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New Zealand Rugby

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Super RugbyIt is Round 3 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 3 games on Friday 20 February and 4 games on Saturday 21 February.

The Waratahs and defending champions of Australia have a BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries started Super Rugby on the same weekend a week ago, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

Round 1 and 2 had some real upsets and some of the teams who were touted as Tournament winners lost badly.

Round 3 promises to deliver more surprizes!

The Friday games are: Highlanders vs Reds in Dunedin, Western Force vs Hurricanes in Perth and the Toyota Cheetahs vs Blues in Bloemfontein. On Saturday it’s the Chiefs vs Crusaders, Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies in Melbourne, Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks in Pretoria and the Emirates Lions vs DHL Stormers in Johannesburg to finish off Round 3.

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WhistleRound 3 of Super Rugby 2015 sees 3 matches on Friday and 4 matches on Saturday.

The Round starts off with the Highlanders up against the Reds in Dunedin and the Round finishes with the local derby between the high-flying DHL Stormers against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg.

SANZAR has announced the Match Officials for Round 3 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

  • Chris Pollock was not considered for selection after sustaining a minor injury during his pre-game preparation last Saturday. He will be given another week to return to full fitness.
  • Jaco van Heerden is set to make his Super Rugby debut refereeing the Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks match. A law graduate and Advocate to the High Court of South Africa, Van Heerden played rugby for his university before later turning his attention to refereeing. The 32-year old handled himself with aplomb in his first Currie Cup match during the 2014 season and it was no surprise that he was awarded a Semi-Final later in the year.
  • Our thoughts and best wishes are extended to Shaun Veldsman and his family after the TMO was assaulted and stabbed in his vehicle following last week’s match between the Stormers and the Blues in Cape Town. We wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery.

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Owen Franks

Owen Franks

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Owen Franks of the Crusaders for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Franks has been suspended from all forms of the game for 2 weeks up to and including 8 March 2015.

The incident occurred in the 10th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 21 February 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case.

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Willi Heinz

Willi Heinz

Gloucester have added experience and quality to their scrumhalf ranks next season with the capture of Crusaders’ Willi Heinz.

The 28-year-old will join the current Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw and the hugely promising Callum Braley as scrumhalf options for the Cherry and Whites from 2015 – 2016.

Heinz has captained Canterbury in the NPC, represented the Crusaders more than 50 times in Super Rugby, and gained huge popularity with the Canterbury supporters.

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Kane Hames

Kane Hames

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Kane Hames of the Highlanders for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Hames has been suspended from all forms of the game for 5 weeks up to and including 28 March 2015.

The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 21 February 2015.

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Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Hayden Triggs of the Blues for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was sent off during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Triggs has been suspended from all forms of the game for 1 week up to and including 28 February 2015.

The incident occurred in the 24th minute of the match between the Stormers and Blues played at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on 21 February 2015.

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Vodacom BullsThe Vodacom Bulls lost their 2nd successive home match when the Hurricanes caused a minor upset by winning 17 / 13 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening.

The last time the 3-time champions lost consecutive matches at home was in Rounds 2 and 3 in 2008. Incidentally, that was also the last year the Hurricanes won in Pretoria before this weekend.

The home team could not get into gear and were heavily penalised by referee Andre Lees. These and other errors proved very costly in the end.

Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard scored all the Vodacom Bulls’ points through a try, conversion and 2 penalty goals.

In the aftermath to the match, the Bulls and Hurricanes Press Conferences were a sight to behold!

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, wide-eyed as ever, seemed more strained than usual and once again underlined what he perceived as positives to be taken from the game. Captain Pierre Spies could not hide the shame and it appeared that he was deliberately looking down to avoid eye-contact with menbers of the Media.

On the other hand, Hurricanes Coach Chris Boys was in a juvial mode, making an early joke during the Press Conference, yet also stating that although they achieved to come “take Points” in South Africa, that he was not yet satisfied and felt that the Hurricans should improve.

 

Here are the Audio streams of the After Match Press Conferences:

Bulls after match Press Conference:

 

Hurricanes after match Press Conference:

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DHL StormersThe DHL Stormers got their 2nd win of the season, a 27 / 16 triumph over the Blues at a sun-bathed Newlands on Saturday.

It is a win that will be both celebrated and loathed.

The celebration will be for the 4 points on the standings. The negative side will be because the Blues were reduced to 14 men for 55 minutes and the home team should have won by a much larger margin.

The game was turned on its head in the 25th minute, when veteran Blues lock Hayden Triggs was spotted punching Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen – not once, but twice – and Red-carded, leaving his team a man down for a large chunk of the match.

