a huge debt, as my health has improved massively and this will undoubtedly give me quality of life in the future.”
A full round of club matches was played on ANZAC Day in the Waikato, with Charles Ngatai playing a full match for University. There were four tight matches and a blowout. Hautapu and Hamilton Old Boys are the unbeaten leaders after the opening four rounds. Read more here
Southbridge crushed Rolleston by a whopping 114-0 in round five of the Luisetti Seeds Combined Country Cup. As the round robin reached the midway mark, Southbridge ran in 18 unanswered tries to brutally thrash the bottom of the table Rolleston. The massive win maintained Southbridge's unbeaten run to have maximum points in section two. Shannon Donald scored a hat-trick and kicked four conversions for a haul of 23 points while Peni Manumanuniwila and Jarrod Sheat both scored doubles. Eleven other players crossed for tries and Matt Hickey landed seven conversions. Read more here
A last-ditch try from Michaela Blyde gave the New Zealand women's sevens team the spoils at the Kitakyushu sevens in Japan.Her try, in added time at the end of the second half, meant they beat C s remaining. Blyde crossed over at the end of a frantic passage of play, which was only possible after Canada had fumbled a kickoff when up 14-12, with only seconds remaining. Portia Woodman was the Player of the Final. Read more here
The first day of matches at the St. Paul's Collegiate First XV rugby festival have been completed with four fixtures, two at a time, contested in calm and overcast conditions this afternoon. There were wins for Sacred Heart College, Napier BHS, King's College and St Kentigern College. Read more here
Charlie Ngatai may make his return to rugby this weekend after almost a year on the sidelines with concussion symptoms. Chiefs midfielder Ngatai, who played his one and only test for the All Blacks against Samoa in Apia in 2015, has not played since May 7 last year when he was involved in a head clash in a match against the Highlanders in Hamilton. Ngatai is set to line up for University on Saturday in the Waikato club competition - the team he has turned out for on the odd occasion over the past few years - in their match against Otorohanga at the Island Reserve. Read more here
The Black Ferns Sevens team to play the fourth leg of the 2016/17 HSBC Women’s World Sevens Series in Kitakyushu, starting this Saturday, has been named. This is the first time an HSBC Women’s World Sevens Series tournament has been held in Japan and helps serves as preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where rugby sevens will feature. Read more here
Kia Toa had a 46-10 win over Freyberg in the wet on Easter Monday in Manawatu club rugby, with last year's NZ Schools captain Brayden Iose collecting the 3 Best & Fairest points. The standings after Easter are: arsity 20, Kia Toa 20, FOB-Oroua 19, COB 19, OB-Marist 16, Te Kawau 12, Feilding 5, Linton 5, Freyberg 5. Games coming up on 22 April are: Freyberg v Varsity, Colquhoun 1; Linton v Kia Toa, Linton 1; OBM v Feilding, Arena 2; Te Kawau v COB, Rongotea 1. Read more here
he final squad for the Oceania Under 20 tournament on the Gold Coast starting on 28 May has been confirmed with former New Zealand Secondary Schools representatives Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Ciarahn Matoe joining the squad and Waikato's Luke Jacobson the captain. Read more here
Central kick started their 2017 division one Marlborough campaign at a rain-soaked Lansdowne Park on Thursday night. The previously-winless Blues scored seven tries to two against town rival Harlequins, prevailing 45-20 in what was a free-flowing encounter despite the treacherous conditions. To their credit, both sides endeavoured to hold onto the ball, rather than kick for position, and the hardy spectators were rewarded with several well-executed tries. Read more here
Round three of Southland club rugby action has been squeezed in midweek this week to free up Easter weekend for players and officials. In the premier grade one game was scheduled for Wednesday night with the Eastern-Northen Barbarians and Blues meeting at the Gore Showgrounds. On Thursday night at Rugby Park the top of the table Marist will play Star who are searching for their first win. While Woodlands and Pirates-Old Boys are set to meet at Woodlands. Read more here
The 24th National Deaf Rugby Championship is being played at Jerry Collins Stadium at Porirua Park this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The tri-series of matches see Central play the Northern Marlins on Friday at 2.00pm, Central play Southern at 2pm on Saturday and Northern meet Southern at 1.30pm on Sunday.
There are four changes to the All Blacks Sevens team to play the eighth leg of the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens World Series in Singapore, starting this Saturday, following a spate of injuries at the Hong Kong tournament last weekend. The team is: DJ Forbes – Captain (Counties Manukau)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury), Iopu Iopu-Aso (Taranaki), Trael Joass (Tasman), Andrew Knewstubb (Tasman), Vilimoni Koroi (Otago), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Joe Ravouvou (Auckland), Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)
Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty) Thirteenth player: Lewis Ormond (Taranaki). Traveling Reserve:
Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty)
All Blacks captain Kieran Read proved a drawcard in Christchurch on Saturday as he played his first game of club rugby in nine years. The crowds showed up at Linfield Park for what was no ordinary club rugby derby in University's 60-11 win over Linwood. It was one of those rare occasions when the kids got to see their hero and the club stalwarts got to see an All Black return to "grass roots" rugby. A rare occasion in this professional rugby era. Read more here
From the Roar: Ask most rugby folk who is the best scrum-half in the world is, and the reply that comes out of their mouths with metronomic regularity is Highlanders and All Blacks No.9 Aaron Smith. But that may be changing, if TJ Perenara’s performance in the Reds v Hurricanes match is a reliable measure. Not only did TJ control the game with the excellence of his play, he was probably also the best referee on the field. I have to admit that I had not realised just how good a halfback Perenara has become. The Reds’ game opened my eyes to the true excellence of his play at No. 9. Read more here
Kieran Read's much anticipated, and rare, appearance for the University club is expected to coincide with Crusaders team-mate Richie Mo'unga getting a run for Linwood on Saturday. Read more here
Sky Network Television has released its schedule of First XV games to be broadcast on TV this year. The coverage starts on 29 April and continues through to the Top Four Final on the weekend of 8-10 September. To view the schedule please go here
There are three changes to the New Zealand men's rugby sevens squad for this weekend's round in Hong Kong. Sam Dickson returns from injury after missing the Vancouver leg, while Regan Ware is back and Auckland's Joe Ravouvou is selected for the first time. The Hong Kong 10s tournament, will also provide some valuable international game and tournament time with four contracted All Blacks Sevens players, with Lewis Ormond, Tone Ng Shiu, Teddy Stanaway and Joe Webber playing. Read more here
Zac Guildford is loving life in Hamilton as he bids to resurrect his rugby career. The former All Blacks winger made his debut for Hamilton Old Boys as they beat champions Melville 18-7 in round one of Waikato premier club rugby on Saturday. After a troubled past, the 28-year-old with 11 All Blacks caps feels settled at Waikato's most successful ever club, who've won 14 titles since the premier competition began in 1967. Read more here
"The culture of the team is really strong. I think it's a lot better than what it was at the same time last year," warns Jack Casey-Pickering captain of the Mount Albert Grammar School First XV. The National Top Four champions start their season on Saturday with a hit-out against 1A runners up Sacred Heart College. A replay of the Auckland final so early in the season is a serious start. Read more here
eteran Chiefs loose forward Liam Messam is dedicating his 150th game to Ka’iulani Forbes, the courageous Waikato 2-year old battling stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Messam and many of his Chiefs teammates may run a little faster this Saturday when they take on the Bulls at FMG Stadium Waikato, having shaved their hair this week to raise money to assist the Forbes family in paying for the medical treatment Ka’iulani requires abroad.
The start of the Marlborough club rugby season seems to come around quicker each year and it's always a highly-anticipated weekend. Good numbers of people turned out at the weekend to run the rule over the local clubs and see who is going to set the early pace. This year the makeup of a lot of the Marlborough teams in the NPD Tasman Trophy was relatively unknown as a lot of teams have had a high turnover during the off season. Central, Harlequins, Renwick, Waitohi, Moutere and East Coast will again slug it out in the local Marlborough competition. Read more here
An accelerometer planted in rugby players’ mouthguards will help Lincoln University researchers learn more about head impact and concussion. Lincoln’s premier senior rugby team players, known as the Rams, will also wear GPS sensors and have all of this season’s games filmed so researchers can monitor their on-field performance. Read more here
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders have secured the services of loose forward Matt Todd for another year, re-signing him to the end of the 2018 season. 28-year-old Todd has been a consistent performer for the Crusaders and All Blacks since making his Super Rugby debut in 2011 and Test debut in 2013. He has played eight Tests to date and is only a few games off reaching his 100th cap for the Crusaders, but has proven over the last couple of years that he is only getting better and better with age and experience. Todd acknowledged that there had been interest from overseas clubs but said the decision to stay and play his rugby in New Zealand and Christchurch for 2018 was relatively straightforward in the end.
After beating the Crusaders in every facet except the scoreboard, has losing become a habit for the Blues? Read more here
In the game of the round featuring last year's Premier grand finalists, defending champions Rangataua Sports dominated large chunks of territory and possession but could not shake off the resilient Mount Maunganui Sports on the scoreboard in their Baywide competiton opener. Results: Tauranga Sports 28 Arataki 16, Rangataua 11 Mount Maunganui 3, Te Puke Sports 54 Greerton Marist 12, Rotoiti 51 Poroporo 7, Paroa 37 Whakatane Marist 18, Whakarewarewa 24 Te Puna 20. Read more here
All Blacks, Chiefs and Waikato halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow will bid adieu to New Zealand at the end of 2017. The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal with French Top 14 Club La Rochelle. Melbourne-born Kerr-Barlow arrived in New Zealand in 2004 as a 13-year-old and attended Hamilton Boys High School. The hard-working halfback made his debut for Waikato in 2009 and in 2010 he was part of the New Zealand Under 20 side that won the Junior World Championship in Argentina.
The New Zealand men's sevens team have conceded the fact they won't be claiming the overall title this year. With a fifth placed finish at the Vancouver tournament at the weekend, the best the New Zealand team can hope for is to finish second - and they still have a lot to do if they want to achieve that. he team's chances of staying alive in the overall title hunt plummeted when they lost to England 14-12 in the quarterfinals. England went on to win the tournament. Speaking to Radio Sport, New Zealand coach Scott Waldrom said after good performances on the opening day of the tournament, his side had high hopes for the pressure stages Read more here
Napier Old Boys Marist have won the 2017 NZ Marist Spillane Cup, beating Wellington's Marist St Pat's 22-3 in the final this afternoon in Palmerston North. MSP started a second string side and failed to fire, while NOBM were well led by early replacement halfback and former Wellington St Pat's Town college player Zac Donaldson. He sealed victory with the final try of the final, an 8-9 move near the whitewash. Wellington's Hutt Old Boys Marist beat hosts Palmerston North Old Boys Marist 49-19 in the playoff for third and fourth.
Pirates has pulled out of the Dunedin premier rugby club competition this season, saying it did all it could to get players. The club announced its decision yesterday. The 135-year-old club had a pre-season match last Saturday against Dunedin where it had only 18 players available for both the premier one and premier two teams. The premier competition would now be a nine-team competition with a bye every Saturday. Read more here
Pioneering research into the health of retired rugby players conducted in New Zealand will be taken to the global arena. The Rugby Health Project, led by AUT University's Professor Patria Hume, which discovered higher rates of cognitive impairment in retired rugby players who suffered concussion during their careers, will be extended to the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The topic has never been more relevant than it is today as contact-sport codes and others like football grapple with the short- and long-term risks of concussions. Read more here
NEW Canterbury club rugby and First XV rugby Club Rugby Facebook page now live, follow for draws and results and news. View here
NEW Auckland club rugby and First XV rugby Club Rugby Facebook page now live, follow for draws and results and news. View here
Playing international sevens rugby has been a long cherished goal for Danny Kayes. It was just a question whether it would be in a black or a blue jersey. The 21-year-old from Mount Maunganui now has his answer after Sir Gordon Tietjens selected him in the Samoan team for the next two legs of the HSBC World Series in Las Vegas and Vancouver. Read more here
The 2009 New Zealand under-20 team delivered on the world stage when they won the World Championship in Tokyo. A feat that turns out to be more difficult than many may have thought considering New Zealand have won it just once in the past five tournaments. The players following rugby's proffesional path have dwindled with Elliot Dixon now the only genuine contender to complete a Tokyo double and return in 2019 for the World Cup. From the 26-man 2009 New Zealand under-20 squad only Dixon, Tom Taylor, Aaron Cruden and Zac Guildford have gone on to play for the All Blacks. Read more here
The Black Ferns will host Canada, Australia and England in an international quad series this coming June, with internationals against Canada at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 9 June (as a curtain-raiser to the Hurricanes-Chiefs fixture), Australia at Rugby Park in CHCH on Tuesday 13 June and England at Rotorua on Saturday 17 June (as the curtain-raiser to the NZ Maori v the British and Irish Lions match).
The Hawke's Bay Academy side defeated their Manawatu counterparts 60-12 at Waipukurau's Central Park yesterday. The Hawke's Bay side included eight Hastings Boys' High School First XV players returning in 2017. Kini Naholo, younger brother of All Blacks and Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo, scored two tries.
With Super Rugby kicking off and the start of the rugby season, the First XV season is not too far away either. Ten names to keep a close eye on in 2017 can be read here
The Crusaders open their 2017 Super Rugby season at home this Saturday night when they take on the Brumbies. Head Coach Scott Robertson has named six debutants in his side, and Israel Dagg will become the latest Super Rugby centurion when he takes the field as fullback on Saturday night. Kick-off at 7:35pm at Christchurch’s AMI Stadium
New Zealand's Fairfax rugby writers have compiled a Super Rugby team guide for the NZ teams on the eve of this year's competition. Read more here
The Hurricanes are losing Callum Gibbins with the flanker signing for Scottish outfit Glasgow in a move that highlights New Zealand's growing coaching connections in the north. The 28-year-old will play out the imminent Super Rugby season and fulfil his commitments to Manawatu before heading north in a three-year deal. He will link with his Manawatu connections, former coaches Dave Rennie and Jason O'Halloran, who are taking over at the club. It's a loss with Gibbins part of the Hurricanes mix that secured last year's breakthrough title. He has played 26 times for the Canes, scoring three tries. Read more here
Everybody came away from the sold-out Dallison Park with something that they wanted from the Farmlands Grassroots Game Day in Waverley on Friday evening. With 'home' side the Hurricanes and the visiting Crusaders fielding virtually all of their stars for what amounted to two 40 minute games against separate XV's, opposing coaches Chris Boyd and Scott Robertson were able to confirm their regular starters should be the form players to begin the Super Rugby campaign this coming weekend. Read the rest of the community rugby summary by the Wanganui Chronicle here
New Super Rugby season, new opportunities for young players to impress in New Zealand. In looking at the five Kiwi teams, Marshall notes that 33 players will be making their debuts and looks at their chances. Read more here
Beauden and Jordie Barrett will combine for the first time in Hurricanes colours when they face the Crusaders in Waverley on Friday. The two Coastal club brothers are included in the Hurricanes' squad named on Thursday for their final pre-season match at the Border rugby club before they defend their Super Rugby title in 2017. Beauden and Jordie will start at first five-eighth and fullback respectively, with Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd welcoming All Blacks back to his team after reaching the semi-finals of last weekend's inaugural Brisbane Global Tens. TJ Perenara (Northern United) and Julian and Ardie Savea (Oriental-Rongotai) are back in the fold, but Hurricanes captain Dane Coles will not play in Waverley as he prepares for the coming season. Read more here
All Blacks outside back Israel Dagg is here to stay. The 28-year-old Dagg has today confirmed that he has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and Hawke's Bay Magpies through to 2019, spurning offers from overseas to continue playing for the teams he loves. "There's no doubt that there were some attractive offers to consider," Dagg said, "but at the end of the day I love my life here in New Zealand with my family, friends and team mates and I'm not ready to give that up. I still feel blessed every time I pull on the jersey for the All Blacks, Crusaders or Magpies so I consider it an honour to be able to keep working hard to earn that right for the next three years." Dagg's re-commitment comes just days after his team mate Ben Smith re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.
As the Chiefs head into their first pre-season Super Rugby hitout of the year - against the Bulls in Brisbane tonight - one man in particular will be desperate to grasp the opportunity to be in the thick of it.Openside flanker Mitch Karpik is sure to lap up the chance to roam the Ballymore field, having been dealt a cruel blow at this corresponding time last year, with injury ending his debut Super Rugby campaign before it even started. After a superb NPC for Auckland in 2015, along with being part of the triumphant New Zealand side at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy, Karpik scored a deal with the Chiefs and was looking forward to learning plenty off Sam Cane, while also pushing his own claims. However, after impressing in the time he did get in the team's first trial match against the Waratahs in Rotorua, the blonde-locked tearaway had to be helped off the field with what was eventually diagnosed as a ruptured ACL in his left knee. Read more here
Inconsistency again cost the All Blacks Sevens team, this time in Sydney, but they are making gradual progress in the World Series. They play some good sevens at times, but in stifling heat and humidity, made errors at crucial moments, especially in the Cup semifinal defeat to England yesterday, and were not always clinical in their finishing. Day one on Saturday was symptomatic of this, the unbeaten run to the top of Pool C punctuated by a lack of fluency. Their best display came in yesterday's 24-21 Cup quarter-final victory over Fiji, reversing the result from the corresponding fixture in Wellington a week ago. Read more here
A South American flavour has been added to Invercargill with over 30 youngsters in the city chasing their rugby dream. Players from Chile, Argentina, and one from Venezuela, are in Invercargill for a six-week training stint to improve their rugby skills and knowledge. Southland Boys' High School has developed a relationship with promising rugby players in Chile during recent years and it has continued to evolve. The connection started when former All Black Paul Henderson had a stint coaching in Chile. Read more here
One year ago, Melville rugby club could scarcely of believed they would be hosting this year's national club sevens as defending champions. But they surprised everyone, including themselves, to win last year's tournament in Wainuiomata after almost not sending a team. That triumph was one of many as Melville made Waikato club rugby history in 2016, as they became the first club to win four premier club trophies in a season. Now Collins Road will host the Middlesex County national club sevens on Saturday and Sunday, with 16 teams - each being allowed one invitational player - competing for the Wavell Wakefield Cup. Read more here
The Central Otago premier rugby competition has suffered its first casualty before the season has even commenced with Roxburgh pulling its team out, owing to too few players. Roxburgh's undoing means the competition - set to start on March 18 - drops to eight teams.The club celebrated its 125th jubilee in 2013 with a return to the premier grade after four years in the B grade and a 10-year hiatus preceding that. Read more here
Tasman duo Trael Joass and Andrew Knewstubb will get their starting caps for the All Blacks Sevens in the fourth leg of 2016/17 HSBC World Series in Sydney this weekend. Isaac Te Tamaki and Tone Ng Shiu will be the travelling reserves, with the rest of the team unchanged from the Wellington tournament last week. The team is (*new cap): Scott Curry – Captain (Bay of Plenty), Dylan Collier (Southland), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Iopu Iopu-Aso (Taranaki)
Trael Joass* (Tasman), Rocky Khan (Auckland), Andrew Knewstubb* (Tasman), Vilimoni Koroi (Otago), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty). Travelling reserves: Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman)
Te Papapa Onehunga Rugby & Sports Club Inc is to be suspended from the Auckland Rugby premier competition for 12 months (as of January 1, 2017). This outcome is a result of several hearings concerning the club playing a player banned for life in their premier team on at least three occasions during the 2016 season and providing false details on the team sheet. The player in question, Daniel Havili, was issued a life ban in August 2011 following an assault on a referee and two opposition players during an Under 19 match. Life bans can be adjusted if a formal application is put forward but this had not happened in Havili’s case. Te Papapa Onehunga have seven days in which to appeal the decision. Read more here
Having already secured Jordie Barrett and Logan Crowley, Taranaki have lured another local talent back from outside the region for the next two NPC seasons, signing Super Rugby-winning hooker Ricky Riccitelli. He returns to the region after spending two years with Hawke's Bay and said he was looking forward to getting to pull on the amber and black jersey. Read more here
Collins Injera is the leading try scorer in the history of the World Rugby Sevens series. The affable and athletic Kenyan has crossed the chalk 237 times in 67 tournaments, making him one of the most universally respected players on the circuit and a genuine identity in international rugby. “It’s a lot of tries which shows how far I have come as an individual. The one try that really stands out is the one I scored against South Africa in Wellington when we beat them for the first time,” Injera recalls. Injera started playing rugby in 2001, picking up a ball at college for the first time when he was 15 years old, and debuting at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2006. Read the rest of the interview by regular Club Rugby correspondant Adam Julian here
It’s a thrashing that has made headlines around the world. The Howe of Fife 2nd XV in the UK were drubbed 172-0 last Saturday by rivals Blairgowrie. It has led to national debate in rugby circles this week about apparent problems facing Rugby Union north of the border. It’s been suggested that some lower tier clubs may face oblivion if the problem persists.But the rugby authorities – who insist the game overall is in good shape – insist it’s a lot more complex than just saying that rugby isn’t attracting junior players. In fact, the sport is attracting more youngsters than ever before. Read more here
The Blues will take an historic first Investec Super Rugby Championship match to Samoa in June.Their home game against the Reds will be played in Apia on Friday June 2, it was announced by the Blues Chief Executive Michael Redman and Samoan Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union, the Hon Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi at Samoa House in Auckland.It is the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa and the first major rugby match to be played under lights at Apia Park National Stadium, and coincides with Samoa’s 55th Independence Celebrations.
The All Blacks Sevens team to play the third leg of the 2016/17 HSBC World Series, the Wellington Sevens, includes Tone Ng Shiu and Vilimoni Koroi making their debut for New Zealand and DJ Forbes making a record breaking 82nd Sevens World Series appearance and his 11th in Wellington.
The team is: Scott Curry – Captain (Bay of Plenty), Dylan Collier (Southland), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Iopu Iopu-Aso (Taranaki), Rocky Khan (Auckland), Vilimoni Koroi* (Otago), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Tone Ng Shiu* (Tasman)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)
It's Guppy versus Trump. The Upper Hutt Rams are taking on the USA Eagles in a warm-up Sevens fixture at North Park, Petone at 4.30pm this afternoon. Both sides are using this as preperation for upcoming tournaments, the Eagles for this weekend's Wellington Sevens and the Rams for next weekend's National Club Sevens in Hamilton.
Nehe Milner-Skudder has extended his contract with the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) for the next three years. The 26-year-old said it had been an easy decision to stay with his club and country as he contemplated the next phase of his rugby career. "Being part of the Hurricanes for the past three years has been an awesome experience and though I wasn't able to play a big part on the field last year, winning the Investec Super Rugby trophy for the first time only reinforced my view that the club is building something special. "My partner and I really enjoy living in Wellington and with the British and Irish Lions on the horizon, 2017 shapes as a huge year." Milner-Skudder's new contract will take him through to the end of the 2019 season.
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.
Former Hastings BHS, Upper Hutt Rams and Wellington, Hawke's Bay, Auckland, Canterbury, Hurricanes, Blues, Force and All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson is winging his way to England to link up with Bristol. Read more here
World Rugby’s new directives for punishing high tackles come into effect this weekend, but in truth they have left it up to coaches and players to figure out for themselves how to adapt. What is the law change, what has changed, why are they doing this now and what will it mean? Read more here
The Waikato Men and the Manawatu Women won the Men’s and Women’s Cups at today’s Bay of Plenty Sevens tournament at Mount Maunganui. Waikato defeated the Samoan Barbarians side 26-14 in the Men’s Cup final, while Manawatu beat Auckland 12-10 in the Women’s decider. Waikato beat Counties Manukau 28-7 in their semi-final while Manawatu defeated BoP in their semi-final. Manawatu won the Men’s Plate final, defeating Auckland 35-14 in the final and Wellington won the Men’s Bowl, beating North Harbour by default in the final. Wellington won the Women’s Plate, beating Waikato 21-17 in the final.
