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New Zealand Rugby

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Super RugbySANZAR has released the names of the match officials for Round 10 of Super Rugby 2014.

Nick Bryant starts off proceedings this weekend in the game between the Hurricanes and Blues on Friday at 09:35 SA Time.

This weekend sees 6 games, with 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

The Brumbies, Highlanders and Reds have BYE weekends.

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Piri WeepuBluesFormer All Black Piri Weepu could potentially make a miraculous return to playing Super Rugby this weekend when the Blues face the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Thirty-year-old halfback Weepu has made a full recovery from a minor stroke and heart surgery and has returned to training.

Weepu says that he went through an emotional time a couple of weeks ago when he revealed that he had had a stroke before his two Super Rugby matches in South Africa and also a hole in his heart.

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Andrew MehrtensAs Super Rugby nears its 20th year, I wonder if it’s time to shake things up and maybe take a step back from South Africa.

I got up in the early hours of the morning at the weekend and watched my old Crusaders team battle the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein – but I’m sure I was in the minority.

I can’t help thinking we might have lost a little interest in playing South African teams, and that ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones.

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Super RugbyThe Cell C Sharks ground out their sixth win of the Vodacom Super Rugby season to stay at the top of the standings, but for the other three South African teams in action this weekend, the ninth round wasn’t a happy one.

The KwaZulu-Natalians beat a plucky Lions side by 25-12 in front of more than 30,000 people at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday evening. It was a battle of attrition and the visitors from Durban scored the only try of the match.

Earlier on Saturday, the Toyota Cheetahs put up a brave fight, but for a second successive week they fell off the pace in the final 10 minutes as they lost by 52-31 to the Crusaders in Bloemfontein – the team from Canterbury’s first win in the Free State Stadium for seven years.

On Friday morning, the Vodacom Bulls could not put an end to a seven-year drought in Dunedin as they paid the price for making way too many errors with ball in hand and on defence as they went down by 27-20 to the Highlanders.

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Super RugbyEvery time the Cell C Sharks score a win there are mutters in the background that they still have to travel overseas, but the rate they are going they will leave for Australasia needing to do very little to confirm themselves as the winners of the South African conference in Vodacom Super Rugby.

It has been written that the Sharks, in beating the Lions at Ellis Park this past weekend, showed that they are not as commanding away from home as they are at Growthpoint Kings Park. But that should surely be a given in a season where until the past two weeks home ground advantage was so important, and these days a win over the Lions in Johannesburg is not something you just accept as an expected event. You have to work for it.

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Ihaia WestBluesThe Blues have called Hawke’s Bay Magpies and Maori All Blacks first five-eighths Ihaia West into their Super Rugby squad as replacement for the injured Baden Kerr who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

After fracturing a bone at the base of his thumb in a pre-season match against the Hurricanes, 24-year-old Kerr then fractured two fingers playing rugby for his club side Karaka last month and was forced to have surgery, ruling him out of action for at least 12 weeks.

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Jarrad HoeataCardiff BluesCardiff Blues revealed a major coup in the signing of New Zealand international forward Jarrad Hoeata, from Super Rugby outfit the Highlanders.

Hoeata, who can play second row or back row, will move to the Arms Park at the completion of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

The Tauranga-born ace has been a member of the All Blacks, Maori and All Blacks Sevens teams.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 9 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have 6 games in Round 9, with 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

The Blues, Hurricanes & DHL Stormers have bye weekends.

In June / July 2014 the Antipodian teams will catch up in played games with the South African counterparts, when the South African sides sit out for 1 Round.

The Combined Log will therefore be skewed for the majority of the competition and one has to question why individual countries are allowed to start such a long competition ahead of it’s rivals. In 2013 the Australian sides started a week early, but at least they had the excuse that they needed an extra week in the middle of the year to prepare for the British & Irish Lions series, which they lost.

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Super RugbyIt was a disappointing weekend for South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby franchises, with the best result among the four teams that took to the field being a 43-43 draw by the Toyota Cheetahs.

The Vodacom Bulls faced the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday in their first tour game with the hope of becoming the first domestic franchise to win in the Antipodes this season, but penalties conceded at crucial times allowed the hosts to come away with a 25-20 victory.

The Toyota Cheetahs, meanwhile, built up an encouraging 34-10 half-time lead against New Zealand conference leaders and defending champions, the Chiefs, in Bloemfontein, but they allowed the visitors to fight back strongly after the break and had to settle for a 43-43 draw.

At Ellis Park, the Lions produced a competitive first-half performance against the Crusaders to trail only 6-0 after 40 minutes, but the home side battled to shut out the seven time Vodacom Super Rugby champions in the second half, and went down 28-7.

In the last match of the weekend, the DHL Stormers’ woes continued in their first home game after their Australasian tour, as they suffered their fifth back-to-back defeat after going down 22-11 against the Waratahs in a physical encounter at DHL Newlands.

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Super RugbyWhistleSANZAR has released the names of the match officials for Round 8 of Super Rugby 2014.

Rohan Hoffmann starts the action this weekend in Dunedin when the Highlanders take on the Vodacom Bulls.

This weekend sees 6 matches, with 2 games on Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

The Blues, Hurricanes and Stormers have BYE WEEKENDS.

Remember that Daylight Savings Time changes occured all over the Globe on Sunday, so the Time difference between South Africa and their Antipodian counterparts increase bu an hour.

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Aaron CrudenChiefsChiefs’ flyhalf Aaron Cruden will miss six to eight weeks of Super Rugby after breaking his thumb in a dramatic draw with the Central Cheetahs, the club said on Monday.

In a major dent to the Chiefs’ hopes of securing three titles in a row, the 25-year-old had an X-ray following the 43-43 draw in Bloemfontein which confirmed his left thumb was fractured.

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  • ufo 16 Apr 2014, 15:19 SAST - @ nortierd: The head coach is most in need of a head doctor... Yeah... I would rather fire the coach...
  • ufo 16 Apr 2014, 15:15 SAST - Sheesh... I see Toetie just got divorced... from reality... Isn't there a spare bed in Shrien's ward...? :Daze:
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