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Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

Hayden Triggs Red Carded for punching Duane Vermeulen

Veteran Blues lock Hayden Triggs will front up to a SANZAR disciplinary hearing, after he received a Red Card for punching during his team’s Super Rugby loss to the Stormers.

Triggs stands accused of having contravened Law 10.4 (a): Punching or striking.

It follows an incident that occurred in the 24th minute of the match between the DHL Stormers and Blues at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

The case is to be considered in the first instance by SANZAR duty judicial officer Robert Stelzner.

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Owen Franks

Owen Franks

Kane Hames

Kane Hames

Crusaders prop Owen Franks and his Highlanders counterpart Kane Hames were both cited for foul play after their teams’ clash in Dunedin on Saturday.

Both players are alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking.

Owens’ incident occurred in the 10th minute of the match while Hames’ incident took place in the 74th minute.

Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed in his opinion the incidents had met the Red Card threshold for foul play.

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Grant Jarrold

Grant Jarrold

Grant Jarrold has been elected the new Chairman of the Crusaders.

Jarrold said he was looking forward to stepping up to the role of Crusaders Chairman and continuing to contribute to the organisation.

“I am passionate about this team and have enjoyed being involved as a Board member since 2012.

“This is a Board, a team and an organisation full of quality, committed people, so it is an honour to assume the role of Chairman for the Crusaders,” Jarrold said.

Jarrold continued: “There are plenty of new opportunities for the Crusaders this season and in the future.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 2 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 3 games on Friday 20 February and 4 games on Saturday 21 February.

The Toyota Cheetahs of South Africa have a BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries started Super Rugby on the same weekend a week ago, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

Round 1 had some real upsets and some of the teams who were touted as Tournament winners lost badly, as there were no less than 6 away wins from the 7 weekend matches.

Will everything revert back to normal in Round 2 or will there be similar surprizes to offer?

The Friday games are: Chiefs vs Brumbies in New Plymouth, Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs in Melbourne and the Vodacom Bulls vs Hurricanes in Pretoria. On Saturday it’s the Highlanders vs Crusaders in Hamilton, Reds vs Western Force in Brisbane, DHL stormers vs Blues in Cape Town and the Cell C Sharks vs Emirates Lions in Durban to finish off Round 2.

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Neil Sorensen

Neil Sorensen

The New Zealand Rugby Union said they had contracted a specialist monitoring service to ensure match-fixing does not taint All Blacks, Super Rugby or domestic matches.

It said the Swiss-based company would use its fraud detection system to monitor betting around New Zealand fixtures for the next 2 years.

NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen said there was no suggestion match-fixing was a problem in New Zealand, but there was no room for complacency.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

All Black skipper Richie McCaw on Thursday dropped the strongest hint yet he will retire after this year’s World Cup in England and bring his glittering career to an end.

The 34-year-old captain of New Zealand, the reigning World Cup champions, admitted he was considering hanging up his boots, but was not yet ready to make a definitive announcement, preferring to focus on the ongoing Super Rugby season with the Crusaders.

“Honestly, I haven’t made any final decision, but probably the likelihood is I’m not going to be playing next year,” McCaw said at a Crusaders training session, in comments published on New Zealand Rugby’s official website.

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Ross Geldenhuys

Ross Geldenhuys

Highlanders coach, Jamie Joseph, has named South African journeyman Ross Geldenhuys at tighthead for the big South Island clash against the Crusaders on Saturday.

Geldenhuys is 1 of 7 debutants for the Highlanders who had a BYE in Round 1 of Super Rugby.

As with last season the team will be co-captained by Nasi Manu and Ben Smith.

Joseph has selected from a near fully fit squad with just Shane Christie (hamstring), Richard Buckman (knee) and Pingi Tala’apitaga (knee) unavailable due to injury.

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Israel Dagg

Israel Dagg

Israel Dagg will make his return to Super Rugby when the Crusaders take on the Highlanders this Saturday.

He is 1 of 5 changes to the starting line-up this week.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has named Wyatt Crockett to start in the No 1 jersey this week, with Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala providing prop cover from the bench.

Scott Barrett will start at lock for the first time in Super Rugby, pairing up with Luke Romano and with Dominic Bird on the bench.

Colin Slade shifts from fullback to flyhalf, with Daniel Carter recovering from a knock to the leg in last week’s match, and Dagg steps in at No 15.

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Malakai Fekitoa

Malakai Fekitoa

Following his 2014 breakout season for the Highlanders and All Blacks, Malakai Fekitoa has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby for 2 years, extending his contract until at least the end of 2017.

Fekitoa’s commitment is a major coup for both New Zealand Rugby and the Highlanders and he joins a growing list of current All Blacks who have recommitted beyond this year.