The team at Club Rugby wishes everyone a happy New Year and safe travels for 2017, which promises to be a big year on and off the rugby field. Club Rugby has a number of stories planned for the year, so stay tuned. If anyone wants to contribute please drop us an email at email@example.com
Brayden Iose is now a Hurricane. It is a rapid rise for the 18-year-old Brayden Iose who captained the New Zealand Secondary Schools team in October out of Palmerston North BHS. His ability to break the line through a mixture of pace, strength and impressive balance made him a tough prospect to defend against. Read more here
Moutere and Marlborough stalwart Arthur Pacey only hung up his boots two years ago at the ripe old age of 90. His reward for a lifetime of service to the game; three special letters at the end of his name. The Marlborough retiree has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal, or QSM, in the New Year Honours list this year. Although Pacey gave up playing rugby for the Vintage Musseleers two years ago, his involvement in rugby over the years has included coaching, score-keeping and the little jobs that keep a rugby club running. Read more here
There will be no more battling freezing temperatures while working out for the Manawatu Turbos with renovations of the team's gym well under way. Work on the $500,000 re-fit of the Manawatu Rugby Performance Centre, which boarders Arena field four and Waldergrave St, is expected to be completed in February. The gym will mainly serve the Turbos and the Manawatu Cyclones. But Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive John Knowles said other groups would be able to take advantage of it. "Clubs and school rugby teams will also have opportunities made available to use the facility with support and assistance from MRU employed trainers," he said. Read more here
The Waikato Times looks back on the year in rugby in the region, including Melville's historic year at club level; Waikato's Men's NPC campaign; Waikato's champion U19s; and one former All Black hoping to revive his career through sevens and club rugby. Read more here
Club Rugby wishes everyone a merry Christmas and a happy festive season with family and friends. Drink up and eat plenty and then get stuck into training in the New Year!
Opinion from the Telegraph in the UK - the same could be true in NZ: Has the time now come for the Rugby Football Union to step in to make a clear divide between the professional and amateur games? Rugby as a sport has exploded in the 20-odd years since it turned professional. Money has poured into the game from television and sponsors. Yet a consequence is that too many clubs and too many players are chasing a dream that just ends in suffering. London Welsh had to make 40 people redundant last week because they were twice promoted to the Premiership when they were palpably unready. Professional rugby is sustainable only in the Premiership. You could make a case for having the Championship as a semi-professional division. After that the rest should be amateur. Read more of Austin Healy's column here
There are some players out there after all who do choose sevens over Super rugby.Otago halfback Jonathan Ruru is one of those who has made some quick advances in the shortened version of the game. He could have been part of the Highlanders pre-season training squad but decided to throw his lot in with sevens.nIt has worked out. He has gone to the exotic places of Dubai and Cape Town with the New Zealand national side while those back home with the Highlanders have been put through the wringer on the training paddock. Ruru has made a quick rise to the national side and said it all started at the national tournament in Rotorua at the start of this year, when he turned out for Hawke’s Bay. Read more here
The second most capped All Blacks prop of all time and one of the best players in world rugby, Owen Franks, has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby (NZR), re-signing with the All Blacks and his BNZ Crusaders Super Rugby club through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2019. The 28-year-old tighthead prop has literally been a cornerstone of the All Blacks forward pack since making his Test debut in 2009 and is one of the side's most consistent players, missing just 15 Tests in seven full seasons.
Southland rugby officials have revealed a two-year plan to try to encourage more players to test themselves at a higher level in club rugby. The Council of Rugby Clubs have made some club rugby tweaks which will be staged over two years. The first year in 2017 will include sub-union teams playing against the current six premier teams for two games. On May 10 and May 13 next year Southland's six premier clubs will face off against six composite teams. The six composite teams are likely to be made up of Eastern, Northern, Central, Western, Southland under-19, and another team probably made up of other town clubs (Collegiate, Bluff, Waikiwi). The purpose of the two games is to provide players in lower divisions an opportunity to compare themselves against premier players and also allow the rep selectors a chance to look at potential players. Read more here
You would have thought that Christmas had come a week early given the amount of cards that referees were giving out over the course of the last round of European matches. It is no coincidence that officials became so card-happy in the week that World Rugby announced that it will be introducing a “zero-tolerance” approach to contact with the head. Even though these directives will not kick in until the New Year, its spirit was followed with the six red cards all involving contact with the head of an opponent. The tally of sendings off in European competition now stands at 11 after four rounds. The previous record for an entire season is eight. That World Rugby are so proactively trying to reduce the rate of concussion in the sport – 76 per cent of head injuries come from tackles – is to be applauded...Read more here
Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson has named 101-game lock Sam Whitelock as his 2017 Captain, saying he was a natural choice to succeed Kieran Read in the role. 28 year old Whitelock has been a Crusader since 2010, the same year he debuted for the All Blacks. Sam is one of four Whitelock brothers to have represented the Crusaders, and his cousin Ben Funnell is also a current member of the squad. The Whitelock brothers and Funnell all moved south from Manawatu to attend University in Canterbury and went on to play for the provincial side as well as the Crusaders.
Club Rugby and College Rugby is pleased to be part of Australian website the Roar's new Club Roar network. From early next year we'll be flicking some of our favourite video clips their way so the Roar's (predominantly Australian) audience can enjoy NZ college and club rugby as well. View their website here
Hurricanes outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder plans to make his return to competitive rugby at the Brisbane Global Tens next February.Milner-Skudder has spent the past nine months rehabbing from surgery after suffering a serious shoulder injury playing for the Hurricanes against the Blues in March.The 25-year-old hopes to test his injury in a full contact match during the Hurricanes opening preseason match against the Blues on February 4 as a warm up for the Global Tens a week later in Brisbane.“My rehab went well and I’ve been really enjoying being back training with the squad during the preseason over the past few weeks. To be honest I’m chomping at the bit to get back on the field,” Milner-Skudder said.“To be able to test myself in a tournament like the Tens will be perfect timing just a few weeks out from the start of our Super season.”
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Players' Association announced details of a new collective agreement on Wednesday. The big news was a $70-million increase in the player-payment pool, which will jump from $121m to $191m over the next three years. Read more here
Aaron Good plans to remove the hand-break on the Manawatu Turbos' attack after being named the team's assistant coach for 2017. The 35-year-old replaces Rhys Archibald as the backs coach after the latter stepped down at the end of this season to return to his teaching job in Christchurch. It was the second time Good applied for the role having missed out to Archibald when Jason O'Halloran announced he was leaving the Turbos in 2015. Read more here
The inaugural GJ Gardner World Schools Sevens pilot event will take place on Saturday December 17th at Sacred Heart College with six teams in the boys division and four in the girls division. The boys teams are Australia, NZ Condors, NZ Maori, NZ Fijians, Samoan Barbarians and the Cook Islands. The girls teams are Australia, NZ Condors, NZ Wasps, Samoan Barbarians. The tournament will take place from 10am-4:30pm and will be live on Sky Sport.
The majority of players named in the 4 NZ teams also played in the recent National Secondary School Sevens Finals known as the Condors last weekend but also includes a few who didn’t play at the Condors. View the teams here
Former All Black Zac Guildford is set to make his debut for Waikato on Sunday in the Northern 7s. Read more here
Where, when: Memorial Park, Cambridge on Sunday December 11. First games begin at 10am.
Men's Pool 1: Counties Manukau, Auckland, Waikato.
Men's Pool 2: North Harbour, Bay of Plenty, Northland.
Women's Pool 1: Counties Manukau, North Harbour, Bay of Plenty.
Women's Pool 2: Waikato, Auckland, Northland.
The All Blacks Sevens squad for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens World Series Tournament in Cape Town, 10-11 December 2016, has been named with Bay of Plenty’s Dan Hollinshead joining the squad replacing the injured Beaudein Waaka. The team is: Scott Curry (Captain), Tim Mikkelson, Antonio Kiri Kiri, DJ Forbes, Dylan Collier, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Rocky Khan, Sherwin Stowers, Jonathan Ruru, Isaac Te Tamaki, Sione Molia, Junior Ngaluafe Travelling Reserves: Billy Ropha, Dan Hollinshead
Entries are now open for the 2017 Hawke’s Bay Sevens tournament, hosted by the Central Hawke’s Bay Rugby & Sports Club in Waipukurau, on 18 February 2017 are now open. The programme can cater for a maximum of 45 teams split into 15 sections of 3 teams each. With three divisions the line -up can vary: Men’s 18-21-24 teams; Colts (Under 21yrs @ 31 – 8 – 17) 12-15-18 teams; Women’s 6 -8-9 teams. Entries close 8 February 2017. For further enquires please contact the Tournament Controller, Ross Angus Phone (06)857 8769 or Email :- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counties Manukau wing/centre Portia Woodman scored a hat-trick of tries as the Black Ferns eased past Ireland 38-8 in their rugby international in Dublin to complete their season unbeaten. Fullback Selica Winiata also scored two tries and first five-eighth Kelly Brazier one in the Black Ferns' comfortable six-try win to make it three wins from three on their northern tour. Prior to the tour-ending Dublin international, the Black Ferns had also beaten world champions England 25-20 in London and Canada 20-10 in Dublin. New Zealand 38 (Portia Woodman 3, Selica Winata 2, Kelly Brazier tries, Kendra Cocksedge 3 con, Hazel Tubic con) Ireland 8 (Niamh Kavanagh try, Niamh Briggs con, Nora Stapleton pen)
Tasman won the Southern Regional Sevens in Timaru for the first time on Saturday with a 12-5 win in the final over defending champions Otago to take home the Tofa Shield. Tries to Sam Chamberlain and Willy Havili, to a solitary try to Otago's Gavin Stark, ultimately left Tasman unbeaten and with both hands securely on the main prize. Read more here
Five Fijian players should add plenty of flair to the South Canterbury sevens side at the Southern Regional Sevens on their home territory in Timaru today. A feature of the South Canterbury team is Timaru Boys' High School's wing Isireli Kawa. Kawa was one of the stand out backs in the Crusaders Schools Championship and was the fourth top try scorer. The 19-year-old is also the quickest in the South Canterbury sevens side, so if he gets into space he could cause problems for the opposition. Read more here
TJ Perenara (Northern United) has been selected to start at halfback for the All Blacks in their final Test of 2016, against France in Paris this Sunday morning at 9.00am (NZT). Dane Coles (Poneke) and Julian and Ardie Savea (Oriental-Rongotai) are the other Wellington players in the 23 for this international. The All Blacks will be hunting their 44th win in their 57th Test against France.
The Black Ferns Sevens have named four new players in their squad for season opener in Dubai next week. The team is: Ruby Tui, Shakira Baker. Jordon Webber. Niall Williams, Sarah Goss (captain). Michaela Blyde, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Kelly Brazier, Tenika Willison*, Katarina Whata-Simpkins, Portia Woodman, Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga* Travelling reserves are: Jess Drummond*Danielle Paenga* *new cap
Battered hooker Dane Coles (Poneke) will be wary of France after thrashing them in the World Cup quarter-final just over a year ago, at the end of a long season. Read more here
The All Blacks coaches are certain that Aaron Smith is the best halfback in the world. But they face a hard task this week trying to determine whether he is the best player for them to start at halfback against France. The conviction about Smith's place in the world order is based on when he is at the top of his game, but he hasn't found his form since returning from his airport affair. Read more here
Halfback Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury) scored 20 points as the Black Ferns came back from 7-17 behind to beat England 25-20 in their women's international on Sunday morning (NZT). As well as scoring two tries, Cocksedge kicked two big penalties at the death to seal victory for New Zealand. Scores: Black Ferns 25 (Kendra Cocksedge 2, Renee Wickliffe tries; Cocksedge 2 con, 2 pen) England 20 (Fiona Pocock, Harriet Millar-Mills, Lydia Thompson tries; Katy Mclean con, Emily Scarratt pen) HT: 5-7.
Experienced sevens and rugby coach, Clark Laidlaw, has been appointed as the new Head Coach of the All Blacks Sevens. Laidlaw has previously been the All Blacks Sevens skills coach and video analyst, the programme lead for both Taranaki and Wellington Sevens, the Hurricanes assistant coach and is currently the assistant coach of London Irish. Laidlaw also played sevens for Scotland between 2004-2007. Laidlaw will take up his new role from 1 June 2017.
Northland sevens coach Peter Nock was upbeat about his representative squad after naming it after the third and final Northland Club Sevens tournament on Saturday.The team will train in Kerikeri on Tuesday and Thursday ahead of their first outing next weekend at the Auckland Sevens Tournament. The final Northland tournament was hosted by Waipu Rugby Club at Centennial Park on Saturday.Old Boys-Marist upset series frontrunners Awanui in the championship semifinal and backed up well in the final with a win over Mid Northern to take the overall win. Read more here
Beauden Barrett (Coastal) has been named World Rugby Player of the Year at the annual World Rugby Awards in London. Beauden was the leading points scorer in both Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship. He’s played great attacking rugby that has been exciting to watch. The All Blacks have won Team of the Year for the seventh straight year and Head Coach Steve Hansen won the Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
Irish provincial powerhouse Munster emp;oyed old fashioned Northern Hemisphere tactics and the the support of their partisan crowd to beat the Maori All Blacks 27-14 in their tour match on Saturday morning. Munster took a halftime lead with a try off a dropped ball and kick and chase and held on in the second spell. Scoring: Munster 27 (Niall Scannell, penalty try, Darren Sweetnam, Ronan O'Mahony tries; Ian Keatley 2 con, pen) Maori All Blacks 14 (James Lowe, Ambrose Curtis tries; Otere Black 2 con). HT: 17-14. The Maori meet Harlequins at Twickenham next week.
Dane Coles (Poneke) won the Wellingtonian of the Year award at Thursday night's Wellington awards. Coles captained the Hurricanes to their maiden Super Rugby title. Read more here
Fresh from overwhelming the USA Eagles, the Maori All Blacks play Munster in Ireland this Saturday morning. The team features five new caps: Reed Prinsep, Billy Guyton and Ambrose Curtis who will start, while Under 20s captain Leni Apisai and Waikato skipper Whetu Douglas will make their debuts off the bench. Read more here
Both the All Blacks and Black Ferns are represented in the World Rugby Player of the year awards with Dane Coles and Beauden Barrett nominated for the men’s award and Fiao’o Faamausili up for the women’s award. Read more here
Canterbury Rugby Union hs appointed Glenn Delaney as Head Coach for 2017. Delaney replaces Scott Robertson. A born and bred Cantabrian, Delaney joins Canterbury Rugby from London Irish where he has most recently been Head of Rugby Operations following on from being Head Coach and is a former Linwood Rugby Club player.
Wellington first five-eighth/fullback Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United) confirmed today that he is joining the Rebels. "I'm excited to sign my first Super Rugby contract, it's been a goal of mine for the last four of years since I left school to take the next step so I'm very happy that Melbourne has given me the opportunity," Garden-Bachop said. Read more here
Canterbury won the Men's NPC title for the 13th time on Saturday night, beating Crusaders region rivals Tasman 43-27 in the Premiership final at home in Christchurch. Canterbury outscored Tasman six tries to three and took a 22-13 lead into halftime and pulled clear after the break. For more view Draws & Results above and read here
He did it three years ago for Hamilton BHS in the Top 4 Final against St Kent's and he did again on Friday night for North Harbour in the Championship final against Otago. First five-eighth Bryn Gatland kicked a last-gasp dropped goal to win the match and give Harbour a 17-14 win over Otago in Dunedin. Read more here
Buller co-coach Craig Scanlon says his side is ready to upset Wanganui in the Meads Cup final. It is that inner belief that has got the country's smallest union to the Heartland Championship's big party. It will however be a mountain to climb as the defending champions beat Buller 28-0 just three weeks ago, scoring four tries. Kick-off at Cooks Gardens is 4.30pm Saturday. Read more here
Kevin and Robyn Barrett were overwhelmed at the news their sons Scott and Jordie would be joining older brother Beauden on the All Blacks end-of-year tour. While Beauden was a shoo-in to make the tour to the United States, Ireland, Italy and France, Scott was named in the squad as injury cover for Sam Whitelock, who has a high ankle sprain, while Jordie has been chosen as an apprentice. "We were just taken back, overwhelmed at the news," Kevin said. "We're just so proud." Read more here
UPDATE: New Zealand won 67-3. The Black Ferns kick off a busy six weeks of Test rugby with a clash against old foes Australia at Eden Park as part of a historic double header with the All Blacks and Wallabies today. Live on Sky Sport 1 from 4.45pm. Read more here
Wanganui and Buller will meet in next week's Meads Cup final after winning contrasting semi-finals today. Wanganui defeated Wairarapa Bush 58-26 and Buller beat South Canterbury 16-6 in the other. The Lochore Cup final will also be a North Island v South Island affair with King Country set to meet North Otago.
Openside flanker Connor Collett (Massey) is this year's North Harbour Club Player of the Year. Collett was also named North Harbour's Most Promising representative Player of the Year. Chris Vui was the Supporters Player of the Year and Murphy Taramai the Coaches Player of the Year. Chelsea Alley was the Women's Player of the Year.
Whakatane Marist’s Steven Mapu collected the new Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Supreme Award at the unon's awards last night. In February Mapu achieved 500 official Senior A grade games for Whakatane Marist. He commenced his senior career with Whakatane Marist in 1989, at the start of the Bay of Plenty Baywide Competition and he has played continuously for the past twenty seven years and is yet to hang up his boots. Meanwhile, Rangataua Rugby’s Premier side were the fitting winners of the Club Team of the Year and their coach Aramahou Ririnui was award Club Coach of the Year following the sides Baywide Premier Club Rugby winning performance for the 2016 title. Te Puna Rugby Club was presented Club of the Year for their positive contribution to the growth and development of rugby within their community
Taranaki will play Tasman in one of the NPC premiership semi-finals next weekend in New Plymouth.
In the repeat of the 2014 final, Tasman booked their place in the play-offs with a dominating 56-0 win over Southland on Sunday, scoring eight tries in the process.
In the other semi-final Canterbury will host Counties Manukau in Christchurch with Waikato's win over Wellington on Saturday night knocked out Auckland's semi-final hopes.
Both premiership semi-finals will be held on Sunday afternoon.
In the championship Otago will host Bay of Plenty and Wellington will play North Harbour with those games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Canterbury (1) will host Counties Manukuau (4) and Taranaki (2) will entertain Tasman (3) in next Sunday's NPC Premiership semi-finals. Meanwhile, Otago (1) and Bay of Plenty (4) will meet on Friday night and Wellington (2) will play North Harbour (3) on Saturday in the two Championship semi-finals. Visit Draws & Results above for more
Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore has named a squad of 28, to take on the Australian Wallaroos in the two-Test series, as preparation for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 starts to ramp up. The first match against the Australian side is a double header with the All Blacks Bledisloe match at Eden Park on Saturday 22 October. The Black Ferns will play the Australian Wallaroos again at QBE Stadium on the North Shore on Wednesday 26 October. Read more and view the squad here
The trial breakdown laws introduced to domestic rugby this year have been red carded. New Zealand Rugby high performance referee manager Rod Hill confirmed the trial breakdown laws used in the Men's NPC have been dumped by World Rugby although there would not be a total return to the old laws around the breakdown. The trial involving six-point tries and two-point penalties, used in the Heartland Championship this year, has also been dumped. The big change at the breakdown is the ''fetcher'' will be allowed back into the game and there will be more of a breakdown contest. Read more here
The Hawke's Bay Magpies have been relegated from the Men's NPC Premiership division for next year with a round to spare, following their 46-22 defeat to Waikato on Satturday night. The Hamilton-based side led the Magpies 27-3 at halftime and went on to win 6 tries to 3.
The Ranfurly Shield will be spending its summer days in Christchurch after Canterbury successfully defended its one and only challenge for the year against North Harbour on Friday night, winning 47-18 (15-15 at halftime). For more view Draws & Results across the top of this page.
A 30-point haul by flyhalf Marty Banks, a 60 metre penalty by David Havilii and a cohesive forwards effort paved the way for Tasman's 49-31 win over Auckland in the wet at Eden Park on Thursday night. Read more here
The Taranaki Development XV came away from the northern region development competition unbeaten in their six competition matches.
Without a finals series, Taranaki beat Waikato in their final match of the season 43-29 in New Plymouth last Sunday.
Taranaki were down 24-14 at the break but stormed back in the second spell and continued to surpass Waikato's score who were beaten comfortably by Bay of Plenty the week before in Rotorua.
The amber and blacks beat Bay of Plenty, North Harbour, Northland, Auckland and Counties Manukau in the competiton.
Sean Horan and Scott Waldrom have been short-listed for the vacant New Zealand men's sevens coach's job, and will be interviewed early next week. With former coach Gordon Tietjens retiring after 22 years in charge and in the wake of New Zealand's disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics, where they failed to win a medal, Horan and Waldrom are understood to be the leading candidates to contest the position advertised by NZ Rugby last month. Read more here
The Men's NPC resumes tonight in Palmerston North with the Manawatu Turbos hosting the Wellington Lions in the opening match of the eighth and penulimtate round ahead of the Championship semi-finals. The two teams play for the Coronation Cup. For more visit Draws & Results accross the top of this page.
International schools rugby starts today in Auckland. Details of matches are:
New Zealand Schools and Barbarian Schools fixtures:
Monday 2 October
NZ Barbarians Schools v Australia Schools. Venue: Mount Albert Grammar School. Time: 1.10pm NZ Schools v Fiji Schools. Venue: Mount Albert Grammar School. Time: 2.40pm
Saturday 8 October
NZ Barbarians Schools v Fiji Schools. Venue: Auckland Grammar School. Time: 1.10pm
NZ Schools v Australia Schools. Venue: Auckland Grammar School. Time: 2.50pm
Auckland punised a lacklustre Otago 54-17 in a feature crossover Premiership-Championship Men's NPC fixture on Saturday night. Auckland outscored Otago seven tries to two. Centre Reiko Ioane scored his second consecutive hat-trick and pivot Simon Hickey tucked away 24 points. Ioane is now the competition's leading try scorer with 8 tries and Hickey is the top sharp shooter wth 120 points.
The Northland Taniwha won their first match in two years and 20 matches on Sunday, beating former Ranfurly Shield holders Waikato 48-27 in the concluding match of the seventh round of Men's NPC matches on Sunday. For more visit Draws & Results across the top of this page.
The 2016 Farah Palmer Cup Women's NPC final is being played on Sunday at 2.30pm at Pukekohe between home team the Counties Manukau Heat and the visitors the Auckland Storm. View Draws & Results across the top of this page for more.
Canterbury have won the Ranfurly Shield, beating Waikato 29-23 in Hamilton on Wednesday night. A Shield thriller was on the cards, but Canterbury second five-eighth Jordie Barrett nailed to late penalties to break a 23-23 deadlock. This is the first time since 2011 that Canterbury has held the famous NZ provincal rugby prize aloft. Their one challenge this year is against North Harbour on 7 October.
This weekend Bay of Plenty Steamers lock Culum Retallick will run out for his 100th time for the Bay of Plenty Provincial side in Auckland, when Bay of Plenty takes on North Harbour.
Retallick becomes Bay of Plenty Rugby’s seventeenth centurion, having played all his provincial rugby for Bay of Plenty. Retallick debuted for Bay of Plenty on 13th July 2007 against Hawkes Bay in Napier. He achieved his fiftieth cap against Counties Manukau in 2011.
Robbie Fruean has linked with his old New Zealand coaches at English club Bath. He will move north once he completes his stint with Hawke's Bay in the NPC. Kiwi coaches Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson are making a rapid impression at Bath, who sit third on the English Premiership table with three wins and a loss from the opening month. Fruean is held in high regard by the coaching duo who returned him to the Crusaders in 2015 and 2016 after a deal with the Chiefs was blighted by illness. Fruean started with the Hurricanes in 2009.
Wellington Rugby and Losi Filipo have mutually agreed to the termination of his contract. Filipo today withdrew himself from the Wellington Lions 2016 Men's NPC squad in a move he hopes will go some way toward helping the victims of his assault move on with their lives. With support from his representative and the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association Filipo approached Wellington Rugby this afternoon seeking a release from his playing contract and, after discussions the parties agreed that the termination of his contract was the best outcome for all parties.
UPDATE: It's a Counties Manukau v Auckland final next weekend. Auckland will host Canterbury and Counties Manukau will entertain Wellington in today's two Farah Palmer Cup Women's NPC semi-finals. View the line-ups at Draws & Results across the top of this page.
Canterbury (Premiership) and Otago (Championship) are the two teams on top of the two Men's NPC divisions after another completed round of matches. The two teams met each other on Saturday, with Canterbury winning 45-34. Auckland completed the round with a 44-38 win over Bay of Plenty in the last match on Sunday. The compeition resumes on Wednesday night when Waikato put the Ranfurly Shield on the line against Canterbury. For more view Draws & Results across the top of this page.
Most of the stars of Hawke's Bay's 1966-1969 Ranfurly Shield rugby era will be in Napier this week to mark the 50th anniversary of the day the shield was won. Hawke's Bay hadn't held the Shield for32 years when they challenged new holders Waikato in Hamilton, on Saturday, September 24, 1966, and won 6-0. The anniversary falls this Saturday, with a reunion of players at the 2016 Magpies' Mitre 10 Cup 7.35pm match against Tasman Makos at Napier's McLean Park, where capacity crowds up to a record 26,000 for one game watched 22 defences before the first defeat when Canterbury claimed the Log o' Wood with an 18-11 win on September 28, 1969. It would be another 47 years before Hawke's Bay won the shield again. Read more here
Prop Kalolo Tuiloma's unlikely try treble powered Counties-Manukau to a 35-26 NPC victory tonight over Waikato to see them go to the top of the table. Tuiloma scored all his tries early as the Steelers raced to a 19-0 lead. Read more here
Northland's search for a Men's NPC win comes back to the last ground on which they tasted victory. They take on an in-form Wellington at Toll Stadium in what shapes to be a decisive fixture. Despite not registering a win so far in 2016, the Taniwha could still make the playoffs......all they need to do is simply win every one of their four remaining matches. That begins with a clash against Wellington who are running second in the Championship. They're coming off the back of a 24-10 win over Bay of Plenty, a side that beat Northland just two weeks ago 52-25. Read more here
The Ranfurly Shield stays in Hamilton after a 20-all draw.No 8 Toa Halafihi charged over for two of Taranaki's tries that looked to have tipped the scales in their favour in a thriller at Waikato Stadium on Sunday, after impressive Fijian winger Sevu Reece bagged a brilliant brace for Waikato. But the holders fought back and Tyler Campbell's try on debut and Sam Christie's penalty levelled the scores at 20-20. One controversial flash point was the TMO's adjudging of Seta Tamanivalu's no-arms take out of Christie in the lead-up to Stephen Perofeta crossing the tryline for Taranaki. It was disallowed and it denied them a 25-17 lead. Read more here
Jordie Barrett (Coastal/Lincoln University) has signed a two-year deal to play for Hurricanes and will join his brother Beauden in Wellington for the 2017 and 2018 Investec Super Rugby seasons. The multi-talented 19-year-old will become the third member of the Barrett family to play for the Hurricanes after his father Kevin and older brother. Barrett was a member of the New Zealand Under 20s team at the 2016 World Rugby Under 20 Championships in England and will again be available for the national age grade squad in 2017.
The Auckland Storm face their sternest challenge of the season when they travel across town to play the Counties Manukau Heat at Massey Park today (kick off 12pm). Counties-Manukau currently sit atop the Farah Palmer Cup ladder, while on the same points as the Storm, they boast a superior points difference. While both teams are guaranteed home semifinals, the winner of tomorrow’s match will get home advantage for the final, should they progress. Read more here Meanwhile, Manawatu will be hoping to beat Canterbury and join the red and blacks in next week's semi-finals. View Draws & Results at the top of this page for more.
The Manawatu Turbos pulled off a major upset with a try three minutes from time to hand Canterbury their first loss of the season 19-13 in Palmerston North on Saturday. Turbos lock Jackson Hemopo was awarded the try after TMO Chris Jansen controversially ruled Johnny McNicol failed to ground a Jason Emery grubber kick in goal. Read more here
Counties Manukau replacement goal-kicker Joe Reynolds failed to slot a last minute penalty from right out in front to secure his side a win over Taranaki losing 30-29 in Pukekohe on Wednesday night. Taranaki managed to sneak through in the mid-week round five national provincial championship match, but only just, after being up 20-7 at the break. The amber and blacks’ second half has become a concern though after having a considerable lead for the second time this season and let their opposition come back. Follow the Men's NPC competition by visiting Draws & Results across the top of this page
Black Ferns Sevens coach Sean Horan is stepping down from coaching the Black Ferns Sevens following New Zealand’s silver medal success at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. Horan has coached the team for nearly five years . The former BoP Steamers coach said he would now take a break from the game and consider some options. “I love rugby and fully intend to keep involved in some shape or form, but now’s the right time for someone else to take up the sevens reins and build on the strong foundation the team’s created.” NZR will shortly advertise for the new Black Ferns Sevens coach. The four-year appointment will be through to the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Maori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper has announced the coaching and management team for the Maori All Blacks' 2016 northern tour at the end of this year. Former All Blacks captain and Blues Head Coach Tana Umaga has been appointed Assistant Coach and former All Blacks prop and Waikato Forwards Coach Carl Hoeft has been appointed Assistant Forwards Coach.
Former All Black halfback Alby Mathewson has joined the Canterbury Men's NPC squad as injury cover for Mitchell Drummond. Mathewson has most recently been playing for the Western Force Super Rugby team, but previously represented the All Blacks for 4 tests in 2010 and has played for Wellington, Auckland and Hawke’s Bay in the national provincial competition, and for the Hurricanes and Blues in Super Rugby.
Scott Waldrom is a step closer to achieving his dream job of coaching the New Zealand Sevens team. The position is currently being advertised and Waldrom says his CV is in the mail. "I am really keen to be involved in any capacity really. Only time will tell if New Zealand Rugby see me as part of their future plans." The job became vacant after Sir Gordon Tietjens stepped down after New Zealand finished out of the medals at the Rio Olympics. Read more here
Canterbury and Otago are setting the pace after the opening month of the Men's NPC Premiership and Championship respectively with unbeaten campaigns so far. On Sunday, Canterbury smoked Hawke's Bay 63-7 at home, their fourth straight bonus point win. On Saturday, Otago made it five in a row with their 30-27 win over Tasman. View more at Draws & Results across the top of this page.
Perenniel winners the Auckland Storm and their southern neighbours Counties Manukau both dominated their sixth round Women's NPC matches this weekned to be first and second respectively with a round to play. Auckland blanked Otago 62-0 while the Heat defeated the Wellington Pride to push the latter outside the top four. View the results and standings here
Oriental Rongotai Football Club (Ories) is seeking applications for the Head Coach of the Premier Men's Team for 2017. Ories have a proud history of success at all levels of representative rugby as well as creating opportunities for our players to achieve higher honours. The Head Coach needs to have outstanding leadership and management skills, effective talent identification and development systems and the ability to build strong relationships and trust with players and all key stakeholders. They also seeking someone who has role strong empathy for the values that underpin the club. A Job description and application form can be obtained by contacting Ories Chairperson Suzanne Bell at email@example.com . Applications close on Wednesday 21st September at 12pm.
Auckland over-ran Hawke's Bay at the end of their Men's NPC clash in Napier on Wednesday night. Hawke's Bay holding the lead until the 70th minute, but Auckland scored a try to get in front. Magpies first five-eighth Ihaia West kicked a penalty to re-take the lead, but Auckland's Simon Hickey replied in kind to push his side out to 25-24. West had a chance to win the game with the last play of the game but pushed his penalty wide and the Magpies suffered their fourth straight loss.
Players from 25 secondary schools have been selected for a three-day development camp at AUT Millennium in Auckland on 24 September. Following this camp selectors will name the 2016 New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Schools Barbarians sides to play Australia and Fiji Schools next month. Read more heret month.
The 34th annual Hawke’s Bay Sevens tournament at Central Park, Waikpukurau, is on Saturday 18 February 2017. The official entry form (including Tournament details) will be sent out to clubs in early December or email firstname.lastname@example.org There is three divisions: Men’s (Napier Pirate holders), Colts (Petone) and Women’s (Feilding OB).
Auckland's Mount Albert Grammar School won the 2016 Top 4 championship with a 14-13 win over Hastings Boys' High School today at the National Championships finals. Read the match report of the final here
Waikato retained the Ranfurly Shield with a tenacious 19-10 win over Manawatu today in the rain in Hamilton. Willis Halaholo's 54th minute try tipped the scales in their favour. But the Turbos will feel aggrieved with the ease the Cardiff-bound centre scored, after he went under the posts unopposed when his midfield partner Nathaniel Apa collided with an on-rushing defender. Read more here
MAGS and Hastings' BHS will meet in the Boys Top 4 Final on Sunday at Massey University, while Aorere College and Feilding HS will contest the Co-ed Cup final at the same venue. At Arena Manawatu, St Mary's College and Southland GHS will vie for Girls honours. Read more here
Girls: 10.00am 3 v 4 and 12.00pm Final 1 v 2
Co-ed: 11.30am 3 v 4 and 1.10pm Final 1 v 2
Boys: 1.10pm 3 v 4 and 2.55pm Final 1 v 2
Next week's Men’s NPC fixture between the Counties Manukau Steelers and Wellington Lions on Friday 9 September in Pukekohe will have a special touch. Both sides will be honouring the life of Jonah Lomu, by playing in the inaugural Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy Match. Lomu was a proud Counties and Wellington man and he was a stand out for both provincial unions. He played 28 games for Counties Manukau between 1994-1999 and 21 games for Wellington between 2000-2003. The “Number 11” Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy will go on the line every time Counties Manukau and Wellington meet in the future.
The Counties Manukau Steelers defeated the Hawke's Bay Magpies 48-20 in their Thursday night outing in Napier. They outscred the Magpies 5 tries to 2 and flyhalf Piers Francis kicked 23 points. Hawke's Bay are winless after three matches. Read more here
The third round of the Men's NPC competition kicks off on Wednesday night, when home side Otago returns to the scene of last week's demolition of Wellington by hosting the Northland Taniwha. Otago are two from two and Northland winless in the Championship division. For more visit Draws & Results across the top of this page
Canterbury deallt their Crusaders cousins Tasman a Men's NPC lesson on Sunday afternoon, beating them 45-14, 4 tries to 1, in Christchurch. Defending champions Canterbury are now two from two and looking ominous. Read more here
The Manawatu Turbos were asked to put their afterburners on against Southland in their Men's NPC second round clash at home on Friday night. The Turbos raced to a 24-0 lead, but the Stags dragged themsevles back to 31-31 late in the match. But first five-eighth Otere Black kicked the match winner with time almost up. It was the first time since 2006 that Manawatu has started their NPC wit consecutive wins. For more view Draws & Results across the top of this page.
North Harbour coach Steve Jackson wants his player to embrace the pressure of challenging for the Ranfurly Shield on Saturday, rather than fearing it. Jackson said they've made Saturday's game against Waikato all about the Log o' Wood, rather than seeing it as just another opportunity to pick up points in the national provincial championship. "As soon as the draw came out we were really excited in knowing we would have the first Shield challenge and we've approached it like that," Jackson said. Read more here
Both teams have been named for Thursday night's Men's NPC second round and Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy match between Otago and Wellington at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Both sides welcome back players from the Highlanders and Hurricanes. See the teams here
Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey says his team's problems in his area can be easily fixed and the weekend flogging by the All Blacks will fuel their fire for Saturday's return clash in Wellington. Australia conceded six tries and missed a whopping 38 tackles in the 42-8 in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney. Read more here
Canterbury steamrolled Auckland 43-3 in their Men's NPC competition opener at Christchurch on Saturday night. Canterbury led the listless Auckland 29-3 at halftime and soon kicked clear. Auckland kept Canterbury scoreless in the final quarter. Follow the NPC at the Draws & Results link above.
The Tasman Makos beat Waikato for the fourth consecutive time in NPC matches on Sunday evening to round out the Men's NPC first round set of matches. Lock Alex Ainley scored a late match-wnning try. Otago powered past Southland in the day's other match. View the Men's and Women's NPC Draws & Results across the top of this page.
Nine new caps are the feature of a new-look Wellington Lions squad named to play Hawke’s Bay in round one of the NPC in Napier on Saturday. New players are Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poneke), Chris Baumann, Sam Lousi, Galu Taufale (Poneke), Asafo Aumua (Avalon), Alex Fidow (Ories), Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata), Kane Leaupepe (Ories) and Pakai Turia (Poneke).
The 2016 NPC started with a bang on Thursday night with Championsip team North Harbour beating Premiership side Counties Manukau at home 20-17 in the first game.
Lock Liaki Moli will play his 50th game for Auckland when they take on Canterbury in their NPC opener and Supporers' Cup clash against Canterbury on Saturday. Read more here
Manawatu defeated Northland 34-27 in a seven try thriller in Whangarei in their NPC opener, fullback Jason Emery scoring the winning try. Manawatu led 17-0 in the first half, before Northland came back to take a 19-17 lead at halftime. The Turbos put the afterburnners on, and with the help of their bench they powered through to win at the end.
Former All Black Zac Guildford is set to bring his own cut of whiteline fever to Masterton over the next two months, with a stint at Wairarapa Bush. Read more here
Should he take the field off the pine, halfback Chris Smylie will play his 50th match for North Harbour in Thursday night's NPC opener against Counties Manukau. Smylie was NPC Player of the year in 2006 playing for Otago. He was overseas during last year's competition, after playing for winners Taranaki in 2014.
Visit Draws & Results above and select the Change Competiton menu (Women's NPC currently the deault competition) to view the men's National Provincial Championship draw that starts this coming week.
The second round of the Women's NPC Farah Palmer Cup competition was playd today. Visit Draws & Results across the top of this page to view the three results.
The Bay of Plenty Steamers beat Auckland 22-21 in their NPC pre-season fixture on Friday. The persistent attack from the Steamers saw them rewarded in the final play of the game. From broken play the Steamers setup the perfect overlap to set Te Aihe Toma to score. Dan Hollinshead converted to steal victory. The Steamers season proper will kick off at 2.35pm on Saturday 20 August at Tauranga Domain, Tauranga.
The rest of the country was put on notice yesterday when defending champions Canterbury named its 2016 National Provincial Championship squad, including naming several unfamilar players but 10 that beat Auckland in last year's final. Read more here
The Hurricanes were celebrating their maiden Super Rugby title win at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday night. The Hurricanes won the final, and the finals series, wth a massive defensive effort. Scores: Hurricanes 20 (Cory Jane, eauden Barrett tries; Barrett 2 pens, 2 cons)
Lions 3 (Elton Jantjies pen) Halftime: 10-3.
The 2016 Women's NPC, the Farah Palmer Cup, starts this Saturday with a full round of four matches. Games are (home team first): Auckland v Wellington, Manawatu v Otago, Waikato v Counties Manukau and Bay of Plenty v North Harbour. Canterbury has the bye. Follow the Farah Palmer Cup by going to Draws & Results in the tab above.
After 19 weeks of competition, the Bay of Plenty Baywide men’s competitions finals are upon us. This weekend will provide the Bay of Plenty with an abundance of finals action. The Premier Baywide final is between Mount Maunganui and Rangataua. Read more here
New Plymouth Boys' High School have been stripped of the points achieved in their 19-16 Super 8 victory over Hamilton Boys' High School on June 8 after fielding an illegible player, it has been published elsehwere. Read more here
A bunch of hardy Auckland junior rugby players are pleading with the powers that be not to cancel their games due to rain this weekend. The Auckland Council and Auckland Rugby cancelled almost all junior rugby last weekend to stop soggy grounds being damaged, much to the disappointment of players from the Eden Rugby Club. They took to Facebook on Wednesday to plead with the council and rugby union not to do the same this weekend. Rain is forecast in Auckland until Sunday. Read more here
UPDATE: PNBHS retained the Polson banner, scoring a late try to draw 17-17. The famous Polson Banner fixture between Palmerston North Boys' High School and Napier Boys' High School is on Wednesday at Napier. This is one of the oldest Traditionals in the country. Napier will be chasing a win to finish inside the top half of the Super 8 competiton, while Palmerston North are searching for their first win.
Waikato have named their National Provincial Championship squad this morning. Among the new faces are four players with plenty of first class experience - Hurricanes midfield back Willis Halaholo, former North Harbour and Blues Development Number 8 Jordan Manihera, former Canterbury and Crusaders utility back Nathaniel Apa, and Samoan international halfback Pele Cowley. Other first year Waikato players are hooker Steven Misa, prop Sefo Kautai, lock/loose forward Leva Fifita, midfield back Tevita Taufui, and wings Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara and Sevu Reece. Read more here
The men’s and women’s Metro Club champions will be found this weekend, with the Women’s Trophy being played between Christchurch and University on Saturday afternoon, followed by the Hawkins Division 1 final between Lincoln University and New Brighton on Sunday afternoon. Lincoln University will be defending the Hawkins Trophy in the men’s final. It has been one win apiece when Lincoln University and New Brighton have met in this year’s club season.
With a twinkle in his eye, a grin as wide as his sidestep, and pace and skill to kill, Damian McKenzie has taken Super Rugby by storm this year, and is now gearing up for the biggest game of his career in Saturday night's Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington. The 21-year-old dynamo has been the architect of so many Chiefs attacks this year, featuring so brilliantly in their up-tempo game, among the competition's best in several stats categories, and is coming off a man-of-the-match 25-point haul in the quarterfinal win over the Stormers in Cape Town. Read more here
Awanui won their fourth Mangonui senior club rugby title on the trot in emphatic style, proving far too slick for Te Rarawa in the Bell Shield final at Arnold Rae Park on Saturday. Meanwhile, the champions mounted a successful defence of the Bay of Islands Rugby Union championship title, Kerikeri beating Moerewa 41-22. Read more here
Rakaia will attempt to claim a fourth straight Watters Cup title when they meet Southern in the Mid Canterbury senior rugby final at the Ashburton Showgrounds on Saturday. The defending champions were rampant in the preliminary final outclassing hosts Celtic 48-12 to advance to the grand final. A double from wing Seta Koroitamana had Rakaia ahead 12-6 (with Mid Canterbury trialling the six-point try system) at halftime, with Celtic's Christian Vainerere scoring for the homeside. Read more here
It went down to the very last play but Melville are champions of Waikato premier club rugby for the first time in 35 years. An 11-6 victory over Hamilton Old Boys on Saturday did the trick and Melville's entire bench went wild at full-time, with everyone sprinting around the turf in joy and disbelief. Tears, euphoria and joyous scenes gripped everyone connected to the club, who can celebrate Melville's first Breweries Shield title success since 1981. Read more here
Counties Manukau Steelers coaches Darryl Suasua, Grant Henson and Semo Sititi have announced their squad for the 2016 National Provincial Championship. The squad includes 12 new players, with New Zealand Under 20’s representatives Jonathan Taumateine and Orbyn Leger among the new faces. Former New Zealand Secondary Schools captain Sootala Fa’aso’o is included in the squad alongside returning Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot. The squad has been hit hard by injury throughout the Super Rugby season. Read more here
The top-qualifying Hurricanes will next weekend host the Chiefs in Wellington, while the defending champion Highlanders will travel to Johannesburg for an encounter with the Lions in next weekend's Investec Super Rugby semi-finals. Read more here
Bombay are odds on favourites to win Counties Manukau club rugby's McNamara Cup for the third year running. But they'll be kidding themselves if they think Ardmore Marist is going to cooperate with their attempts at a three-peat. The red, blue and whites from Bruce Pulman Park have fast become the masters of sudden death rugby, a consequence of having to win 10 games in a row to get to the final, and will have few butterflies going into the biggest game of their year. Kick-off at ECOLight Stadium, Saturday 2.45pm. Read here for more
Dunedin and Kaikorai leaned on completely different game plans to get them through to today's Otago Metropolitan Premier final at Forsyth Barr Stadium, kick-off 3pm. When the pressure came on during the semifinal, Dunedin kept the ball in the middle of the park and in the hands of the forwards and look for a penalty. Kaikorai's first thought was to go wide and attack through its classy midfield and speed out wide. Dunedin eventually got its penalty and Kaikorai scored two tries in the last five minutes to beat University A. It is not the final many predicted but it should offer a fascinating contrast of styles. . Read more here
The smart money would be on a Eastern-Northern Barbarians win in the 2016 Galbraith Shield final on Saturday.After all the Gore-based club has been unbeaten through their 16 games to date this season and their selections for the decider simply highlight the team's depth in 2016. However, there is one aspect which has some swinging the way of a Woodlands win at Rugby Park in Invercargill - finals experience. Woodlands has been the most successful club in Southland's premier rugby in the past decade. Read more here
Waikato head coach Sean Botherway says the strength of club rugby's premier competition is critical for the province's future. Melville and Hamilton Old Boys will contest the premier final at Waikato Stadium on Saturday, after emerging as the two top dogs after 18 rounds and last weekend's semi-finals. "It's critically important that a union has a strong premier club competition because not only do those players serve the Mitre 10 cup side, we've got our under-19s juniors and our development team, which are really important cogs in our development wheels," said Botherway. Read more here
The Northland Taniwha squad for the upcoming National Provincial Championship competition has been named. Thirty-six players in all have been named. All are Northland-based and, outside the Super players, play club rugby in Northland. Read more here
The New Zealand Rugby Union will help investigate a racism complaint involving two West Coast teams soon to meet in a provincial final. Two players from Hokitika's Kiwi club escaped a judicial hearing on a technicality after allegedly abusing four Polynesian players during a game against South Westland in April. New Zealand Rugby's community and provincial union rugby general manager Brent Anderson said New Zealand Rugby was hiring an independent expert to investigate the claims. Read more here
Last year’s beaten championship finalist Christchurch topped the Metro section one round-robin with its fourth win, this time at University’s expense, as section play concluded on Saturday. Christchurch, which finished fifth in the Hawkins Cup competition, will play the Cup winner New Brighton in one Hawkins Trophy semi-final while defending Trophy title-holder Lincoln University will oppose Sydenham in the other. MVP leaders: 19: Finlay Christie (University), 18: Misi Lamositele (Sydenham), 16: Aaron McCoy (New Brighton), 14: Frank Havea (Belfast). Read more here
The final round of the Northland Southern Districts' Premier competition threw up a couple of upsets and confirmed the semifinalists. Old Boys Marist (OBM) will take on Wellsford, while Mid Northern come up against Waipu next week. Wellsford locked in fourth position with a 43-19 win over Kamo. Otamatea could have qualified if Wellsford lost and they won, but neither of those results occurred.Hora Hora gave their home faithful something to savour as they beat Otamatea 22-17 in an absorbing contest. Cellar-dwellers Hikurangi provided the upset of the round when they beat Western Sharks 29-27. Read more here
The New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Barbarians Schools fixtures against Fiji and Australia have been announced. New Zealand Schools and Australia Schools play for the Trans-Tasman Shield, currently held by New Zealand who defeated Australia 32-8 in last year’s clash. The Jerry Collins Memorial Bronze Boot is also awarded at this fixture, to the standout player as chosen by the opposition management. Read more here
Southalnd Stags coach Hoani Macdonald says the decision to not select former team-mate Jamie Mackintosh has taken its toll. The rookie coach also stressed it should not tarnish the long-serving prop's stellar career in the maroon jersey. Macdonald revealed his 2016 squad on Friday, naming hooker Brayden Mitchell the new Stags captain. Mitchell replaces Mackintosh, who had been captain since 2008. Mackintosh, 31, is currently playing in the United States and was keen to return to the Stags, but Macdonald has opted to look to the future. Read more here
UPDATE: Former Warriors league player Sam Lousi has quit the Waratahs Super Rugby franchise and signed with the Hurricanes. Lousi, who was brought to Sydney by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, but his rugby development has been hampered by injuries. Lousi is also playing for the Wellington Lions in the NPC before linking up with the Canes. He will be the second ex-Warriors in the Hurricanes ranks after centre Ngami Laumape joined Chris Boyd's team this season. Read more here
There is some light at the end of the tunnel for James Broadhurst, who made the All Blacks in 2015 but weeks later was badly concussed playing for Taranaki in their NPC opener against Wellington. He hasn't been sighted on a rugby field since as he works to rid himself of the troublesome symptoms. The 28-year-old is contracted to the Hurricanes until the end of 2017, and Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says he is back in the gym, if not, understandably, anywhere near peak condition. Read more here
The Canterbury Metro Division One competition is getting exciting, with one round to play before the first weekend of playoffs on 30 July. Read all the match reports from last weekend's round here
An in-depth look at where the leading First XV competitions are at the school holidays, and with the post competition knockout rounds looming to find the schools that will contest the Top 4 tournament in early September. Read more here
Scottish International Hugh Blake has returned home to play for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the up coming National Provincial Championship competition. Blake debuted for Scotland against Ireland in 2015, following his move from Edinburgh Rugby to Glasgow Warriors. Prior to his shift to the Northern Hemisphere, Blake represented New Zealand at the Under 20 level as well as playing for Otago.Blake was selected in Scotland 7s side in which he played eleven of the HBSC World Series Sevens Tournaments over the past two years, whilst also representing Glasgow Warriors.