He was 1 of only 4 players to play in all 17 Highlanders’ games last year, staking his claim on the No 13 jersey early with his eye-catching performance in the opening round of the 2014 Super Rugby Competition against his old team, the Blues.

He was also 1 of 2 players to play every possible minute for their team last season (1360 across 17 appearances), the other being Michael Hooper who played 1440, including the Final.

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Ma'a Nonu

Ma’a Nonu

All Black Ma’a Nonu is back at centre for the Hurricanes as they prepare to face the Bulls in a Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Nonu missed the Hurricanes’ 22 / 8 win over the Lions in Johannesburg last

weekend to attend the birth of his child, but has slotted into the starting fifteen this week.

It will be Nonu’s 145th Super Rugby appearance, and 1st for the Hurricanes since 2011.

The match will also be a significant occasion for Manawatu flank Callum Gibbins, who is set to get his 1st start for the Hurricanes.

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Hosea Gear

Hosea Gear

Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden

Liam Messam

Liam Messam

The Chiefs have injected some All Black experience for the Round 2 match against the Brumbies on Friday.

All Blacks Liam Messam and Aaron Cruden come into the starting team, as does former international Hosea Gear.

Current New Zealand and World Rugby Player of the Year, Brodie Retallick, will make his 1st appearance of the season from the bench.

In total, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made 6 changes to the starting side originally named to face the Blues last week.

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Israel Dagg

Israel Dagg

Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Crusaders pivot Dan Carter is set to miss the Christchurch-based team’s clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

Carter hurt his leg in his side’s 20 / 10 loss to the Melbourne Rebels last weekend and although Crusaders assistant coach Aaron Mauger believes the injury isn’t serious, he said it’s unlikely that the All Blacks flyhalf would be considered to play this weekend.

That means that Colin Slade is expected to start in the No 10 jeresey.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced Match Official appointments for Round 2 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

On Friday we have 3 matches, with the Chiefs hosting the Brumbies, the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Waratahs and the Vodacom Bulls hosting the Hurricanes.

On Saturday we have 4 matches, with the Highlanders kicking off their season after an early BYE weekend against the Crusaders, the Reds against the Western Force and followed by 2 games in South Africa, the one between the DHL Stormers against the Blues and the Cell C Sharks against the Emirates Lions.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Details on Dan Carter’s leg injury are still fuzzy heading towards the Crusaders match against the Highlanders on Saturday.

The official line signalled some improvement when he was assessed by the medical staff and then involved in the squad’s light workout on Monday at their Christchurch headquarters.

During the Crusaders’ opening Super Rugby loss to the Rebels, Carter took a knock to his lower right leg which he then aggravated when he made a hasty clearing kick from his in-goal area.

The limping flyhalf stayed on for a further 15 minutes hoping the discomfort from his “dead leg” would ease. He had to be subbed and when he fronted for interviews later, Carter was optimistic there was no significant issue.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter’s final Super Rugby season began with a rocky start as the 32-year-old suffered another leg injury in the Crusaders’ surprise 20 / 10 loss to the Melbourne Rebels on Friday.

Carter, who has also already said he will leave New Zealand rugby after the conclusion of this year’s World Cup to take up a three-year contract with France’s Racing Metro, allayed any early jitters about the All Blacks’ world title defence.

“I got a whack in the side of the leg, similar to a spot that I got it last year. It was just a knee and gave me a bit of a dead leg,” Carter told reporters. “I’m sure it’s nothing serious.”

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Super RugbyIt is Round 1 of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend, at last the season gets underway for us poor, suffering rugby degenerates in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are 3 games on Friday 13 February, 3 games on Saturday 14 February and 1 game on Sunday 15 February.

The Highlanders from New Zealand have an immediate BYE weekend.

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, all countries start Super Rugby in the same weekend, so we will not have skewed Logs to deal with. A team also does not pick up ANY POINTS during a BYE weekend, which is very refreshing for a change!

Super Rugby has no June break either in an attempt to make it finish early enough to fit in an abridged Rugby Championship before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on 18 September 2015.

The season starts with a weekend of some great derbies and some great cross conference battles. The first up season game will be between the Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels, followed by the big Aussie derby between the Brumbies and Reds and a humdinger of running rugby between the Emirates Lions and the star-studded Hurricans side. On Saturday it’s the Blues vs Chiefs followed by 2 South African derbies, the first in Durban between the Cell C Sharks and the Toyota Cheetahs, followed by my choice of match of the weekend, the derby clash between the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Sunday sees a lone match between the Waratahs and Western Force to finish off Round 1.

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