Super Rugby's global tens tournament will be officially launched next month, with the last remaining contracts to be signed soon. The two-day, 10-a-side tournament, billed as the Brisbane Global 10s, will be staged at Suncorp Stadium on February 11 and 12 after Duco Events secured multimillion-dollar Brisbane City Council and Queensland government funding for the next four years.The event will feature 500 players, 14 teams from six countries, $1.55million in appearance fees and prizemoney and is expected to be broadcast in 20 different markets, including France and Sky Sports UK. Read more here
Hastings Rugby and Sports celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary in a key Hawke's Bay seventh round Maddison Trophy competition match today. The club developed from a merger of Nelson Park Hastings clubs Celtic, Hastings HSOB and Hastings in 1995, and celebrate the day with appropriate opposition in competition leaders and first-round Nash Cup winners Napier Old Boys Marist, a product of the 1990 merger of McLean Park Napier clubs Napier HSOB and Marist BOB, the two most recent winners of the Maddison Trophy. Read more here
The Eastern-Northern Barbarians have just one more win to notch up on Saturday to record a remarkable unbeaten round-robin run in Southland's premier club rugby competition. The Barbarians have won 14 from 14 games this year and have just one game against Star in Gore on Saturday to make it a perfect round-robin record. They will also look to defend the AWS Legal Cup before they set their sights on a semifinal showdown with Marist the following Saturday. Read more here
He was one of the better performed players all season, but Kurt Baker was a notable omission from the Rio Olympics All Blacks Sevens squad. Read more here
Waikato Premier club rugby is set to go down to the wire on Saturday, with all of the top six have something to play for in the final round of fixtures in the regular season. But it's the battle between third and sixth that's the most intriguing, with Otorohanga, Hamilton Old Boys, University and Hamilton Marist all fighting for the last two semi-final spots. Melville leapfrogged Hautapu into first position last weekend and with just two points separating them, top spot going into the semi-finals is still up for grabs. Read more here
Waihora Rugby Football Club and Canterbury Maori representative, Bronson Munro, has been found guilty by the Canterbury Metropolitan Judicial Committee of misconduct following a complaint laid by the Southbridge Rugby Football Club. 23 year old Munro was accused of making racially abusive comments towards a Southbridge player in a match between Southbridge and Waihora on 11 June this year. The committee found him guilty of “Acts or Statements that are discriminatory by reason of Religion, Race, Sex or National or Ethnic Origin.” Canterbury Rugby’s General Manager Community Rugby, Tim Gilkison, said the suspension was at the serious end of the sanction available to the committee. “Munro has been suspended from all rugby matches, including any on-field activities, until 31 May 2017.
The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union announced today that Whakarewarewa’s Kelly Haimona has returned to the Bay of Plenty and has signed with the Union for the next two Mitre 10 Cup seasons. Haimona, 30, has recently returned from Italy, to play for his local club Whakarewarewa. Haimona left in 2011 to play club rugby in Italy and earned selection in the Italian national side in 2014. Signing for the Bay of Plenty and returning home for Haimona was an easy decision to make, “Home is always home and the last six years I have been missing it a lot, the opportunity came up to come home and I took it with both hands.”
Three young players have received the call-up to Canterbury's initial Wider Training Group for the 2016 NPC. Canterbury Head Coach Scott Robertson announced a 28-man Wider Training Group last month, but has since added three additional players to the group. Robertson said Logan Crowley from Lincoln University, Braydon Ennor from the University Club and Liam Smart from Sydenham Rugby Club had all impressed enough in their club season to earn the call-up to the squad.
If there is one aspect of its game which separates University A from its opponents in the Dunedin Premier competition, it is the ability to conjure up tries. It goes without saying the team works hard, is dedicated and motivated to defend the trophy it won last season. But it is those touches of individual brilliance which has elevated University ahead of all others. Read more here
Chris Pollock (Hawke's Bay) will become just the fifth New Zealander to whistle 200 first-class matches between the Hurricanes v Blues match in Wellington tomorrow night. Pollock, a 22-Test referee who retired from international duties last year, joins the ranks of some of New Zealand’s most respected whistlers. Other referees to have reached the rare milestone are Bryce Lawrence (201), Steve Walsh (210), Paul Honiss (220) and Paddy O’Brien (221). Pollock’s first class debut was in 2000. His career total takes in 79 Super Rugby matches, 80 NPC matches, and nine Ranfurly Shield challenges. He was New Zealand Rugby’s referee of the year in 2013.
Argentinian Jose Mendez can't wait to get to Heartland training with the South Canterbury rugby team. The Temuka centre was selected in coach Barry Matthews' first fitness squad of the season and wants to make a positive impression. Mendez and friend Facundo Columba were recruited from his home town of Rosario through a player agent to fill a couple of gaps in the Temuka roster and arrived in early March. The bonus for the Magpies - their friend Sebastian Sedran also tagged along, giving the club three Argentinian imports. Read more here
The Manawatu Evergreens thrashed the Hawke's Bay Saracens 59-0 last night in atrocious conditions, leading 31-0 at halftime. However the game was played under the new rules, which the Manawatu players have a handle on having used throughout the club season thus far. Read more here
Cory Jane (Upper Hutt Rams) has signed a two-year contract with Toshiba, but will be back in Hurricanes colours in 2017. Jane will head to Japan at the conclusion of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season where he will join former All Blacks Richard Kahui and Liam Messam as well as Chiefs No 8 Michael Leitch at the Brave Lupus. The move means the 33-year-old will miss the Wellington Lions 2016 and 2017 NPC campaigns. He has played 65 first-class matches for Wellington.
Time is ticking towards July 18 when the Stags will officially assemble to prepare for the August 21 competition opener against Otago. Position by position Southland Times rugby writer Logan Savory looks at the potential Stags options at this stage. Read more here
Manawatu have made wholesale changes as they turn to some of their more experienced campaigners for their second preseason match against the Hawke's Bay Saracens in Palmerston North on Wednesday night. No 8 Mark Atkins and prop Fraser Armstrong are the only survivors in the Manawatu Evergreens' run-on XV from their 34-15 win over Wanganui last week. Coach Jeremy Cotter named eight contracted Turbos in the starting line-up and a further two on the bench, compared to just two contracted players in the entire team for last week's match. Read more here
Mount Albert Grammar School are the hottest First XV ticket in Auckland and New Zealand at present. On Saturday they won their seventh straight victory in the vaunted 1A competition, beating Kelston BHS 57-0. They have scored 368 points and conceded 24 so far. Nearest rivals Sacred Heart College drew with St Peter's 16-16.
The New Zealand U20s have finished strongly at the World Rugby Junior World Championships, beating Australia 55-24. England won the tournament. Read more here
The All Blacks will again take on two provincial sides, Counties Manukau and Northland in August, as part of their preparations for the Investec Rugby Championship. The ‘Game of Three Halves’ training matches will be held at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe on the evening of Friday 12 August, with the first ‘game’ kicking off at 5.30pm. The All Blacks will play 40-minute training matches against each provincial side, with the two provincial teams also playing a 40-minute match. The matches will be played as the provincial sides prepare to kick off their 2016 campaigns for the renamed national competition, the Mitre 10 Cup.
New Moascar Cup holders Nelson College's boast as the home of rugby in New Zealand has been recognised by the global home of the sport with Nelson College accepting an invitation to play at England's Rugby School. Rugby School, renowned as the birthplace of the game, is celebrating its 450th year in 2017. As part of their year-long commemorations they have organised an international schools sevens tournament for next March. Read more here
After 15 years at the same club and four premier titles, Ashley Drake is still racking up club rugby milestones. The Waikanae Rugby Club legend will don his team's jersey for the 200th time in a Horowhenua-Kapiti premier match on Saturday, when table-toppers Levin College Old Boys visit Waikanae Park. He has played in each of Waikanae's premier title-winning teams - in 2002, and three consecutively from 2007-2009. Drake has also played more than 100 games for Horowhenua-Kapiti and played for the Cook Islands. Read more here
How appropriate ... Deidre Hakopa and Lisa Ropiha will both play their 200th match for the Clive women's rugby team together on Saturday. They played every season during Clive's six-season streak of Hawke's Bay championship titles which ended in 2010. They have both had daughters, in Hakopa's case three, play alongside them for Clive, they have both played together for the Hawke's Bay Tuis and every year when the rugby season finishes they play for the Tamatea women's rugby league team which has won numerous Hawke's Bay titles. Read more here
What could have been? New Zealand produced a virtuoso attacking performance to destroy Grand Slam Champions Wales. The contest was over after ten minutes following a blistering start by the Baby Blacks that saw four unanswered tries scored. Wing Jonah Lowe began the carnage after 40 seconds when he burst into a hole in the middle of the Welsh lineout on the 22. Two minutes later lock Hamish Dalzell charged down an attempted clearing kick by Welsh pivot Dan Jones and lumbered 25-metres to score. Read more here
The NZSRU have undertaken a comprehensive review of the Rules and Regulations for the National 1st XV Championships for Boys, Co-Educational Schools and Girls. As a result of the review, the NZSRU has now released new rules, ensuring alignment with those of the NZ Secondary Schools Sports Council. The new rules cover player and team eligibility including timely disclosure of relevant documentation by both schools and NZSRU and complaints/disputes/non-compliance processes including sanctions, clarification of roles and responsibilities and appeals processes. In addition, the review identifies specific matches that will be managed under the jurisdiction of the NZSRU. Read more here
New Zealand Rugby has partnered with Statistics NZ to try to determine whether the lasting impacts of concussions while playing rugby increase the risk of dementia. The project is in its early stages but NZ Rugby hopes the findings will provide "robust answers to that critical question". NZ Rugby will use official data to compare the rates of dementia among players who played high-level rugby in New Zealand between 1950 and 1970 and those who did not. Read more here
They missed out on a place in the coveted Gallaher Shield, but Auckland University are out to seek solace in winning this year's Premier 2 Portola Trophy. Read the unin's profile of the 18-time championship winners here
The New Zealand U20 side to play Wales in Salford on Thursday morning (NZT) has been named. There are few changes to that team that missed out to Ireland. Read more here
Timaru Boys' High School are the new holders of the Moascar Cup, beating previous holders St Andrew's College 14-11 today. Timary BHS now turns to defend it against Nelson College on Saturday, then Otago Boys' High School in their traditional inter-school fixture on Wednesday before facing Christ's College if they still have it then. Read more here
Cory Jane (Upper Hutt Rams) is now officially a former All Black. The Hurricanes wing is contracted for the rest of this Super Rugby season and 2017, but has been considering a deal to play in Japan. Given the 33-year-old former All Black's continued good form, clubs all over the world would be interested in his services. But Jane told Radio Sport on Sunday that Japan suited his particular family circumstances, now that his international rugby career is over. Read more here
The New Zealand U20s went down 24-33 to Ireland on Sunday morning (NZT) in their second Junior World Rugby Championship fixture. They face Wales next in a crunch game. Read more here
Taranaki flanker Mitchell Brown will make his debut for the Chiefs against Wales on Tuesday night in Hamilton.
Brown will join fellow flanker Lachlan Boshier on the starting XV with front rowers Rhys Marshall and Mitchell Graham also starting.
Taranaki hooker Hika Elliot and wing Latu Vaeno will sit on the bench for the mid-week clash.
The side will be captained by 2011 Rugby World Cup winner Stephen Donald. Kick off is at 6:30pm.
Late tries allowed Ellesmere sides to advance to the Combined Country Cup rugby final in Cantebrury this weekend. Southbridge and Waihora both conjured up late heroics to secure home semi-finals wins; Southbridge edging Rakaia 26-23 while Waihora came back to beat Glenmark 27-25. Meanwhile, defending champions Lincoln University (on 40 points) and New Brighton (40) are both in contention to win the first round CHCH Metro competiton. Read more here
Waikato have thrashed the Thames Valley Swampfoxes 83-13 in their first defence of the Ranfurly Shield this season. Waikato had the result wrapped up my the latter stages of the first half. Thames Valley scored a popular 80-metre intercept try in the second half. Read more here
Leni Apisai will lead the New Zealand U20s out to battle in their World Rugby U20 Championship opener against Georgia on Wednesday morning NZT (6.40am). View the team and some commentary around it here
Hamilton Old Boys snatched a 26-25 win over Fraser Tech on Saturday on their 100th anniversary celebration weekend. Of note, a Hamilton Old Boys Classic XV met a Waikato Invitational Classic XV in the curtain-raiser. Read more here
Christchurch Boys' High School have extended their winning streak against Christ's College to a record 16 consecutive matches after a resounding 32-11 victory today. Except for the concession of an early penalty, Christchurch never trailed and totally dominated. CBHS won the ruck and maul count 111-31 and spent over eight minutes inside the Christ's 22 as they suffocated the hosts with a disciplined, aggressive and accurate forward display. CBHS also pilfered five lineout throws. Christ's also lost their unbeaten run to start this year's UC Championship.
A Wellington XV won a tri-series of matches on Tuesday night in Levin against Wairarapa Bush and Horowhenua Kapiti (40 minute halves). Wellington defeated Wairarapa Bush 22-0 (possibly for the Jimmy Cotter Memorial Shield) and they beat Horowhenua Kapiti 48-0 (6 points for a try awarded in this game).
Mount Albert Grammar School have made a lightning start to their Auckland 1A competition season, caning rivals Auckland Grammar School 50-0 for their fourth straight bonus point win. So far they've scored 178 points and conceded 18. Sacred Heart College are also unbeaten after beating Kelston BHS 40-13 at Eden Park on Saturday evening.
The first All Blacks team of the year has been selected to play Wales in June. Read more here
Great day for Southland Boys' High School on Wednesday, with their First XV defeating Otago Boys' High School 32-19 in their annual Traditional, for the first time since 2010. Southland's win was their first in the annual exchange since 2008 and snapped Otago's 60-game unbeaten streak against Highlanders region schools. The margin of victory for Southland was their largest in the interschool since a 27-3 triumph in 2006.
The Women's NPC has been renamed the Farah Palmer Cup in recognition of one of the most iconic figures in women’s rugby. New Zealand Rugby (NZR) today announced that with the support of competition sponsor Mitre 10, the Farah Palmer Cup will kick off under its new name on 6 August. A total of nine provinces – Auckland, North Harbour, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago - will vie for a claim on the inaugural Farah Palmer Cup title. Click here to view the full 2016 draw.
It's crunch time tomorrow for the Marlborough teams in the Tasman Trophy competiton. With just two rounds of crossover remaining, three Nelson sides head the points table leading into semifinal time, with three more within striking distance of the top four.Wanderers, with a perfect 45 points, top the table and have the top qualifying spot sewn up. Marist have won seven from nine and look safe in second with 35 points. Below that, the field closes right up. Nelson sit third on 26 with Waitohi, the best of the Marlborough-based sides, fourth a point behind. If Marlborough clubs are to prevent a possible Nelson semifinal clean sweep they need to string together some wins, an elusive dream given the dominance teams from over the hill have shown so far. Read more here
Christchurch BHS put Timaru BHS in their place on Tuesday with a fourth round UC Championship 60-0 win. CBHS are second behind unbeaten Christ's College after 4 rounds. He failed to add to his tally on Tuesday, But Timaru's Isireli Kawa has been running hot, scoring 7 tries so far.
The Baywide men’s competition is in its ninth week, with only two weeks remaining before the release of the new draw. The Baywide women’s competition is well underway heading into their third week. This weekend’s club rugby will provide exciting action across the board as teams tussle for positions. Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Sports are both coming off successful wins from their games last weekend. Both teams have secured their position in the top eight, but neither team will be holding back in the Battle of the Bridge clash this weekend. The game is being played at Blake Park, kick off at 2.45pm.
One of New Zealand's powerhouses of 1st XV rugby Auckland Grammar beat New Plymouth Boys High School 27-15 in front of a packed Gully in New Plymouth today.
New Plymouth were certainly in the game leading at the break 8-3 thanks to a try by Bradley Slater from an excellent set peice move and a penalty kick to Handley Setu.
Grammar came out firing in the second spell with them managing to score three back-to-back tries, three conversions and a penalty kick in the progress.
Second five-eighth Melino Fineanganofo cut through the defence on a number of occasions setting up some nice tries as New Plymouth fell off tackles.
Chad Peterson scored for New Plymouth but a late come back was a big ask as the Grammar defence was too good.
Click here to see a photo album from the game.
Sumner snapping a three-match losing streak was rewarded with more than competition points in the latest round of the Canterbury Metro Cup competition - their half century against HSOB also launched a historic tenure with the DCL Shield. Only their second win of the season was memorable for Sumner who thrashed HSOB 51-22 to take ownership of the Shield for the first time. Lincoln, who had the luxury of strengthening their pack with former All Black Dominic Bird accelerated to a 44-17 win over Canterbury University. Nick Lake scored a brace as Lincoln firmed in favouritism for a fourth successive Hawkins Cup by extending their lead over New Brighton to three points. Read more here
The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team for the final tournament of the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series in France (28,29 May) features the return of seasoned campaigners Kelly Brazier, Kayla McAlister and Huriana Manuel. The team is: Shakira Baker (Waikato), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Sarah Goss (captain) (Manawatu), Kayla McAlister (Auckland), Huriana Manuel (Auckland), Terina Te Tamaki (Waikato), Ruby Tui (Canterbury), Katarina Whata-Simpkins (Wellington), Renee Wickliffe (Counties Manukau), Niall Williams (Auckland), Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau). Travelling reserves; Selica Winiata (Manawatu), Janna Vaughan (Manawatu). Players not considered because of injury; Gayle Broughton, Tyla Nathan Wong, Hazel Tubic, Stacey Waaka.
Rugby players across Northland observed a moment's silence before kick-off on Saturday and wore black armbands to acknowledge the passing of two of the region's great rugby supporters. Daniel "Blackie" Walters died on Friday after the vehicle he was driving was in a crash involving a school bus and ute, on State Highway 12 near Mamaranui, 20km northwest of Dargaville. Just the day before Mr Walters, a staunch Dargaville Old Boys Rugby Club volunteer, had attended the funeral of his friend and fellow Northern Wairoa Rugby and Taniwha supporter Ian Condon. Read more here
After much speculation Hurricanes halfback Jamison Gibson-Park has signed with Irish club Leinster at the end of this year's Super Rugby competition making him unavailable for the Mitre10 Cup later this year.
Gibson-Park made his debut for Taranaki in 2012 and played 32 games for the province to date including being part of the team that took out the 2014 ITM Cup premiership title.
The 24 year old has an impressive rugby resume including 29 games for the Blues, six appearences for the Hurricanes and has been a key player in the Maori All Blacks for their 2012, 2013 and 2014 tours.
Taranaki Bulls coach Colin Cooper said Gibson-Park will be missed by all.
Gibson-Park joins James Marshall and Kurt Baker as the other Taranaki players who have signed up for overseas clubs.
The Maori All Blacks will play Ireland’s Munster in Limerick as part of a northern tour that kicks off with the already announced Chicago fixture against the USA Eagles. The team kicks off its 2016 tour by taking on the USA Eagles at Toyota Park Chicago on Friday 4 November in an historic double header 'Rugby Weekend' with the All Blacks playing Ireland at Chicago’s famous Soldier Field stadium the following evening. The Maori All Blacks play Munster at Thomond Park on Friday 11 November.
The 2016 Women’s Sevens Series kicks off tomorrow with 24 promising young players and contracted New Zealand Women’s Sevens players getting valuable game time against international opposition. Two New Zealand teams will take on the Cook Islands and Samoa national teams in a series which takes place over two weekends in Auckland and Pukekohe this month. “The series is about giving our next crop of players from the Sevens Development Squad valuable international sevens experience as we build depth in our playing pool,” said New Zealand Women’s Sevens Coach Sean Horan. “We’ll also give some of our contracted players time on the field which will really help our preparations for Rio. With one international tournament to go in France, coupled with this series, we’ll gain some valuable insights as we head towards making our final selections for the New Zealand Olympic Sevens squad in June.
The Auckland First XV Premier 1A competition kicks off this weekend with the opening round of matches. Onehunga High School won their promotion match and have a tough first up assignment at Auckland Grammar School. Saint Kentigern kick off their title defence against Aorere College. For more read here
The Taranaki Rugby Football Union has today announced the departure of fullback Kurt Baker.
The currently All Black Sevens representative has signed a two year deal with Italian club Zebre and will not be available for Taranaki's 2016 Mitre10 Cup campaign.
Bakers exit is just another one added to the list with James Marshall signed up with London Irish and Jamieson Gibson-Park speculated to join Irish club Leinster. Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu are expected to be selected for the All Blacks.
Baker has played 57 games for Taranaki since joining the side from Manawatu in 2010 including winning the Ranfurly Shield in 2011 and taking the NPC premiership title in 2014.
New Zealand beat Australia by 30-10 in the first of two under-20's internationals at Bond University, Gold Coast on Wednesday night. The series is a warm-up for the IRB Junior World Championships in England in June. The second match is on Saturday. Defensive pressure and superior accuracy in an often scrappy encounter were the key ingredients in New Zealand's succes Read more here
Damian McKenzie has resigned with the Chiefs until the end of 2018. McKenzie said the environment and quality coaches were key factors in his decision to re-sign. Read more here
The New Zealand side to play the opening match of the Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship against Australia on Tuesday, has been named. View the team here
With both the Black Ferns and the New Zealand Women’s Sevens teams being selected this year following the Women’s Provincial Cup competition in October, this year’s Women’s Sevens Series is being played on the weekends of 6 to 8 May and 27 to 29 May.The series includes two teams from the National Women’s Development Programme, and the Samoan and Cook Island National Women’s Sevens teams as they prepare for their final Rio qualifier in June. View the players selected here
Francis Douglas Memorial College will go back to the drawing board after being smashed by St Peter's School from Cambridge in their Central North Island competition match 60-7 last night.
Played as the curtain raiser before the Chiefs v Sharks Super Rugby match at Yarrow Stadium, Francis Douglas scored first but trailed at the break by 12-7.
However, the second half was more open with St Peter's running in 48 unanswered points in a rampage.
The home side dropped too many tackles and allowed the quick wingers to run around the defence.
Francis Douglas' next assignment is against Palmerston North Boys High School away on Wednesday before they play St Paul's Collegiate from Hamilton next Saturday at home.
St. Kentigern College has won the 2016 Presbyterian Schools' Quadrangular tournament with a commanding 57-3 victory over Scots College. Read more here
Oriental-Rongotai loose forward Ardie Savea will take no further part in the New Zealand Sevens team's campaign and won't be in the team for the Rio Olympics.Savea played for the sevens team in Wellington and Sydney and had been down to play for them in Paris and London, with an eye to making the team for the 2016 Olympic Games, but has pulled out to focus on 15s.Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens said Savea was very disappointed would not be returning to the team."There's little doubt Ardie could've been a key player for us in Rio, but we respect his decision. Read more here
Napier Old Boys Marist are leading the way in the Hawke's Bay Nash Cup, earning their fifth straight win on Saturday. Read a round-up of the competiton's matches here
A former Wallaby who was once "on the brink of death" after a serious illness is launching his rugby comeback with a Marlborough club.Richard Kingi, who played one match for Robbie Deans' Wallabies in 2009, trained with East Coast this week and will make his NPD Tasman Trophy debut against Stoke in Seddon on Saturday. "I am very thankful to be alive and playing rugby again," said Kingi, who believes he is in better nick now than during his Super Rugby heyday. For more read here
The All Blacks have won the Laureus Sports Awards for the first time, while star five-eighth Dan Carter won the Comeback of the Year award. Read more here
Crusader Marty McKenzie scored 31 points for Canterbury University in Christchurch club rugby on Saturday. University overan Blefast 81-8. Read more here
Chris Elvin will take the field in his 200th official premier match for Mount Maunganui Sports premier team. Elvin commenced his senior career with Mount Maunganui Sports in 2001, the only local club he has played for. Within his career he has proudly represented Bay of Plenty for the Bay of Plenty Steamers, Development, Maori and Sevens side. Elvin has also played for the New Zealand Barbarians in their match against King Country, as well as been announced the Player of the Tour when playing in the New Zealand Youth Tour in 2003.
Former Auckland and Blues lock Kurtis Haiu has died after a long battle with bone cancer. Haiu played 53 matches for the blues between 2006-11 and 62 times for Auckland. He was 31. Read more here
Liam Messam takes over the leadership of the All Blacks Sevens team for this weekend's Singapore 7s, following injury to Tim Mikkelson in Hong Kong and the decision to rest long serving former captain DJ Forbes. Former Rotorua Boys High School First XV captain Isaac Te Aute will make his debut having joined the All Blacks Sevens squad late last year after finishing school. The team is: The team is; Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Antonio Kiri Kiri (Manawatu), Josh Van Lieshout (Counties Manukau), Liam Messam (captain) (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty), Isaac Te Aute (Bay of Plenty)
Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Waikato), Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)
The All Blacks Sevens team missed out to Fiji in the final of the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday. Fiji were too strong and too fresh for the New Zealanders, winning the final 21-7 to extend their lead atop the world series ladder. New Zealand, who won the previous tournament in Vancouver, moved past South Africa into second. In the end, New Zealand were out on their feet. As Fiji cantered past Australia 34-5 in one semifinal, New Zealand had to scrap for 10 minutes of extra time before a late Regan Ware try got them home 12-7 against South Africa. They were reduced to just three on their bench, too, with captain Tim Mikkelson and Sam Dickson having suffered tournament-ending leg injuries. Read more here
Waitemata will take the long trek across the Auckland union to Pakuranga for what promises to be a tantalisingWaka Nathan Cup pre-season competition final. The two clubs, which flank the eastern and western most borders of the city, have built a fierce and tense rivalry in recent years with the next chapter set to be just as exciting as the ones before. Read more here
Cory Jane (Upper Hutt Rams) will take his place among an exclusive group of Hurricanes when he runs out for his 100th Investec Super Rugby match against the Jaguares at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
The 33-year old will start on the right wing making him just the eighth player to earn a century of caps for the Hurricanes after Tana Umaga, Rodney So’oialo, Neemia Tialata, Ma’a Nonu, Andrew Hore, Conrad Smith and Jeremy Thrush.
The All Blacks Sevens team for the famous Hong Kong Sevens tournament being played this weekend is: Pita Ahki (North Harbour), Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Captain) (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Waikato, Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau). NZ plays games against France on Friday and Kenya and Samoa on Saturday.
It's debatable if any of these trial laws are needed or particulalry wanted in New Zealand rugby. At least the insidious changes to the value of points scoring is only being implemented in the Heartland Championship this year and not the full NPC competition. Click here for more
New Plymouth Boys' High School 1st XV will host Kings College of Auckland in a new fixture for the two schools.
Held at the Gully tomorrow (Saturday) at midday, the two schools will play for the first time in a friendly match.
The game will be a good warm up for both sides as they compete in their respective 1st XV competitions with New Plymouth focused on the Super 8 and Kings College on their Auckland 1A 1st XV competition.
Lincoln University can expect to carry the weight of expectation as the Christchurch metro division one club competition begins at the Belfast grounds on Saturday. Lincoln, who meet Christchurch in one of the six matches to be played during the gala day at Sheldon Park, earned a memorable double last season by securing the Hawkins Cup title and then claiming the Hawkins Trophy for the first time since 1981. The Lincoln v Christchurch match in the opening round is a re-match of last year's Hawkins Trophy final. Read more here
Sky Network Television (The Rugby Channel) has released its schedule of First XV matches for 2016. View the schedule here
The All Blacks Sevens squad of 14 which will travel to the next two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong (8-10 April) and Singapore (16-17 April) has been named. The playing team of 12 for Hong Kong will be named next week. Pita Ahki (North Harbour), Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay, Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Captain) (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Waikato), Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)
The Horowhenua-Kapiti Premier club rugby competition has been restored to eight teams this season, with the reintroduction of a Toa side. The Porirua-based team joins Paraparaumu, Waikanae, Levin Wanderers, Levin College Old Boys, Levin Athletic, Foxton and Shannon for the season, which begins on Saturday. Wanderers have also been restored to the fold, having defaulted six weeks into last season. Paraparaumu are aiming to win their fifth premier title in a row, and sixth in the last seven years For more read here
The New Zealand Women’s Sevens squad of 14 that will travel to the next two tournaments of the Women’s Sevens Series – Atlanta (8-9 April) in USA and Langford in Canada (16-17 April) has been named. The playing 12 for Atlanta will be confirmed early next week. Michaela Blyde (Taranaki), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Sarah Goss (captain) (Manawatu), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland), Shiray Tane (Hawke’s Bay), Terina Te Tamaki (Waikato), Ruby Tui (Canterbury), Janna Vaughan (Manawatu),Stacey Waaka (Waikato), Katarina Whata-Simpkins (Wellington), Niall Williams (Auckland), Selica Winiata (Manawatu), Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
Feilding beat Freyberg 31-27 in a thriller in round 3 of the Manawatu club rugby competition on Easter Monday. Feilding scored a last-gasp try to win the match. Elsewhere, Kia Toa beat Feilding Old Boys Oroua 30-15, Old Boys Marist beat Te Kawau 22-17 and defending champions College Old Boys defeated Linton 34-12.
Reading this article here , it appears that a couple of the law changes mooted to kick in in this year's Mitre 10 sponsorsed Men's and Women's NPC and Heartland Championship competitions will not be implemented. "New Zealand Rugby announced in December they would introduce some trial laws to the country's premier provincial competition to help with World Rugby's attempt to make the sport a better spectacle. "Included in the trial laws was a change to the points scoring system where tries would be increased to six points and penalties reduced to two points. A new off-side line was also set to be introduced where players would have to be one metre back from the hindmost foot. It is understood the 14 top flight provincial coaches met recently and it has been decided to scrap the points scoring change and the rule where defensive players have to be back one metre from the ruck."
Is he the world's tallest lock? Dean Williams is from the UK and plays for Suburbs in Auckland. He's an even 7-footer, or 2.13m. Read more here
The favoured sides have flexed their muscles early in Manawatu Premier club rugby. The second round was played on Good Friday, with ia Toa, College Old Boys and Old Boys-Marist all taking wins. Read more here
Clive set the Hawke's Bay Premier 2016 season up with their first win over Hastings Rugby & Sports for 10 years, winning 26-17 in their season opener on Friday. Read about the opening round here
Otago Premier club rugby kicked off on Thursday night with the opening round of matches for 2016. There was hot scoring in all matches, with a one-point come from behind thriller and two comfortable thrashings, including a big win for defending champions University A. Scores were:
University 63 - Alhambra-Union; Taieri:55 - Zingari-Richmond 24; Southern 33 - Kaikorai 7; Pirates 27 - Green Island 26; Dunedin 36 - Harbour 34
Tauranga Sports will open their defence of the Baywide club rugby competition on Sunday. The competition kicks off tonight, with opening round games throughout Easter. Matches are (2.45pm kick-offs unless stated):Greerton Marist v Te Puna at Greerton Park (Thursday 24th March, 6.45pm Kick Off)
Nothing's been signed yet, but Wellington is to keep the World Rugby Sevens tournament, as reported today. Read more here
Porirua Park will officially be renamed Jerry Collins Stadium and a plaque in Jerry Collins' name will be unveiled onsite at Porirua Park on Friday 25 March at 10.00am. Former All Black Collins, who captained Northern United aged 18, died in a car crash in France last year.
Waikato and Counties Manukau got underway last weekend; this Saturday sees Northland Southern Districts, Manawatu, Tasman, Central Otago and King Country start for 2016. The pre-season Auckland Waka Nathan Cup starts on Saturday as well. Most other competitions start over Easter next weekend.
Waikato will take on Mitre 10 Heartland Championship provinces Thames Valley, King Country and Wanganui in pre-season Ranfurly Shield challenges later this year. Wanganui gains a mandatory shield challenge as the current holders of the Meads Cup and will play Waikato for the third time in Ranfurly Shield rugby, while neighbouring unions Thames Valley and King Country will challenge Waikato for the shield for a fifth time.The first challenge for 2016 will be against Thames Valley on Queen’s Birthday Weekend (Monday 6 June). This will be followed by King Country on Saturday 30 July and Wanganui on Saturday 6 August.
Season captain Dane Coles (Poneke FC) will make his first appearance for the Hurricanes when they host the Western Force in the battle of the weather systems in Palmerston North this coming Friday. Coles has been sidelined thus far with hamstring and calf complaints. Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has made four changes to the side that started last week’s 23-19 win over the Blues at Eden Park with wing Nehe Milner-Skudder, blindside Brad Shields, prop Reggie Goodes, and hooker Leni Apisai all ruled out due to injury. Nehe Milner-Skudder (Varsity) has unfortunately been ruled out for the Super Rugby season after scans revealed he will need surgery on the shoulder he dislocated at Eden Park. He is replaced on the right wing by Cory Jane.
The New Zealand Barbarians will face the Lions next year to kick off the tourists' eagerly awaited first journey here in 12 years. The June 3, 2017 fixture was originally earmarked as a Provincial Union XV It will still be played at Whangarei's Toll Stadium and the make-up of the team, mainly Mitre 10 Cup and the odd Heartland Championship players, will still be along original lines. All the other tour games are Super Rugby franchises, which is a knock-back for traditionalists. Read more here
While you were at the beach over summer, College Sport Media was at the library, buried in archives and collating records of the all the previous New Secondary School teams. Their recap of the 1980 team is here
The All Blacks Sevens side won the Vancouver Sevens, beating South Africa 19-14 in the Cup final. The win sees New Zealand move to 104 points and close the gap on series leaders Fiji (106) who finished fourth after losing to Australia in the third place play-off to just two points. Runners-up South Africa remain in second on 105 points. Read more here
Waikato club rugby kicked off this weekend, with a re-match of last year's final between Hamilton Marist and University. Results were: Hamilton Marist 26 (Leigh Bristowe 2 tries) - University 28 (Hame Faiva, Penikolo Latu, Tyler Jackson tries; Jason Robertson 2 con, 3 pen); Hautapu 51 (Josh Harris 2, Josh Gascoigne, David Morris, Thomas Orr, Todd Doolan tries; Doolan 6 con, 3 pen) -Hamilton Old Boys 8 (Ohomairangi Moke try; Dean Devcich pen). HT 20-3; Te Awamutu Sports 13 (Jack Munce, Etimani Sului tries; Whakataki Cunningham pen) - Melville 37 (Kylem O'Donnell 2, Elijah Ale, Harry Lafituanai, Tui Katoa tries; Sevu Reece 3 con, 2 pen). HT 13-15; Otorohanga 67 (Ross Fenton 2, Vern Kamo 2, Te Amo Wilbore 2, Rupeni Seduadua, Murray Iti, Te Hata Wilbore, Trent Tane tries; Te Amo Wilbore 6 con) - Morrinsville Sports 10 (Jayden Watene, Shneil Singh tries). HT 43-5. United Matamata Sports 29 (Jamie McIntyre 2, Rupeni Vakacegu, Les McIlroy tries; Sharman Emery 3 con, pen) -Fraser Tech 31.
Defending championhip winners Bombay went down in their season opening Counties Manukau Challenge Cup match, while 2015 runners-up Karaka won comfortably. Results for 12 March were: Ardmore Marist 37 - Drury 13; Te Kauwhata 41 – Weymouth 14; Patumahoe 18 - Manurewa 0; Onewhero 23 - Bombay 20; Karaka 41 – Pukekohe 3; Waiuku 27 - Papakura 0
Things might look a little strange at the breakdown during Waikato club rugby this season. Think cleaner, clearer rugby during the tackle and ruck, and a product that fans will enjoy more than the game we see in Super Rugby each week. That's if everything goes to plan. Read more here
The two clubs that pulled out of the Otago country club competition last year are back this season.The competition in the southern region last year had only seven teams after Lawrence withdrew, which brought about a bye in the competition.Clyde-Earnscleugh withdrew after a lack of front rowers meant it was unable to front with a team. The South Otago competition starts on April 2. Read more here
Unforced mistakes cost the Hurricanes the chance for their first victory of the season in Duendin on Saturday night, missing out 16-17 to the Highlanders in a re-match of last year's final. It won't get any easier for the Hurricanes fans in week three when they meet a resurgent Blues in Auckland. Read more here
Wellington’s Marist St Pat’s won the 85th Spillane Cup tournament, beating Lower Hutt’s Hutt Old Boys Marist 42-27 in Sunday’s final in Hamilton. NOBM finished third, beating Auckland Marist 18-17 in their playoff for third and fourth. NOBM held on to beat the 2015 champions, after missing out late in the game in Saturday’s match against MSP 34-41.
The 85th NZ Marist Spillane Cup final on Sunday will be between Wellington clubs Hutt Old Boys Marist and Marist St Pat's. 2010-14 champions HOBM defeated last year's winners Auckland Marist 36-26 in one match on day one, whilst MSP defeated Napier Old Boys Marist 41-34 in the other fixture.
The All Blacks Sevens team to play the fifth leg of the 2015/16 HSBC World Series, USA Sevens, (4-6 March) in Las Vegas features the return of Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam who pulls on the sevens jersey for the first time sinc 2010. The team is: Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Josh Van Lieshout* (Counties Manukau), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Captain) (Waikato), Sione Molia* (Counties Manukau), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki), Regan Ware (Waikato)
Piri Weepu (Wainuiomata) has joined a side in the sixth tier of French rugby. One of the heroes of the All Blacks' 2011 Rugby World Cup win could play his first game for Saint Sulpice against against Moissac on Monday (NZ time), if he gets clearance as he looks regain some match fitness and sign with a bigger club. The 32-year-old was let go by Oyonnax last month, with the club giving no reason why his contract was terminated. It left the 71-test All Black without a club for the rest of the season and needing something to do. So he decided to play grassroots French rugby. Click here for more
Waipu Rugby Football Club has entered the history books in more ways than one. Ringing in the the club's 140th anniversary - an eminent milestone in itself - members of the Waipu premier and premier reserve sides also struck off another record with notable ease on Saturday.Eclipsing the official Guinness World Record for the most rugby passes in one hour, a benchmark of 2336 passes achieved by the Maccabi GB Junior Rugby Squad at Allianz Park, London, in 2013, Waipu surpassed the previous record in brilliant fashion to reach 4008 passes as the timer struck 60 minutes. For more read here
Our friend Chris Rattue of the New Zealand Herald reflects on the opening weekend Super Rugby. Click here for more
St Mary's College, Wellington (girls) and Tauranga Boys' College (boys) won Saturday's Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament at the Rugby Institute in Palmertson North on Saturday. Manukura won the boys U15 section. Thirty teams took part. For more read here
The man who scored 58 tries in 85 Super Rugby tries and at times single handedly carried the Hurricanes brand, Christian Cullen, has spoken: "There is so much I'm looking forward to with this rugby season but I still can't work out why Super Rugby has expanded - again. I admit I'm old school and liked it when you played every team once and you knew where you stood at the end of a season. But this year's competition is a confusing, watered-down version of what we had before. For more read here
A look at who the backs will be to watch ahead of this year's Super Rugby competition, which starts tomorrow night and runs through to August. Read more here
Club teams from host union Horowhenua Kapiti, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa-Bush contest the annual Shannon 7s tournament this Saturday. The Pools are:
Pool A: Shannon, Foxton, Freyberg A
Pool B: Paraparaumu, Toa, COB Levin.
Pool C: COB P/Nth, Wanderers, Hastings Rugby & Sports.
Pool D: Greytown, Freyberg B, Waikanae
The full draw is here
The Premier and Development Bay of Plenty 2016 Baywide club rugby draw has been released. Visit this here
Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith says the players are looking to each other to try to back up from their Super rugby title of last year. Smith (27) is set to start for the team when it takes on the Blues in its opening game of the 2016 competition. The 47-test All Black said he could not wait for the season to start. "You can really feel the edge about us at training this week. We get to play a proper game,'' he said. read more here
Regular Club Rugby contributor Scott MacLean has put the spotlight on who to watch in the NZ teams in this year's Super Rugby competition. read his Forwards analyis. Backs article to come.
Kayla McAlister (Auckland) scored seven tries on day one and 11 overall to help the NZ Women's Sevens team finus third in the latests Women's Series tournament in Brazil. After storming through pool play, New Zealand were undone by a skilful Canadian side in the semi-finals before claiming third place at the Sao Paulo Sevens. The team defeated the USA 28-0 with Australia claiming its second title of the season by beating Canada 29-0 in the final. The result lifted New Zealand to equal second place in the Women's Series with Canada. There are three further tournaments to play in the 2015/16 season.
Auckland Marist have won the annual Samoa International Sevens tournament this weekend, becoming the first New Zealand team to win the tournament in it's 28-year history. Auckland Marist beat Vaiala 33-0 in the final.
In final Super Rugby pre-season matches on Friday before the competition proper starts next weekend, the Blues battled to a 24-12 victory over the Chiefs, the Highlanders defeated the Waratahs 40-35 and the Hurricanes overcame the Crusaders 74-12.
Taranaki and Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst will miss the start of the Super Rugby season due to the ongoing effects of concussion. Broadhurst has not trained fully since suffering a head knock playing for Taranaki against Wellington in the opening round of the NPC in August last year. Though he was fully focused on getting back on the field for the Hurricanes later this season the 28-year-old said that wouldn’t happen until he was 100 per cent healthy.
The captain is back, he is well rested and he is raring to go. Highlanders captain and fullback Ben Smith will start for the side in its final pre-season game against the Waratahs in Queenstown tomorrow. Smith, who was a key part of the Highlanders and All Blacks last year as they both bagged titles, has had a lengthy break and he admitted it has been a good rest on the sidelines.‘‘I quite enjoyed the time off, had a bit of time with family. Read more here
Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team's utility back Richard Buckman's Super season is over before it began. The Highlanders winger injured his shoulder while scoring a try in the first half of the Super champions 45-38 loss to Dan Carter's Racing Metro in Hong Kong last weekend. This was the Highlanders first pre-season outing. For more read here
Hawke's Bay rugby's "Playergate" saga has been resolved. The Havelock North club will be fined $500 and the club's premier team will start the Nash Cup competition next month with a five point deficit. The club's appeal to the New Zealand union late last year was unsuccessful. The villagers received the fine and points penalty after fielding unregistered players, loosie Luke Ottley and prop Emmanuel Maui, in their 22-17 Maddison Trophy semifinal win against Hastings Rugby and Sports in August. Both players were club stalwarts with 154 and 127 games respectively. Read more here
You might look at the Hurricanes' pre-season clash with the Blues in Eketahuna on Saturday and think bore, joke, chore, public-relations charade or hiding to nothing. Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara sees something rather different. Read more here
Around fifty aspiring Crusaders are attending a training camp at Lincoln University today and tomorrow, with the Crusaders Knights squad for 2016 to be selected out of a trial game tomorrow afternoon. The Crusaders Knights will play their first game against the Hurricanes development team on 19 February in Blenheim. They will then play three matches against the Highlanders development team, at Christchurch’s Rugby Park on 27 February, Dunedin’s Logan Park on 5 March, and the Pleasant Point Rugby Club on 12 March.
UPDATE: The match was drawn 19-19. The commuity rugby event was a success. A Waimumu paddock, in the heart of rural Eastern Southland, has been transformed into a manicured sports field for today's pre-season Super Rugby fixture between the Highlanders and Crusaders. Fred Booth Park is named after the owner of the paddock. For imore read here
View days one and two photos of the National Sevens tournament that was held at Wainuiomata over the weekend by visiting Photos above.
The Hurricanes full squad will travel to play the Blues at the Eketahuna Rugby Club thisSaturday, in their second pre-season Super Rugby hit-out. The match kicks off at 3.00pm. Tickets for the Super Rugby pre-season game are available through PGG Wrightson Stores and at Tui HQ, SH2, Mangatainoka. Prices are $40 for GA and $130pp for Corporate Tickets. Tickets also available online at www.tui.co.nz. Kick-off is at 3pm. If the game is not sold out prior, gate sales will be available. More details of the match published here later this week.
For the second week in a row, New Zealand have stolen a Cup final win after the final hooter in the World Rugby Sevens Series. Rieko Ioane scored with 30 seconds remaining in the match to bring New Zealand within two points of Australia, then scored his third of the match after the hooter to secure an unlikely 27-24 victory. Having won the Wellington Sevens in similar circumstances last week, a second comeback Cup final victory seemed unlikely. Read more here
The NZ Women's 7s side is off Florida and Brazil shortly, departing for a training camp in Florida on Sunday 7 February. The players will also travel to Rio de Janiero to familiarise themselves with the Olympic host city before heading to Sao Paulo,the venue of the second tournament of the year on 20-21 February. The team is: Michaela Blyde (Taranaki), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Gayle Broughton (Taranaki), Sarah Goss (captain) (Manawatu), Kayla McAlister (Auckland), Huriana Manuel (Auckland), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland), Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau), Ruby Tui (Canterbury), Kat Whata-Simpkins (Wellington), Niall Williams (Auckland), Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
The Blues have started their 2016 campaign with a 59-7 thrashing of the Rebels in their community pre-season match at Pakuranga tonight. The Blues next play the Hurricanes at Eketahuna Saturday week, with the Hurricanes losing 0-28 to the Force in their opener. Scores: Blues 59 (Namatahi Waa, Jack Ram, Melani Nanai, Nic Mayhew, Steven Luatua, Matt Vaega, Patrick Tuipulotu, Rene Ranger, George Moala tries; Matt McGahan 4 cons, Ihaia West 3 cons)Melbourne Rebels 7 (Mitch Inman try, Jack Debreczeni con).
Super Rugby's governing body Sanzaar announced a number of changes - including one to its own name. Sanzar is now Sanzaar - the extra 'a' signifying Argentina's entrance into the Southern Hemisphere alliance and they also confirmed the controversial bonus point system will change when the competition gets going. Teams will now need to score three more tries than the opposition to get a bonus point, A losing bonus point will, however, still be up for grabs if teams finish within seven of their opposition. For more read here
The New Zealand Black Ferns are on top of the rugby world, according to the official World Rugby international rugby women's rankings. View the rankings list here
The new home - if there is one - of the sevens tournament hosted by New Zealand will be known as early as next month and Dunedin will put its hand up if it is commercially viable. But it may be a bridge too far for the tournament to be lured south given the sheer logistics involved and the tight turnaround for teams. Read more here
Nine players will pull on the Hurricanes jersey for the first time during the team’s first Super Rugby preseason match of 2016 against the Western Force in Gosford on Wednesday. The six Hurricanes six RWC are All Blacks unavailable. The team is: 1. Reggie Goodes, 2. Motu Matu'u, 3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4. Vaea Fifita, 5. Mark Abbott, 6. Brad Shields (c), 7. Callum Gibbins, 8. Blade Thomson, 9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 10. Otere Black, 11. Wes Goosen, 12. Willis Halaholo, 13. Pita Ahki, 14. Matt Proctor, 15. Jason Woodward. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Loni Uhila, Ben May, Hisa Sasagi, Chris Eves, Michael Fatialofa, James Blackwell, Tony Lamborn, Frae Wilson, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen.
Local clubs, Marist St Pat's and Hutt Old Boys Marist, were to the fore on day one of the New Zealand Marist Sevens tournament held in Wellington on Saturday morning. Both MSP men's teams and HOBM's side topped the three men's pools, while MSP defeated Hastings Rugby and Sports to win the women's section. Day two resumes at 8.30am Sunday morning, with the men's Cup final scheduled for 12.50pm. View day one photos here
Luke Whitelock is enjoying his "hugely refreshing'' start with the defending champion Highlanders.The 24-year-old former Crusaders loose forward has been in Dunedin for about two months, after he signed a one year deal with the Super rugby champion last October. He played 50 matches - many of them off the bench - for the Crusaders in the past four years, but decided to head south for a fresh start. Read more here
The 2016 rugby season, a year filled with so much promise and change as the start of the new four-year cycle in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan, looms over the horizon in the southern hemisphere. New Zealand look set to be on equal standing to their successful 2012 run-on and will be looking for more of the same in accordance from that particular cycle. Read more here
The 2016 rugby season, a year filled with so much promise and change as the start of the new four-year cycle in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan, looms over the horizon in the southern hemisphere.New Zealand look set to be on equal standing to their successful 2012 run-on and will be looking for more of the same in accordance from that particular cycle. Read more here
Augustine Pulu knows he is a long way from pulling on a New Zealand Sevens jersey at the Rio Olympics.That was in both time and sevens ability, as he tries to soak up as much knowledge from the experienced members of the team during their week-long camp ahead of this weekend's Wellington Sevens. Pulu made his debut late last year at the Dubai Sevens and said he felt he had progressed well since then. Read more here
Read about tournament news and view the draw and matches at the World Sevens Wellington tournament website here
The Hurricanes are launching a new three-part pre-season TV series to be aired on Sky Sport on 12 February, 19 February and 25 February. In the meantime, watch past episodes of Hurricane PD here
The Highlander's Super Rugby winning Head Coach Jamie Joseph will coach Japan. He will join Japan after the Highlanders complete their Super Rugby season. Under Joseph the Highlanders have emerged from being the competition's battlers to a title winner. Last year they beat the Hurricanes 21-14 in the final at Wellington's Westpac Stadium. Read more here
Three New Zealand players and the Head Coach are part of Scotland's Six Nations Squad. Flankers John Hardie (Southland) and Blair Cowan (Wellington) and Sean Maitland (midfield back) are included. Vern Cotter is the coach. Meanwhile, fullback Gareth Anscombe (Auckland) is in the Wales squad, coached by Warren Gatland Read more here
Former Wests Roosters, Wellington and Hurricanes No. 8 Filo Tiatia is joining former Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett at the coaching staff of the Japanese Sunwolves this year. Tiatia, who spent several years playing in Japan, leaves his current posiiton as Director of Rugby at Wellington's Scots College. Read more here
2015 Hamilton Girls' High School player Terena Te Tamaki has been selected in a 22-player contracted New Zealand Women's squad for 2016. From this squad, 12 players will be selected for the New Zealand sevens team to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero. “Terina played exceptionally well as an 18 year old for Waikato over the weekend at the Nationals. We also have Janna Vaughan who we’ve had on our radar for the past 12 months. She brings a real physicality to a centre role. She’s aggressive and abrasive and we need that," said coach Sean Horan. Read more here
New Head Coach Tana Umaga (Petone) has told the New Zealand Herald there's an air of optimisim at Blues HQ ahead of the new season. The signs are positive, he says. "There are no excuses now. We've got the facility, we've got the resources, so hopefully it should lead to better performances on the field. Read more here
The Men’s Cup quarterfinals are: 11.25am: Auckland v Wellington, 11.45am: Waikato v North Harbour, 12.05pm: Counties Manukau v Manawatu, 12.25pm: Taranaki v Bay of Plenty. The Men’s Bowl quarterfinals are: 10.05am: Northland v Otago, 10.25am: Canterbury v Wanganui, 10.45am: Mid Canterbury v Tasman, 11.05am: Hawke's Bay v South Canterbury. The Women’s Cup Playoffs are: 10.05am: Wellington v Auckland, 10.25am: Waikato v Manawatu. The Women’s Plate Playoffs are: 10.45am: Otago v Wairarapa Bush, 11.05am: North Harbour v Tasman. Day One results can be viewed here
About 500 players and officials plus supporters will start arriving in Rotorua on Friday ahead of the Bayleys National Sevens tournament. Read more here
The Crusaders are seeking nominations for community projects and people who deserve a good turn in the Timaru, Ashburton, North Canterbury and Banks Peninsula regions, on 27 January. The squad will be making themselves available to lend a hand to some good causes. Robbie Fruean said: “We don’t get to travel to these parts of our catchment area as often as we’d ideally love to, so we want to make these visits really worthwhile. We are offering an ‘Hour of Power’ in each of these regions, where we will provide the manpower to help out with a worthy community project. We are also going to host a ‘Good Sorts’ BBQ lunch in each region for some deserving members of the community, so we need people to tell us who those people and projects should be." Nominations can be emailed to email@example.com or messaged to their Facebook page One nomination will be successful for each event in each of the areas (Timaru, Ashburton, North Canterbury and Banks Peninsula).
It has taken six seasons, but Taranaki and Hurricanes first five-eighth Beauden Barrett can finally start a Super Rugby campaign without Dan Carter's name already penciled in for the All Blacks' No 10 jersey. There will be stiff competition for the coveted spot from the man he replaced at the Canes, current Chiefs first-five Aaron Cruden, and former Wellingtonian turned Highlander Lima Sopoaga. Barrett would dearly love to lock down that starting spot, having spent most of his All Blacks career as an impact player, making 28 of his 36 tests appearances off the bench. Read more here
The Taranaki men's side and the Manawatu women's team won today's Bay of Plenty Provincial Sevens tournament at Mount Maunganui. Taranaki defeated Northland 31-17 in the Mens Cup final and Manawatu defeated Wellington 19-12 in the Women's final. For full results read here
Changes to the points scoring structure in the 2015 Mitre 10 Cup have been revealed. Read more here
High-profile first XV school rugby in New Zealand is being targeted for drug testing. Drugfree Sport NZ confirmed the stance, concerned that junior athletes were becoming vulnerable to taking banned substances. For more read here
The Pools and the fixtures list for the Wellington leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on 30 and 31 January can be viewed here New Zealand plays Pool matches against Russia, Scotland and South Africa. The tournament will provide a backdrop to the National Club Middlesex Cup sevens hosted by the Wainuiomata Rugby Football Club on the same weekend (details pending).
BLK Christmas clearance sale. NOTHING OVER $70. Prices starting from as a low as $5. The sale will be held at the Upper Hutt Rams Rugby Club which is at Maidstone Park in Upper Hutt. Thursday December 17th 2pm - 8pm, Friday December 18th 10am - 7pm and Saturday December 19th 9am - 2pm
The Northern Region Sevens tournament is being played at Memorial Park, Cambridge on Sunday. There are six men's and five women's teams chasing five and four spots respecively for the National tournament in Rotorua on 16-17 January. The first game is 10.00am with TV coverage on Sky kicking in at 12.30pm.
All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens has called up three replacements for the Cape Town Sevens this weekend after a rash of injuries hit the team at the Dubai Sevens. Five players are returning home after sustaining injuries in that tournament. They are Scott Curry (dislocated shoulder), Gillies Kaka (ankle), Tim Mikkelson (concussion), Sherwin Stowers (broken arm) and Regan Ware (ankle). They have been replaced by All Blacks Sevens squad members Antonio Kirikiri (Manawatu), Ambrose Curtis (Wellington) and Beaudein Waka (Taranaki). Read more here
New Zealand's Women's Sevens side had to be content with winning the Plate (fifth place) in the opening round of the World Sevens series in Dubai on Friday. NZ lost to Russia in their opening game, a result which consigned them to a quarter-final play-off on day two against pre-tournament favourite Australia, a game New Zealand lost 12-15. Australia went on to beat Russia 31-12 in the final and now lead the series after the opening tournament. Final placings for the Dubai Sevens and current 2015-16 HSBC Women's World Series standings (Top 6): 1. Australia (22 World Series points), 2. Russia (19 points), 3. England (17 points), 4. France (15 points), 5. New Zealand (13 points), 6. Canada (12 points)
The teamlists for this weekend's National Condor 7s draw can be viewed here
Otago won the Southern Region 7s tournament in Timaru on Saturday, beating Tasman 29-27 in the final after pipping Canterbury 21-19 in the semi-final. Runners-up Tasman defeated Mid Canterbury 38-12 in their semi-final. Mid Canterbury has earlier knocked out Southland. The Southern men’s teams heading to Rotorua in January are: Otago, Tasman, Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury. Canterbury won the women’s section, beating Otago 22-17 in their final. The Women’s teams heading to Rotorua are: Canterbury, Otago and Tasman.
The New Zealand Women's Seven's team for the first tournament of the new season at Dubai on 3 and 4 December has been named. There is one new cap in the side with the selection of Niall Williams, sister of All Black Sonny Bill Williams. For more read here
Rugby continues to be the game of choice for significant numbers of New Zealanders. Rugby by the numbers:
The Australian Barbarians beat the New Zealand Heartland XV 40-24 in Wanganui on Friday, to claim their series 2-0. The Australians won the match with an early scoring blitz, running three early tries. They led 33-10 at halftime. The New Zealand Heartland XV fought back in the second half but the damage had been done. The Australians won the first match 38-32 in Masterton.
New Zealand’s Heartland XV opened their three-game programme with a 47-42 win over New Zealand Marist in Masterton on Saturday evening. Up 31-14 at half-time, the Heartland side had to withstand a Marist team who threw caution to the wind in a bid to get back into the game. The New Zealand side meets the Australian Barbarians in Levin on Tuesday and in Wanganui next Saturday. Read more here
When Nehe Milner-Skudder was named World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year, no one was more proud than his Varsity club coach Mike Lalogafau. After all, it was just one year ago that the 24-year-old was running around club rugby under Lalogafau's tutelage Read more here
The following New Zealand players have won awards at the World Rugby awards in London on Monday morning:
ITM Cup Provincial Unions have today chosen their opposition for compulsory crossover match-ups between Premiership and Championship teams in the 2016 ITM Cup competition. The draw wil be made in the coming months. Read more here
Canterbury captured their seventh title in eight years in Christchurch on Saturday night, beating Auckland 25-23 in a tense Premiership final. Canterbury started strong and skipped to an early lead, but Auckland came back and set up a tense finish. Scores: Canterbury 25 (Patrick Osborne, Dominic Bird, Ryan Crotty tries; Tom Taylor 2 pen 2 con) Auckland 23 (Greg Pleasants-Tate, Mitch Karpik tries; Simon Hickey 3 pen 2 con) HT: 19-16
The All Blacks beat South Africa 20-18 in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday. Watch video highlights here
The Wellington Lions were left to lament missing plenty of chances in their last-gasp 25-26 ITM Cup Championship final loss to the Hawke's Bay Magpies on Friday night. The Magpies flew in to score a 78th minute try out wide to fullback Mason Emerson and first five-eighth Ihaia West converted to give them victory and promotion to the Premiership next season. Wellington had led 20-9 late in the first half and 25-19 deep into the second with right wing had scored his second try.
Canterbury rugby fans are gearing up for an epic Canterbury v Auckland bout this Saturday night, to determine the 2015 ITM Cup Premiership winner. Tickets start from just from $16 for adults and $8 for kids, or $20 for one adult and one child with a Fresh Choice Take A Kid To Footy ticket. Meanwhile, the ITM Cup Championship final is between Hawke's Bay and Wellington on Friday night in Napier.
Ma'a Nonu will play his 100th Test this coming weekend when he plays Tonga. Nonu, who made his All Blacks Test debut in 2003, has had 83 Test starts in his stellar career, scored 29 tries and is the most capped All Blacks second five-eighth. He will become the All Blacks sixth Test centurion on Saturday morning (NZT). As well as Nonu's 100th Test match, several other All Blacks will reach milestones this Friday: Owen Franks will play his 75th Test and Samuel Whitelock will play his 70th. Conrad Smith played his 90th Test last week, while Kieran Read played his 80th Test. Read will become the 10th equal most capped All Black of all time this this week (alongside Justin Marshall).
Former All Blacks and overseas-based New Zealand players will honour the late Jerry Collins in a match against European champions Toulon.
They will don the jersey of the Classic All Blacks and take on the French giants in Toulon on Thursday (NZ time).
For more read here
Top qualifier Auckland will host fourth placed Waikato and second placed Wellington will play third placed Counties Manukau in the Women's NPC semi-finals on Saturday 10 October. Venues and times to be confirmed.
Ma'a Nonu (Oriental-Rongotai) is set to play his 100th Test this weekend against Georgia in the Rugby World Cup. Whilst sitting in a cafe in Miramar prior to his trip overseas, Toby Robson penned this fantastic tribute to him. It concludes with: "When all is said and done, Nonu will bow out as the best and most colourful second five-eighth the All Blacks have seen. And that will apply whether he starts in the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup or not." Read more here
SANZAR today unveiled the draw for the 2016 competition which features new teams from Japan, Argentina and South Africa who will compete for a brand new Super Rugby trophy. The new Japanese team will play its historic first game against the Lions on the afternoon of Saturday 27 February in Tokyo which will be the first Super Rugby match played in Japan. The new Argentinian team gets its maiden Super Rugby campaign underway in Bloemfontein that same weekend against the Cheetahs
Several New Zealand teams are playing in Australia's Central Coast Sevens tournament next month. In the Men’s draw, the New Zealand 7s Development, Wellington 7s and the Rangataua (Bay of Plenty club) are competing. The Women’s draw sees the New Zealand 7s Development and New Zealand Wasps teams participating. For more about the tournament read here
All the information required for the New Zealand Schools' Australian tour is here
All games are being livestreamed. Matches and links at:
24th Sept 6:00pm Samoa vs New Zealand - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubB_RXBCJNc
28th Sept 1:00pm Australian Schools Barbarians vs New Zealand - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJxKnHV7F38
28th Sept 3:00pm AUS vs Samoa - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE3qs1JqapE
2nd Oct 4:00pm Australian Schools Barbarians vs Samoa - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS4t86YL5as
2nd Oct 5:45pm Australian Schools v New Zealand Schools - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nQKVLBuPJM
The National U19 Jock Hobbs Memorial Tournament in Taupo runs on 27 and 30 September and 3 October.
The teams contesting this year’s Graham Mourie Cup Premiership (top 8) division are:
Blues: North Harbour (Ranked 1), Auckland A (2)
Chiefs: Waikato (1), Taranaki (2)
Hurricanes: Wellington (1), Manawatu (2)
South Island: Canterbury (1), Otago (2)
The teams contesting this year’s Michael Jones Trophy Championship (bottom 8) division are:
Blues: Northland (3), Auckland B (4)
Chiefs: Counties Manukau (3), Bay of Plenty (4)
Hurricanes: Hawke’s Bay (3), Heartland team (4)
South Island: Tasman (3), Southland (4)
Draws and preview later this week.
Taranaki's ITM Cup team has suffered another injury blow with first five-eighth Marty McKenzie ruled out of the game for up to four months.
A statement by Taranaki rugby said he will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a labral tear in his right hip.
The pivot has suffered from problems in his hip this season, but has managed to play a handful of games.
McKenzie's loss is one of many key play makers who have been ruled out. Lock James Broadhurst suffered from concussion in Taranaki's first match against this season and still hasn't returned and regular captain and fullback James Marshall was ruled out of the season due to suffering a broken toe which needed surgery are just a handful of players who are missing.
The New Zealand Schools and Barbarians Schools teams to face one another in Palmerston North tomorrow have been named. The match, scheduled to kick off at 12.30pm at Palmerston North Boy’s High Schoolon Friday is the first hit-out for both teams this year. Read more here
Former All Blacks and University (Old Boys University) five-eighth and midfielder Ian Uttley has died in a car crash. Uttley played two Testsat centre against England in 1963. Diminutive in size, Uttley had top skills and a keen eye for a gap. Orginially from the South Island, Uttley spent his final year of school at Wellington College and played for Wellington between 1961-65 and again in 1968. He also played for Auckland in 1966 and Bay of Plenty in 1967. Read more
The Junior Wellington Lions and the Junior Hawke's Bay Magpies met in the Hurricanes U19 Seeding Tournament on Saturday. The Wellington side won the match 46-5. Listen to the commentary by going here
Mid Canterbury’s unbeaten run extended to four matches on Saturday with a 36-26 win over West Coast at Rugby Park in Greymouth. Two tries from wing-turned-centre Seta Koroitamana and the accurate boot of first five Ewan Scott proved the difference as the Hammers continued their quest for an unprecedented three-peat. For more read here
Rugby will trial an increase in reward for tries to six points and reducing penalties to two points. The moves come as World Rugby confirms a series of trials for 14 law changes designed to make the game more safe and entertaining. The new points-scoring system will operate first at Australia's National Rugby Championship this year. They will be trialled in the north during the Principality Premiership in Wales which starts this month as well as college rugby in Wales. Next year's Pacific Challenge Cup and Under-20 trophy will also feature this system along with other European competitions. For more read more here
Mid Canterbury are the only unbeaten side after three rounds of the Heartland Championship, after beating King Country 25-17. Read a round-up of the Heartland Championship for 5 September here
Follow the ITM Cup, Women's NPC and Heartland Championship competition by clicking on Draws & Results above. Draws, results, updated standings, teamlists and individual game and point scoring statistics.
Referee Mike Fraser will this weekend reach the milestone of his 100th first class match when he takes to the field at Waikato Stadium for local derby Waikato v Auckland. Fraser will become the 17th referee to reach this milestone. He is off the Rugby World Cup soon, where he will be assistant referee in six pool matches. Read more here
The Moasacar Cup changed hands on Monday when the St Andrew's Second XV defeated the Scots College Second XV in the opening round of the Presbyterian Cup, also involving Lindisfarne and St Kent's Colleges. St Andrews won the match 20-10. Both Scots (Boys) and St Andrew's (Co-ed) will be appearing in the National Top 4 this coming weekend in Rotorua.
Wairarapa-Bush's Heartland championship rugby fixture with North Otago at Memorial Park, Masterton, tonight will have its share of historical significance. It will be the first game in this competition to be played on an artificial turf and, what’s more, it will be under lights with a start time of 7.30pm. Read more here
Vaea Fifita (Wellington Axemen) has been signed by the Hurricanes and by Wellington Rugby for three years - it has been reported. His Super contract runs through to the end of 2018 while he has also signed a two season deal with Wellington and an option for a third, the report suggests. Read more here
The Tasman Rugby Union has confirmed ex-All Blacks hooker and former Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett as its new assistant coach. Hammett, 43, has signed a two-year deal with the union and will join new head coach Leon MacDonald at the helm for Tasman's 2016 national provincial championship campaign. Read more here
Years of photographs and history have gone up in smoke after a suspicious fire destroyed a North Canterbury rugby club building overnight. Firefighters were called to the Glenmark Rugby Football Club rooms at Omihi, about 68 kilometres north of Christchurch, just before 12.30am on Friday. Read more here
Taranaki's ITM Cup side has suffered a massive blow with captain James Marshall ruled out of the rest of the 2015 season.
Marshall fractured his toe during Sunday afternoon's clash with Auckland at Eden Park, which requires surgery.
It's likely the captaincy will be handed over to second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai, who also captains the New Zealand Maori side.
Injuries have been a common occurance for Taranaki so far this season with concussions to Berny Hall, Rhys Marshall and James Broadhurst in the opening round which forced them to miss Sunday's match. However they are expected to be back for this weekend's match against Otago.
The Chiefs regional final and national knock out match between New Plymouth Boys' High School and Rotorua Boys' High School will now be played in Rotorua.
Originally the match was going to be played in New Plymouth on either Friday or Saturday this week, but those suggestions have now been quashed.
The New Plymouth Boys' High School Rugby Facebook page announced the change of venue today.
"We were told we were to get a home game last week and had started to make arrangements. We since have been told this was a mistake. Whilst we are naturally disappointed to not have a home game all attention is focused on our preparation for Saturday" the statement said.
Details on the time of the fixture will be known within the coming days.
New Plymouth made it through to the final stage after beating Wesley College on the weekend and Rotorua upset Hamilton Boys' High School.
St Bede's won the UC Championship on Saturday. Read about their win here
Meads Cup champions Mid Canterbury start their new campaign Saturday afternoon at home in Ashburton taking on neighbouring rivals South Canterbury, while Lochore Cup champions Wanganui head south to Levin to face Horowhenua Kapiti in their 2015 season opener.
In other Week One action, last year’s Meads Cup finalists Buller host King Country in Westport, neighbours East Coast and Poverty Bay square off at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria, North Otago take on the West Coast in Oamaru and Thames Valley and the Wairarapa Bush brush off their cobwebs in Paeroa. The eight-week competition will be followed by semifinals on 17 October, with the Meads Cup and Lochore Cup champions decided on 24 and 25 October respectively.
New Zealand Rugby has tonight congratulated All Blacks captain Richie McCaw (Christchurch FC) on becoming the most capped rugby player in history, playing his 142nd Test. McCaw’s historic milestone was achieved as he captained the All Blacks to a 41-13 Bledisloe Cup victory against the Wallabies at Eden Park. All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen presented McCaw with a specially embroidered All Blacks jersey to commemorate the historic occasion.
The Final of the Central North Island competitiion is today between St Paul's Collegiate, Hamilton and Feilding High School. Top qualifier St Paul's are unbeaten through seven matches, includng ther 30-9 semi-final win over Francis Douglas Memorial College, while Feilding pipped Lindisfarne College 11-10 in their semi-final. St Paul's won 17-13 when they played Feilding during the round-robin.
The ITM Cup started on Thursday night with a 23-23 draw between the Southland Stags and Auckland in Invercargill. The visitors got away to an early lead, but the Stags pulled it back late in the first half and throuhgout the second.
Follow the 2015 ITM Cup, and Heartland Championship and Women's NPC competitions by bookmarking the Draws & Results link above.
To contribute with news, stories and match reports please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 027 4897999. This is currently a volunteer website and we welcome all solicited and unsolicited content.
A large contingent of the Manu Samoan squad named this week for the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be well known to New Zealand rugby audiences, with several having played Super Rugby and several more at ITM Cup and club rugby level. The squad is: Forwards: Viliamu Afatia, Jake Grey, Logovii Mulipola, Anthony Perenise, Sakaria Taulafo, Wayne Ole Avei, Ma'atulimanu Leiataua, Motu Matu'u, Faatiga Lemalu, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Thompson, Iosefa (Joe) Tekori, Maurie Faasavalu, Alafoti Faosiliva, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam, Vavae Tuilagi, Ofisa Treviranus (captain). Backs: Vavao Afemai, Kahn Fotualii, Patrick Fa'apale, Tusiata Pisi, Mike Stanley, Rey Lee-Lo, Johnny Leota, George Pisi, Paul Perez, Fa'atoina Autagavaia, Ken Pisi, Tim Nanai-Williams, Alesana Tuilagi (vice-captain) Read more here
The Napier Pirates have beaten Havelock North to win the Hawke's Bay Maddison Trophy. With scores locked up at 16-16, Pirates goal-kicker David Neilson stepped up to win the match with the last play of the game. The final score was 19-16. Pirates had led 13-10 at halftime.
Long serving All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes is stepping aside from the captaincy of the team he has been a key part of since 2006. His decision aimed to ensure he was in the best possible shape to help his chances of being selected for the New Zealand Sevens team that will compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.“I've had an awesome run with this team and this is just a change of guard. My key focus is on getting my body to 100 per cent and by stepping aside from the responsibilities of captain I can focus solely on what I need to do to get in the best shape mentally and physically. Titch and I agree this is the best way to get me to the Olympics. Sevens Rugby coming soon here - to join Club Rugby and College Rugby.
Nehe Milner-Skudder will make his Test debut on the right wing on Saturday against Australia. He is one of a number of changes to the All Blacks side which beat South Africa in Johannesburg last week. Julian Savea is back on the left wing and will play his first Test of 2015, with Ben Smith moving to fullback. Sonny Bill Williams is at 12, while Daniel Carter is back at first five-eighth for his 105th Test match. In the run-on forward pack, Jerome Kaino comes in at blindside flanker while Luke Romano comes in at lock. There are just two changes to the bench, with Nepo Laulala providing tighthead prop cover and Sam Cane coming in to cover the loose forwards.
A good chat with Rotorua Boys' High School's Isaac Te Aute ahead of this coming weekend's Super 8 First XV final between defending national co-champions Hamilton Boys' High School and Rotorua Boys' HS. Read more here
An interesting post by our firends over on College Sport Media asking if there's merit in selecting a New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby team. At least a paper selection - although there's sure to be opposition they could play. Read more here
Paraparaumu won the 2015 Horowhenua Kapiti Ramsbottom Cup final at Levin Domain on Saturday, beating rivals Waikanae 12-9. The final was decided on penalties, with neither side able to cross the other's tryline. It was 6-6 at halftime.
The Wairarapa Bush club rugby final is on Saturday, between Greytown and Gladstone at Memorial Park, Masterton. Read a preview here
Canterbury defeated Wellington 50-33 in an ITM Cup pre-season match at Rugby League Park in Wellingotn today. Canterbury were far too clinical for Wellington, racing to a 28-7 halftime lead. The home side played better in the second half, but Canterbury pulled clear.
Bay of Plenty Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named a side which holds a mixture of experience and youth for their first pre-season game against Auckland tomorrow at Whakatane’s Rugby Park. The side features eleven new caps, but also includes All Black Sam Cane who has been released to play prior to his anticipated return to All Black duty. McMillan states, “The team has come together well over the last few months and I expect an encouraging performance. Whilst a positive result in the pre-season fixture would be favourable, I am more interested in achieving the small goals we have set in the lead up to the ITM Cup, and to see some individual and collective intent in everything we do.” Culum Retallick and Carl Axtens will co-captain tomorrow's Steamers team, kicking off at 2.30pm
The Canterbury squad to contest the 2015 ITM Cup includes seven uncapped players. Cameron McIntyre rejoins the squad after nine years playing abroad, whilst Luke Whitelock is the captain. Canterbury will play two pre-season games, against Wellington and Counties Manukau ,both away. Read more here
Lincoln University beat Christchurch 24-19 on Sunday to claim the 2015 Canterbury Metro Division 1 Championship Hawkins Trophy. Lincoln led 12-0 at halftime. Lincoln also won the first round competition and completed an unbeaten season (one draw). In other Finals results, High School Old Boys defeated Sumner 65-7 to win the Plate and Linwood beat Burnside 42-41 to claim the Bowl honours.
Auckland were too good against Taranaki in the first ITM Cup pre-season match for both teams in Te Awamutu today.
Taranaki, who fielded a development team given most of the Super players are still on leave commitments, went down 22-8 with the amber and blacks only able to score one try to fullback Jackson Ormond.
There were positive displays by forwards Caleb Mawson, Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier and Toa Halafihi. The backed struggled to put anything together and made plenty of mistakes in the first half. The second spell looked a bit more promising for Taranaki but Auckland snuck through for a few easy tries.
Their next pre-season match is against Counties Manukau on Otrohonga next weekend.
Several ITM Cup and Heartland unions are holding their club rugby finals today. Club Rugby will carry a written round-up of these on Sunday, including an extended report on the Auckland Gallaher Shield final. To contribute with news and information or photos please email email@example.com .
New Plymouth Boys' High School have made it three wins from three matches in the Super 8 competition beating Napier Boys' High School 41-12.
New Plymouth play Rotorua away next weekend and Napier play Plamerston North in the Polson Banner clash on Wednesday.
Meanwhile Francis Douglas Memorial College suffered a loss to Fielding High School 64-12 in Feilding.
Francis Douglas didn't start well at all being down 36 points in the first 20 minutes.
This weekend Te Puke Sports will not want to fall short at the final hurdle against a structured and determined Tauranga Sports side. Tauranga Sports on the other hand have stepped up a gear following their only loss of the season and will be out to upset the home crowd favourites and triumph where it counts.The final is being played at Murray Salt Stadium, kick off at 2.45pm. The two clubs also meet in the Baywide Development final in the curtain-raiser at 12.30pm.
Mid Canterbury challenges the Hawke's Bay Magpies for the Ranfurly Shield at McLean Park in Napier on Thursday night. Hawke's Bay have already repelled challenges from Heartland unions Wairarapa-Bush and Horowhenua-Kapiti, so this is the first crack by a South Island team this season.
New Plymouth Old Boys' and new Taranaki halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has signed a two year contract with the Hurricanes.
The 20 year old, born in Rotorua, has played in Taranaki for the last two seasons and has had a successful year with both the New Zealand U20 championship team and his club, who recently won the Taranaki club rugby premier final.
“I’m looking forward to learning from TJ and the other halfbacks. To mix and mingle with all of the players and coaching staff as well is going to be great for my growth as a player and person, so I can’t wait" he said.
Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland worked with Tahuriorangi during the U20 campaign and said he is a huge prospect for the future.
It's finals day today in the Manawatu, with four championships decided, including the top three men's grades and women's competition. In the final of the Senior 1 Hankins Shield, defending champions and top qualifier College Old Boys take on second placed Kia Toa. Read more here
The 2015 Waikato club rugby final is between defending champions Hamilton Marist and University. Read all about it here
The 2015 Galbraith Shield Southland Premier final is tomorrow, between Star and Marist. The teams have met twice this year, with one win apiece. Read more here
Hawke's Bay again put the Ranfurly Shield on the line when they host Horowhenua-Kapiti at McLean Park tonight, kick-off at 7.35pm.
A 32-man Waikato squad has been named ahead of the upcoming 2015 ITM Cup season. The squad features eight uncapped players with 24 returning from last year's campaign. Waikato will look forward to the influence of several Super Rugby players filtering back into the side including newly capped All Black Brad Weber, fellow Chiefs Ben Tameifuna, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown, and Josh Hohneck - fresh from his Super Rugby title win with the Highlanders. Read more here
The Northland Taniwha ITM Cup squad has been announced, featuring 13 new faces. For more read here
There were a series of U18 Super Rugby matches played around New Zealand on Monday, following camps last week. The Blues and Chiefs each ran two U18 squads in back-to-back hit outs at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton. The Blues 'Blue' team beat the first Chiefs side 27-12 and the Blues 'White' team defeated the other Chiefs side 41-3. In Blenheim, the Junior Hurricanes ran through the Crusaders Squires 61-17, after scores had been tied up at 17-17 at halftime.
There are 10 new players in the Counties Manukau Steelers ITM Cup squad, building for their season opener on 16 August against Manawatu. Read more here
The Māori All Blacks team to play Fiji in Suva on Saturday features two sets of brothers in the starting fifteen and nine new caps in total. Charlie Ngatai will captain the side.The new caps include the Ioane brothers, Akira and Rieko, and Tawera Kerr-Barlow who is returning from a long injury enforced break.Chiefs back Damian McKenzie will also make his debut at fullback alongside his brother Marty, making for a rare set of four brothers in the Maori All Blacks jersey.There are also six players from the Hurricanes and Highlanders who appeared in Saturday’s Investec Super Rugby final.
The Taranaki Rugby Football Union has passed their thoughts onto Craig Norgate's family after the passing of a man who was a passionate Taranaki rugby supporter and advocate. In a statement the TRFU said they are deeply saddened and shocked at the passing of Norgate.
Taranaki Rugby benefited greatly from having Norgate as a co-opted director from 2004 to 2013. He had an ability to analyse situations and to come up with the appropriate strategy.
He was also heavily involved in the community being the deputy chairman of Port Taranaki and former CEO of Fonterra
Norgate died in London on Tuesday (NZT) he was 50.
The TRFU Board asked that a minute silence is observed to honour Norgate ahead of this weekend's club semi-finals.
Hawke's Bay puts the Ranfurly Shield on the line for the first time this year on Thursday against Wairarapa-Bush. Kick-off 2.35pm at McLean Park, Napier.
The Highlanders defeated the Hurricanes 21-14 in Saturday night's Super Rugby final at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Read the report and match reaction at the Super Rugby website
In a much anticpated clash, the two unbeaten sides in Bay of Plenty's Baywide competiton clash today. The match between Tauranga Sports on 45 points andn home team Te Puke Sports on 42 is much anticpated. Te Puke are playing in special pink jerseys to raise funds for breast cancer research. In other matches today,third placed Mount Maunganui (35) have a key match against sixthplaced Greerton Marist, with Rotoiti (32) and Whakarewarewa (29) both expected to win at home against minnows.
Spotswood United and Chiefs midfield pair Seta Tamanivalu and Charlie Ngatai have been included in the All Black squad for the one-off Samoa test next week.
The selection comes after All Black management made a call not to use players used by the Hurricanes and Highlanders Super Rugby final, taking out several All Black players.
However the opportunity for Tamanivalu and Ngatai to wear the black jersey is welcomed by Taranaki rugby followers with over 850 people 'liking' or commenting on the announcement via the Taranaki Rugby's Facebook page.
The selection sees Taranaki's representative in the squad move to five.
Nelson College took out this year’s Quadrangular Tournament, beating host school Wellington College 6-3 in an absorbing final. Played in fine, cool conditions, both sides showed plenty of endeavour but execution let each side down and Nelson won on penalties. In the early game, Christ’s College defeated Wanganui Collegiate 22-0, after taking a 3-0 lead into halftime. Monday’s opening games saw Nelson College beat Wanganui Collegiate 30-7 and Wellington College defeat Christ’s College 36-8
A pair of gumboots and a foldaway chair were placed behind the dead ball line at Tompkins Park in Perth, as Norm Berryman's former club paid tribute to the ex-All Black.Players from Wanneroo Districts Rugby Club - where he coached age-group teams for several years - also observed a minute's silence before the kick-off to Saturday's defeat at Palmyra. Berryman's funeral is on Wednesday. Read more here
The 2015 Super Rugby final will be an all New Zealand affair at Westpac Stadium in Wellington next week between the home side the Hurricanes and visitors the Highlanders after both combined brawn with brains in beating Australian teams in their semi-finals. The Hurricanes beat the best defensive team in the competition, the Brumbies, four tries to nil, 29-9 at home, while the Highlanders engineered a second half rugby clinic to beat the Waratahs 35-17 in Sydney. Ticket details to follow.
Defending Poverty Bay champions Pirates face a big match this Saturday against OBM. Win and they'll still be in the race for the championship title, lose and their season will be over. Pirates, who are rebuilding this season after the loss of much of their 2014 squad require nothing less than a bonus point win to stay in the race. Read more here
In a game of two halves, The Bay of Plenty Wasps held off a resilient Counties Manukau Cavaliers side to win 29-19 in a represenative match on Wednesday night. The Wasps side 19 unanswered points in the first half; tries to wingers Brynn Uriarau and Jonah Bainavalu, with openside Zak Hohneck driving over the line. They led 26-0 at halftime. The Counties Cavaliers’ Cardiff Vaega led the charge dotting over the line early in the second half, with team mate Piers Francis successfully converting. It was the start of the Cavaliers comeback going onto score 19 unanswered points.However the Wasps’s had the final say of the match when they were awarded a penalty out in front, Dan Hollinshead successfully converting their only points of the second half. The BoP Steamers and Counties Manukau ITM Cup squads will be named in the coming weeks.
View this video by World Rugby summing up the World U20 Championship, won over the weekend by the Junior All Blacks
Tana Umaga (Petone) has been named as the new Blues Head Coach. Former All Blackcs captain Umaga said it was an honour to take up the role with the Blues.“I am excited at the opportunity and of course understand there’s a big challenge ahead for us all,” said Umaga. “I know there are a lot of very good players signed on and I look forward to working with them. There’s no quick fix to turn things around. It is going to take a lot of very hard work which will be my focus. I want to let our performances on the field do the talking.”
Former Northland, Crusaders and All Black mid-fielder Norm Berryman has died of a heart attack in Perth this week. Berryman, won the old Super 12 title with the Crusaders and played one Test for the All Blacks against South Africa in 1998. 'Stormin Nornam' played 30 matches for the Crusaders. Read more here
The Hurricanes will host the Brumbies in Wellington and the Waratahs will welcome the Highlanders to Sydney in the two Super Rugby semi-finalst next Saturday night. The two winners of the Semi-finals will progress to the final and the highest ranked team will host the 2015 Super Rugby final. In the knock-out matches this weekend, the Highlanders ousted the Chiefs 24-14 and the Brumbies defeated the Stormers 39-19.
New Zealand have ended England's reign as U20 world champions with a 21-16 victory in the final on Sunday morning (NZT). The Junior All Blacks recovered from a early deficit to to run in two tries, to Vince Aso and Akira Ioane. New Zealand led 11-10 at halftme. The win marks New Zealand's first U20 success in four years, while denying England were gunning for their third straight win. South Africa beat France in the third-fourth place match.
The 41-man All Blacks squad to play Samoa, the Rugby Championship and the Bledlisloe Test against Australia has been named. Read about it here
The New Zealand team for the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship against England in Cremona, Italy, on Sunday Morning has been selected. The final kicks off on Sky Sport at 6.23am on Sunday morning NZT. Read the team announcement by our good friends at New Zealand Rugby here
Sir John Kirwan has resigned his role as head coach of the Blues. Kirwan, who has been head coach for three years, has today announced that he will not seek reappointment for a further term as coach and will step aside, effective immediately. Reports suggest that Tana Umaga will take over the role.
Jerry Collins was farewelled in his hometown of Porirua today. Read More Here
The Junior All Blacks will meet England in the final of the U20 World Championship in Italy after New Zealand beat France 45-7 in one semi-final and England defeated South Africa 28-20 in the other. Read more here
Four notable results today: Christchurch Boys' High School 34 - Wellington College 25; St Andrews 31 - Timaru Boys' High School 10; Otago Boys' High School 36 - Christs College 7; Rathkeale College 21 - Wanganui Collegiate 21
The Super Rugby playoffs start next weekend with the Highlanders and the Chiefs meeting under the roof in Dunedin, ahead of the Brumbies facing South African Conference champions, the Stormers. By finishing the regular season as the competition's two highest-ranked conference winners, the Hurricanes (66 points, 14 wins) and the Waratahs (52 points, 11 wins) have the week off and progress straight to the Super Rugby Semi-Finals. Read more here
The competiiton leaders in the Auckland, Wellington and Crusaders region First XV competitions could collecetively be 18 from 18 after this Saturday's round-robin matches. St Kent's in Auckland will be gunning to make it six from six. against mid-table Dilworth, Scots College in Wellington will be playing for their fourth straight win. against newcomers Wairarapa College. and Christchurch Boys' High School's supporters will fancy their team winning their eighth straight match when they take on winless Roncalli College.
Former Northern United captain and All Black Jerry Collins is to be farewelled at a public funeral service in Porirua next week.Jerry's manager and Collins family spokesperson Tim Castle said Jerry's funeral service would be held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua at 10.00AM next Wednesday 17 June and members of the public were welcome to attend. Mr Castle said Jerry's body will be accompanied home to New Zealand over the next few days by a small group, including his cousin and fellow former All Black Tana Umaga and dear friends former All Black Chris Masoe and his wife Gemma and Stevenson Malotu'upule. Following the funeral service at Te Rauparaha Arena, Jerry will be buried in a ceremony for extended family and friends.
The New Zealand U20s have beaten Ireland 25-3 in this morning's World Championship U20 knockout fixture and will face France in the semi-finals. South Africa will play defending champions England in the other after they dispatched Australia 46-13. Follow the tournament news here
Last year's NZ Secondary Schools halfback Sam Nock has inked a three-year deal with the Blues. Out of Northland, Nock was a member of the St Kent's First XV last year. Read more here
St Kentigern College and Auckland Grammar School are the two unbeaten First XVs after five completed rounds of the Auckland 1A competition. After rattling on almost 250 points in their opening four games, St Kent's worked hard to beat St Peter's College 19-14. AGS beat MAGS 27-20.
In the Mainland competition, Christchurch Boys' HS are out in front after beating Marlborough BC 41-17 for their seventh straight victory. St Andrew's College are six from six after beating strugglers Roncalli College 80-5. In Wellington, Scots College are the leaders afer three rounds, defending the Moascar Cup against St Pat's Silverstream, 16-12.
The NZ U20s second match of the Junior World Championship against Argentina is being played at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano and kicks off on Saturday 6 June at 6.30pm local time (Sunday 7 June, 4.30am NZT)). It will be broadcast live on SKY Sports 2 from 4.23am NZT. Following this, their third match is agaisnt Ireland on Thursday morning (NZT).
Nelson Bays sides Waimea Old Boys and Wanderers are set to meet in next week's Tasman Trophy decider, but before that the Nelson and Marlborough sub-unions revert to their local competitions this weekend. Unbeaten Waimea play Marist at Trafalglar Park and Wanderers meet Stoke, whom they drew 27-27 with last time they met before winning their next eight matches. Read more here
All Blacks and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles has become the third player to commit long-term to New Zealand Rugby (NZR), with the front rower re-signing with the national union and his Investec Super Rugby team through to 2019.
The deal is further good news for New Zealand Rugby and follows last week's announcement that his Hurricanes' teammate Julian Savea and Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick had signed four-year deals with NZR.
The Black Ferns squad to tour Canada has been named this morning. The Black Ferns will play Canada, USA and England in the international series from 27 June to 5 July. The squad is:
FORWARDS: Toka Natua (Wai), Fiao'o Fa'amausili (Auck), Aleisha Nelson (Auck) Eloise Blackwell (Auck)Charmaine Smith (NH), Charlene Halapua (Auck), Justine Lavea (CM), Linda Itunu (Auck), Aldora Itunu (Auck), Sita Kuruyabaki (Mana), Teresa Te Tamaki (Wai), Rebekah Tufuga (Mana), Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (CM), Angie Sisifa (Otago) BACKS: Kendra Cocksedge (Cant), Victoria Subritzky-NafatalI (CM), Chelsea Alley (NH), Stacey Waaka (Wai), Keri Hayden (Mana), Honey Hireme (Wai), Selica Winiata (Mana), Renee Wickliffe (CM), Kiritapu Demant (Auck), Emma Jensen (Auck), Arihana Marino (CM), Janna Vaughan (Mana).
The U20 World Rugby Championship runs from 2-20 June. Follow the tournament here
The Wellington XV defeated Wairarapa-Bush 53-3 in their pre-season Jimmy Cotter Memorial Cup match in Masterton tonight. The Wellington selection out-scored the home team 7 tries to nil, leading 24-3 at halftime. Scoring (unofficial): Max Pearson 2, Wes Goosen, Tu Umaga-Marshall, Vaea Fifita, Johnny Bentley, TBC 2 tries Jackson Garden-Bachop 3con; TBC 2 con.
Queen’s Birthday Monday Senior 1 club rugby hits the Manawatu today with a round of matches. Leaders College Old Boys take on Freyberg at Arena Manawatu, Varsity host Feilding Old Boys Oroua at Massey, Linton host Kia Toa and Feilding meet Te Kawau at Johnston Park. Old Boys Marist has the bye. Round 13 kicks off at 2.45pm.
Tauranga Sports and Te Puke Sports are both hoping to extend their winning runs in the fifth round of the BayWide Premier club rugby competition on Saturday. Tauranga meet winless Waikite away, while Te Puke have a tough assignment against Whakarewarewa, who have won three and lost one. Fifth round matches are: Whakarewarewa vs Te Puke; Paroa vs Greerton Marist; Rotoiti vs Opotiki; Te Puna vs Mt Maunganui; Waikite vs Tauranga Sports; Whakatane Marist vs Rangataua.
Stuff reports that racial taunts and violent threats have reduced foreign players in the Cantebury community competition to tears after games Follow the article link here
Julian "the Bus" Savea has today re-signed with the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby through to the end of 2019, joining a number of Hurricanes’ backline players who have already re-signed.
Following his 2011 debut against the Highlanders in Wellington, Savea has gone on to play 67 matches for the Hurricanes. He has accumulated 145 points in the process, making him one of the club’s most prolific try-scorers of recent times.
New Zealand Rugby has confirmed they will be sending a “New Zealand Development Team” to compete at the annual Central Coast Sevens International Rugby Festival in Australia over the weekend of the 24th and 25th October. Tietjens the World Rugby Hall of Fame Coach was a guest at the 2014 tournament in which Wellington finished runner-up, labeling the Central Coast event “first class” and openly stating his desire to bring a team to challenge at the tournament.
The first phase of the new-look Auckland Premier club rugby competition is decided today, with the seventh and final round of the White Pool and Blue Pool series. Just Grammar TEC and University are assured of places at the top table for the second round, with eight clubs vying for the remaining six places.?Read more here
Waikato has named a 30-player Wider Training Squad to prepare to this year's ITM Cup campaign from August to October. The squad is minus Super Rugby, New Zealand U20 or All Black Sevens players. Eighteen of the 30 players have yet to play for Waikato. For more read here
Fiji have won the World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time since 2006 after defeating South Africa in the London Sevens quarterfinals. ?New Zealand lost 21-17 in the Cup quarterfinals to home side England, going ont to claim the Plate with a 26-14 win over South Africa.?Read more here
The final round of the 2014/15 World Rugby Sevens series is this weekend in London, with New Zealand (on 139 series points) fighting it out with Fiji (147) and South Africa (142) to take the tiitle.?The defending series champions, NZ, ideally need to win in London, they would then need Fiji to be knocked out at the Cup quarter-final stages and hope South Africa is then eliminated in the semi-finals. Read more here?
With the first round of club rugby completed and College Old Boys having won the Jubilee Cup for the second season, the Manawatu Evening Standard rates the teams' chances ahead of the Hankins Shield starting this weekend with the round-robin running through to 4 July (ridiculously early if you miss the cut, but representative rugby is king and stock-standard club players are asked to hit the beach early and come back early next year).?Read more here
Update: Marlborough Boys' College?beat?Nelson College 20-5 in their?top-of-the-south UC Championship and Traditional First XV fixture on Thursday. It was the first meeting of the sides since Nelson College ended MBC's season after an enthralling semi-final in August last year. Nelson College prevailed 25-23 at Trafalgar Park in Nelson and advanced to the Press Cup final. The match kicks off at 12.15pm at Nelson College.?Read a preview here
View video highlights of the the New Zealand U20s 46-29 win over the Australia U20s in the final of the Oceania U20 Junior Championship on the Gold Coast on Saturday here?
There's still a fortnight to play in the first round Challenge Cup cometition, but the top eight sides for the upcoming Premier McNamara Cup have already been confirmed in Counties Manukau club rugby.?Read more here
Auckland rugby has released its no expenses spared Auckland Premier 1A video highlights package for the seocnd round set of matches played on Saturday. View here?
Great article about Napier Technical Reserve Grade prop Rapture Falefata, who took the field last weekend with his prosthetic limb, the result of a birth defect. Follow the story here
The NZ U20 team to face Australia in their final match of the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship tomorrow, is: Ricky Riccitelli, Steven Misa, Isileli Tu’ungafasi, Geoffrey Cridge, Hamish Dalzel, Mitchell Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Blake Gibson, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Mitchell Hunt, Nathaniel Apa, Tinoai TJ Faiane, Anton Lienert-Brown (captain), Vincent Tavae-Aso, Luteru Laulala. Reserves: Liam Polwart, Tom Hill, Tau Koloamatangi, Josh Goodhue, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Campbell, Fletcher Smith, Jack GoodhueThe match at 5:00pm NZT. The NZ squad to compete in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy in June, will be named early next week. Matches are being livestreamed on?www.oceaniarugby.com
This weekend will mark the clash of the Western and Central Bay of Plenty local round winners when Tauranga Sports and Rotoiti clash in the feature match of the second round of the Baywide Premier competition. Games are:
UPDATED: NZ won this contest 36-14. The New Zealand Under 20 team to play Samoa in their second match of the Oceania Under 20 Championship agasint Japan on Tuesday, kick-off 3.00 pm (NZT), has been named: 1. Ricky Riccitelli , 2. Liam Polwart, 3. Tau Koloamatangi, 4. Josh Goodhue, 5. Jamie Lane, 6. Mitchell Dunshea, 7. Dillon Hunt, 8. Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 9. Luke Campbell, 10. Fletcher Smith,11. Nathaniel Apa ,12. Jonathan Fa’auli , 13. Anton Linert-Brown, 14. Wes Goosen, 15. Geoff Bridge. Reserves: 16. Steven Misa , 17. Tom Hill, 18. Atunaisa Moli , 19. Geoff Cridge, 20. Mitchell Jacobson, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi , 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Sean Wainui
The New Zealand U20s beat Japan 75-0 in their Oceania Tournamnt opener on the Gold Coast on Saturday. The side meets Samoa on Tuesday and Australia next Saturday. Read a match report?here?
New Plymouth Old Boys' halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has been named to start in New Zealand U20's opening match at the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship against Japan.
However the match was due to be played yesterday but due to the weather on the Gold Coast, the game has been postponed until today (Saturday 2 May).
Gale force wind and heavy rain made playing conditions difficult and player welfare was in question.
Tournament Director Wayne Schuster said the decision to postpone the matches had full agreement by all involved. ?
UPDATE: Adverse weather and torrential rain forced a postponement of this match from Friday to Saturday. The New Zealand Under 20 team to play Japan in their first match of the Oceania Under 20 Championship agasint Japan today, has been named: 1. Tom Hill, 2. Leni Apisai, 3. Atunaisa Moli ?, 4. Geoffrey Cridge, 5. Hamish Dalzell, 6. Mitchell Jacobson, 7. Mitchell Karpik, 8. Blake Gibson, 9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 10. Otere Black (VC),11. Sean Wainui,12. Tinoai (TJ) Faiane, 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Vincent Tavae-Aso, 15. Luteru Laulala. Reserves: 16. Liam Polwart, 17. Ricky Riccitelli, 18. Isileli Tu'uangafasi, 19. Mitchell Dunshea, 20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21. Luke Campbell, 22. Anton Lienert- Brown, 23. Mitchell Hunt.
The New Zealand U20s tackle Japan tomorrow at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Some more details about what the squad are up can be?read here
The Hurricanes Development Typhoons side plays the Chiefs Development on Thursday night to mark the opening of Trust House Memorial Park’s $2.1million artificial turf in Masterton. It is thought to be the first professional rugby match to be played on artificial turf, in New Zealand. This match will also mark the end of the Hurricanes Development, the Typhoons having lost to the Crusader Knights in their first match, then beating the Chiefs and Blues more recently.
Due to duck shooting season, the Southland Premier Galbraith Shield matches are being on Thursday night this week. Games are:
The All Blacks Sevens team to play the final two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15 has been named. The team plays at the Glasgow Sevens (9, 10 May) then London (16, 17 May).The team is: Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Dylan Collier, Sam Dickson, Gillies Kaka, DJ Forbes (C)?Reiko Ioane, Tim Mikkelson, Sherwin Stowers, Beaudein Waaka, Joe Webber, Sam Vaka
Taradale wing?Uta Tupuola scored his side's winning try and marker Jason Shoemark's 50th match for the club by scoring the match-winning try in their 17-16 win over Napier Old Boys Marist on Saturday. This was their fifth straight win. Read the full Hawke's Bay Premier club round-up?here?
In round seven of the Dunedin competition, Southern again found themselves in a top of the?table clash, this time against defending champions ?Taieri. Alhambra Union took their opportunities and the points with an 18-6 win over Green Island (see Photos above to view a gallery of this match by Caswell Images). In other results University A beat Zingari Richmond 33-32, Harbour beat Pirates 47-8 and ninth placed Kaikorai upset third placed Dunedin with a 22-18 at Kettle Park. In the match of the round, Southern maintain their perfect record with a 22-11 victory of Taieri.
Hamilton Girls' High School head to Japan on Sunday to contest the Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament, and hope to bring home a world title. The under-19 competition is one of only two world youth tournaments sanctioned by World Rugby. Host nation Japan will have four teams compete in the tournament, alongside Hamilton Girls High School, Australia's Brisbane State High School, Canada's Robert Bateman Secondary School and Hong Kong Sports School. Read the Waikato Times article here?
The New Zealand Universities side have arrived in Japan determined to fly the flag and uphold the best traditions of scarfie rugby.?The NZU flew out late on Wednesday night after a meet and greet assembly in Auckland. Read the New Zealand Herald article?here
The Crusaders have set up the first New Zealand rugby academy aligned with a Super Rugby team. Replacing the former Canterbury Rugby and Tasman Rugby Academies, the Crusaders Academy will have two bases, one in Christchurch and one in Nelson. There are currently 44 players training in the Crusaders Academy, 16 of those based in Tasman and 28 based in Canterbury. There are also 10 players in the Apprentice Academy in Christchurch, and a similar apprentice group is planned for Tasman in the future.
Lincoln University and New Brighton were both pushed but remained unbeaten while University overhauled a 24-point deficit in an 11-try thriller to help them cement their place in Christchurch club rugby's top six in Premier rugby on Saturday. For more?read here
New Zealand has won the Canada Sevens, cementing their dominance in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and securing their qualification for the Rio Olympics after beating Russia 29-10 in the Final today. The side remained unbeaten to continue their command of the event and the success will allow coach Sean Horan to apply a different focus for the last two rounds in London and Amsterdam as opposed to a 'preparation' focus that has been the feature so far.
Watch here?Maniototo defeat Wakatipu 76 - 3 on Saturday 18 April in Central Otago club rugby.
Jeremy Thrush is living proof that good things come to those who wait. The big lock may have mellowed over the years, but his passion for the Hurricanes hasn't changed ahead of his 100th match for the club. Read more?
The Bay of Plenty Premier club rugby Baywide competition gets underway on 2 May. Tauranga Sports are gunning for their fifth straight win to start the season in the Western BoP competition today against Te Puna.?Read more?
To view the video try scoring highlights of the third round of Taranaki Premier rugby on Saturday 11 April sit back and watch here?
To view video highlights an exciting match between Marist St Pat's and Petone from yesterday's fourth round set of Swindale Shield fixtures in Wellington?go here?
The Wairarapa Bush Bush Senior 1st club rugby competition starts this weekend with a full round of matches?here
The NZ Women’s Sevens team for the fourth leg of World Rugby's Women’s Sevens Series in Canada to be held 18-19 April was named today. There are three changes from the side that won in Atlanta last month, including the return of forwards Carla Hohepa, Charlotte Scanlan and Gayle Broughton. After winning the first three rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai, Sao Paulo and Atlanta, the team will be looking to win their fourth straight tournament. The team is: Honey Hireme (Wai), Carla Hohepa (Wai), Hazel Tubic (Auck), Charlotte Scanlan (Auck), Sarah Goss (Captain, Mana), Gayle Broughton (Tara), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auck), Kelly Brazier (BoP), Michaela Blyde (Tara), Selica Winiata, (Mana), Portia Woodman (Auck), Kayla McAlister (Auck),
New Zealand will have four match officials at this year's Rugby World Cup, headed by referees Chris Pollock and Glen Jackson. Mike Fraser has gained an assistant referee's role while Ben Skeen will be used for TMO duties. World Rugby's 12-man referee panel for the tournament in England starting on September 18 is an experienced group with 361 tests between them. For more?read here
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is in the black for the third year in a row after announcing a profit of $373,000 for the 2014 financial year. Cash reserves are $62.6 million and ITM Cup Unions recorded their third successive combined surplus. NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said the result was pleasing. “It’s very satisfying to have matched another great year on the field with a solid performance off it which means we face the future with continued confidence.”NZR’s revenue in 2014 rose $4m to $120.8m.
Southern have set a cracking pace in Dunedin Premier club rugby, winning their fourth straight match to start the season on Easter Monday. Southern beat Green Island 40-17, after leading 26-0 at halftime. Other fourth round results saw defending champions Taieri beating Zingari-Richmond 57-24, Harbour defeat Kaikorai 57-17 and Alhambra-Union oust Pirates 39-23. In the round's close result, Dunedin defeated University A 24-23 in a thriller. Photo credit above:?John Caswell
Pukekohe won their fourth straight match to start the Counties-Manukau Premier club rugby season on Saturday, defeating mid-table Onewhero 50-29. Bombay, Karaka and Ardmore Marist are all behind with three wins from four in the Challenge Cup competition. Results over Easter were: Waiuku 42 – Papakura 0; Ardmore Marist 20 - Manurewa 14; Bombay 65 - Drury 3; Karaka 32 - Patumahoe 13; Pukekohe 50 – Onewhero 29; Te Kauwhata 50 – Weymouth 10. Points after four rounds: Pukekohe 18, Bombay and Karaka 15, Ardmore Marist 14, Waiuku 12, Onewhero 12, Manurewa 10, Te Kauwhata 9, Papakura 9, Patumahoe 6, Drury 0, Weymouth 0?
Defending champions College Old Boys came back from an 8-10 halftime deficit to beat Varsity 29-10 in their feature Good Friday Manawatu Senior 1 clash. Old Boys Marist defeated Freyberg 50-7, Feilding beat Feilding Old Boys Oroua 24-17 and Linton Army defeated Te Kawau 27-18 in the other two clashes of the round. The next round is on Easter Monday.?
Melville made it four from four to start the season in Waikato Premier club rugby on Good Friday. Melville beat University 41-3 to hold a 4-pt lead at the top of the standings to second placed Otorohanga who over-ran United Matamata Sports 62-22, and Hautapu who slipped to third place with a 20-23 defeat to Te Awamutu. In two other close matches, defending champions Hamilton Marist beat Morrinsville Sports 22-17 and Hamilton Old Boys beat Fraser Tech 20-19. Round 5 is on Easter Monday.
Club Rugby was played on Good Friday in Taranaki and Hawke's Bay - to view results visit our regional websites by clicking on the map of New Zealand to the rigth of this page.?
The 29th Club Rugby Player of the Year competition is underway in Premier Marlborough rugby. Each week points are awarded on a 3-2-1 basis to players from Marlborough sides in the division one competition. When two Marlborough sub-union sides meet, points are shared between the two sides, in cross-over matches with Nelson opposition only the Marlborough side is allocated points. The previous five winners have been: Vernon Fredericks (Moutere); 2011 - Vernon Fredericks (Waitohi); 2012 - Hayden Cripps (Harlequins); 2013 - Johnny Hope (Harlequins); 2014 - Brandyn Laursen (Harlequins). For more read here??
The 2015 Northland Southern Districts Premiers competition starts this week, with Mid Western and the Western Sharks getting underway under lights on Thursday night, defending champions Hora Hora and Wellsford meeting in a replay of last year’s final on Friday afternoon, followed by the remaining first round matches on Saturday. Matches are: Mid Western v Western Sharks (Thursday); Hora Hora v Wellsford (Friday); Hikurangi v Mid Northern; Kamo v Otamatea; Old Boys Marist v Waipu (all Saturday).?
The Auckland 1A Premier First XV competition is the most hotly contested in the country. 1st XV TV is an online streaming service that will highlight Auckland 1st XV rugby to supporters in New Zealand and around the world. The project will see one match streamed live on the Auckland Rugby website every Saturday of the competition, with highlights of all other games in a weekly highlights show. ?Photo credit For more information read here?
A 25-strong NZ Universities team tours Japan later in April. The team plays a Japan East XV in Osaka and two games against against Kanto selections in Tokyo. The second match will be the curtainraiser to the Japan-Hong Kong test match. The team contains many familiar players with ITM Cup, NZ U20 and NZ Schools experience. read more?here
Otane rugby player Kelly Graham will take the field this coming Saturday in Hawke's Bay club rugby for a Town-Country grade game against neighbours Central to play his 400th consecutive game for the team since 1992. This is believed to be a New Zealand record and to add extra significance to the feat his 18-year-old son Jaharlym, a lock-loosie, will be playing alongside him. For more read?here
Sydenham turned the tables on High School Old Boys to beat them 18-17 in a re-match of last year's final on the opening day of Christchurch Metropolitian club rugby on Saturday. Sydenham established an 18-12 lead midway through the second half and held on. For other results and the draw click on the map of Canterbury to the right of this page. To read more?go here
Southern retained the Jack Hore Memorial Trophy against Pirates in Dunedin Premier rugby on Saturday, winning 31-3 in a . Other round 2 results were: Taieri 65 – Green Island 7; Dunedin 15 – Zingari-Richmond 5; Harbour 24 – University 13; Alhambra-Union 48 – Kaikorai 13. For more photos by John Caswell?go here
The All Blacks Sevens team will play Hong Kong in the Cup quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Sevens today, after being held to a 24-24 draw by Portugal and beating Australia 14-5 but still topping the Pool on day one. Fiji will play England, South Africa will play Australia and USA will play Samoa in the other Cup quarterfinals. For more?go herens
The Hawkins Cup Christchurch Metro club rugby competition kicks-off today with a gala day hosted by the Christchurch club. While much of the interest will centre on a repeat of last season’s Hawkins Trophy final between High School Old Boys and Sydenham. To view the draw and follow the competiton click on the Canterbury region on the map of NZ (right). To read the CRFU's preview?clck here
Onewhero had a one-point loss to last year's champions Bombay in the the second of Premier club competition last week. Tomorrow they host Drury who have lost their opening two fixture in their first home fixture of the season. For more read the article on the Counties-Manukau website?here
Big Fred Masters has a unique place in international rugby history. He was a selector for both the All Blacks and the Wallabies – the only man to have helped pick both national teams. To read more visit the story on the?West Coast website
The Southland Premier club rugby starts this weekend with a full round of games. Eight teams will be lining up to win the presitgous Galbraith Shield. Three-time defending champions Woodlands are again the team to beat, and they open their account in Gore against Eastern Northern Barbarians. Opening round matches are: Midlands v Pirates Old Boys, Eastern Northern Barbarians vWoodlands, Marist v Blues and Waikaka v Star.
Canterbury vice-captain and Highlanders loose forward and co-captain Nasi Manu is off to Edinburgh at the end of this Super Rugby season. Manu has made his way through the representative grades in Canterbury and debuted for the provincial team in 2007. He has been a member of all six of the title winning Canterbury sides between 2008 and 2013, including playing in every one of those finals. “Nasi came into this team as a teenager full of promise, having already won world titles at Under 19 and Under 20 levels. He lived up to expectations on the field, scoring a try on debut, and was a complete champion off the field too, quickly becoming a much loved member of the team,” coach Scott Robertson said.“Nasi’s leadership, diligence, talent and great company will be missed by us all this season. We support his decision to head overseas though and hope that he has a fantastic adventure living and playing in Scotland.”
The Waikato club rugby season is a fortnight old and just two sides remain unbeaten, with?Otorohanga and Melville setting the early pace. Otorohanga edged out Hautapu 24-18 and Melville defeated Te Aawamutu Sports 22-20. Defending champions Hamilton Marist were defeated 24-15 by University. For more read?here
The 2015 Wanganui club rugby season started on Saturday, with Border and Kaierau both registered bonus point victories. Border beat Ratana 46-7 and Kaierau defeated Ruapehu 38-24. The other match that was played was much closer, with Taihape beating defending champions Pirates 19-18 with a second half comeback. For more?read here
Papatoetoe and Waitemata will meet in the next week's Auckland Premier club rugby pre-season Waka Nathan Cup final after both winning tight games today. Papatoetoe have held off University 40-34 and Waitemata have defeated Ponsonby 24-17.?
The 2015 Manawatu club rugby season starts this Saturday with a full round of Senior 1 games. Defending Hankins Shield champions College Old Boys open their season against Feilding at Arena Manawatu, while beaten finalists Kia Toa face Te Kawau at Ronotea. Other games include Fielding Old Boys Oroua v Linton and Varsity against Old Boys Marist. Freyberg has the bye. For more visit the?Manawatu community rugby website
The Otago Daily Times previews the Dunedin club rugby season here?, which gets underway this coming Saturday. First round Premier games are: Dunedin v Harbour, Green Island v Zingari-Richmond, Kaikorai v Southern, Taieri v Pirates and University v Alhambra-Union.
The Counties Manukau Premier club rugby season got underway on Saturday, with defending champions Bombay edging Karaka 19-18 in a repeat of last year’s final. Other Challenge Cup season opening matches were also close. Ardmore Marist edged Waiuku 30-29, Pukekohe defeated Patumahoe 27-18, Onewhero beat Te Kauwhata 31-13, Manurewa beat Weymouth 39-3 and Papakura overcame Drury 22-5.
Updated: Auckland Marist have won the 2015 NZ Marist pre-season Spillane tournament, beating Hutt Old Boys Marist teams in both the Premier and Colts finals in the tournament played at Napier. Defending champions Auckland Marist retained their Colts title, beating the HOBM Junior Eagles 67-7 to win the Brennan Cup, while Auckland tipped over recent five-time champions HOBM 17-11 in the Premier Spillane Cup final. Marist St Pat's finished third with a 34-26 win over Hastings Rugby and Sports.
The 2015 Waikato Premier club rugby season started today, with defending champions Hamilton Marist getting off on a winning start. Hamilton Marist defeated Hamilton Old Boys 30-18 in a replay of last year's final, while Otorahanga beat University 40-25, Te Awamutu Sports defeated Morrinsville Sports 24-17, Hautapu overcame Fraser Tech and Melville defeated Matamata 56-22
Defending champions Hutt Old Boys Marist will meet Auckland Marist in the final of the Spillane Cup in Napier on Sunday. Day one results in the division 1 draw saw HOBM defeat Hastings Rugby and Sports 55-27 and Auckland Marist down Wellington's Marist St Pat's 37-18. In one Brennan Cup Colts result to hand, HOBM defeated Hamilton Marist 25-12.
Update: We are almost there. This page here remains a temporary page, a stepping-stone to our new National Club Rugby website.
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Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Nemani Nadolo will make their 2015 return to Super Rugby on Saturday afternoon when the Crusaders take on the Lions. They are among ten changes to the starting line-up that faced the Chiefs two weeks ago. Kieran Read will play at No. 8 and captain the side.
The Western Bay of Plenty Premier club season gets underway this weekend, with last year's Baywide winners and Te Puke Sports and runners-up Tauranga Sports meeting in the feature match. In other matches Rangataua and Mt Maunganui clash and Te Puna and Greerton meet. The competition format this year allows for Western, Eastern and Central Bay of Plenty Clubs to play a local round prior to entering the Bayfair Baywide Club Competition starting on Saturday 2nd May.
It's been reported that the Central Hawke's Bay Rugby and Sports Club is in trouble for 2015. Unless the club can find five premier grade front rowers Central may withdraw from the Premier Nash Cup competition starting in under three weeks."Most of premier reserve graders don't want to go up to premiers."A lot of them have been there and consider themselves too old for premier play. The reason our colts are short of numbers is because five from last year's team have offered to bolster the premier side's numbers.At this stage the premier team is without a manager and backs coach too," [club member Tony] Lepelaars said.?Read the full article here
Papatoetoe, Blues and all Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu will establish a new Super Rugby record on Saturday night when he lines up at hooker against the Lions at Albany to play his 163rd match. This will make him the all-time leader in Super Rugby, a mark he currently shares with retired former Reds, Force and Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe. It is the first game of the season for Mealamu who made his debut in 2000.
Canterbury and Crusaders back, Tom Taylor, is moving to the south of France to play for the Bayonne Club at the end of this year. Taylor has signed a three year contract with Bayonne and says he is certainly not discounting returning to play in New Zealand again one day.“At the moment all of my focus is on the season ahead. I am fully committed to the Crusaders for the rest of this season and will give my all for the team. I am also determined for a chance to be involved in this year’s Rugby World Cup. If that doesn’t happen then I will give my full commitment to the Canterbury team and enjoy playing another ITM Cup season,” Taylor said.
Rene Ranger is to return to the Blues next season and will be available to play for North Harbour in the ITM Cup this year. The 28 year old has gained an early release from his contract with French club Montpellier after two seasons. Ranger scored 25 tries in his 65 Super Rugby caps for the Blues, enjoying six caps for the All Blacks. He said his return to New Zealand is primarily for family reasons.
Taranaki wing Waisake Naholo will hope to win back-to-back ITM Cup titles this year before heading to France to take up a two-year contract with Clermont. Naholo, who scorched in for nine tries in 12 matches in last year’s ITM Cup, is currently with the Highlanders, after previous stints with the Blues and the All Black Sevens squad.?
The Crusaders have announced that Robbie Fruean has had surgery today to insert a plate in his arm. He fractured his right arm whilst playing against the Chiefs game on Saturday night. The timeframe for recovery from this type of injury is usually around 4 – 5 months. Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said the entire team was feeling for Robbie and sending him their best wishes for a speedy recovery. "We know that Robbie wanted to make this a great season so this is hugely disappointing for him. We know that he will continue to contribute to the team while he is on the road to recovery and we hope that he is able to make a full recovery before the season is over."
The focus over the coming few weeks around the country is the build-up to the fifteens club and college rugby seasons around New Zealand. Most club competitions are starting on either 21 and 28 March, depending on how far individual union's obsessions go with professional and representative programmes taking precedence above all else and their need to finish club rugby early.
The All Blacks Sevens side has finished second in the Las Vegas leg of the World Rugby Sevens series, losing to Fiji 35-19 in the Cup final. New Zealand was missing four key players through injury as Fiji led 21-0 at halftime. Ambrose Curtis (2) and Jack Goodhue scored New Zealand’s tries in the final.
For Fiji, it was their second win of the World Rugby sevens series. South Africa defeated home team USA 31-0 in the playoff for third and fourth. New Zealand had beaten the USA 26-12 in the Cup semi-finals and Fiji defeated South Africa 24-19.
The top eight points table is now: South Africa 93, New Zealand 88, Fiji 86, Australia 71, England 68, Argentina 54, USA 51, Scotland 47.
The next tournament is Hong Kong at the end of March.
The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team has won the Sao Paulo Sevens tournament in Brazil, to take their second title of the women’s World Series season.
New Zealand beat Australia 17-10 in the final, after beating France 12-5 in their semi-final and USA 28-17 in their quarter-final on Day 2. Portia Woodman was the star of the tournament, scoring 13 tries.
New Zealand has won the opening two tournaments of the 2014-15 World Series, in Dubai and Sao Paulo, and is well on track to gaining Olympic qualification. The next tournament is in Atlanta in the USA on 14-15 March, followed by tournaments in Canada, England and the Netherlands.
The points table after this weekend’s leg is: New Zealand 40 points; Australia 36; Canada 32; France 28; England 24; USA 18.
The All Blacks Sevens team for the World Series tournament at Westpac Stadium in Wellington this weekend is:
* new squad member
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The year's first provincial title will be decided this weekend in Rotorua with the National Sevens tournament.
For previews from a Wellington and Taranaki persepctive and to view the draw for Day One on Saturday visit our Wellington and Taranaki websites on Friday. (Links across the top of this page and on the map of NZ at right). Club Rugby will carry the results, key news and photos.