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GlasgowWarriorsbIt was a challenge to keep up with the fast moving events surrounding Scottish rugby last week.

It was announced Gregor Townsend would succeed Vern Cotter as head coach of Scotland and just 24 hours later Dave Rennie was unveiled as the man who will take charge at of the Warriors at the start of next season.

Speaking in the Herald Gregor said: “It all happened very quickly. I was involved in the [Warriors] strip launch, then, one hour later, I was given the Scotland job. I had barely had time to digest that, when I was speaking to Dave Rennie about the succession at Glasgow.

“However, Glasgow will remain my No 1 priority this season. We have a huge season coming up and I want to leave a positive legacy for Dave to work with.

“I have known Dave for four or five years, over which we have kept in touch. I feel there is a great similarity in our approach to coaching, we both look for the same skills sets in players, the clubs have a similar culture in how we want to play rugby and Dave is a good fit for Glasgow.

“We will work together in player recruitment and so on, I expect he will be over here in November once the Super Rugby season is over and we will be working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“Once it was announced I was leaving, the players opened a sweepstake as to my successor, and one of them guessed. They seem happy at the choice the SRU have made.”

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JaguaresChiefsJaguares (14) 26 / 30 (13) Chiefs (Final Score)

Los Jaguares and the Chiefs did battle in Super Rugby 2016 at

Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires at 23:40 SA Time (21:40 GMT, 18:40 ARG Time, Sunday 10:40 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.


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CrusadersChiefsSANZAR is delighted to reveal that Super Rugby is coming to the Pacific Islands for the 1st time as Fiji is announced to host the Round 15 clash between the Chiefs and the Crusaders.

The match, to be played at Suva’s ANZ Stadium, will see Fiji become the 8th nation to host a Super Rugby fixture, joining Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

SANZAR Interim CEO, Brendan Morris, welcomed the exciting news.

“In 2016, Super Rugby is being delivered to more countries and more fans than ever before. Not only will we see games played in Argentina, Japan and Singapore for the 1st time in history, but we are delighted to partner with the Fijian Government, the Chiefs and event promoter Fortress to deliver the 1st ever match to the Pacific Islands.

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Super RugbyMassive experience and exciting new talents are the order of the day for all New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises as they reveal their 2016 squads.

The Highlanders have made minimal changes to their 2015 championship winning squad, with just 9 new additions to their 38-man squad. The side they beat in the 2015 final, the Hurricanes, have taken a similar approach, opting for continuity in retaining 30 players of the greater 39-man squad.

The Chiefs will boast 12 former and current All Blacks in their squad and a further 14 fresh faces. 4 Players have been promoted from the Crusaders’ wider training group with a further 11 players joining the franchise for the 1st time.

The Blues are the only side who have gone against the grain as head coach Tana Umaga has built his 2016 squad around 6 core players, as he looks to resurrect the franchise to his former glory.

We look at all New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads:

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Atunaisa Moli

Atunaisa Moli

New Zealand Under 20 Junior World Cup winning captain, Atunaisa Moli, has signed with the Chiefs for the next 2 years.

The versatile Waikato prop who can play both sides of the scrum has impressed head coach Dave Rennie since being a part of the Chiefs’ development program in 2014.

Moli toured Hong Kong with the side earlier this season in addition to spending time training with the Chiefs’ core Super Rugby squad.

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Glen Fisiiahi

Glen Fisiiahi

Glen Fisiiahi is set to make a return to rugby and will be joining the Chiefs for the next 2 years, from Rugby League team, the Warriors.

The 24 year-old former Wesley College Sports Dux and Counties Manukau Under 18 rugby player, who had offers to stay in rugby league said, “I wanted a change and to switch back to union with the Chiefs.”

“I have really enjoyed the league environment but I have rekindled my interest in rugby and want to try a different environment. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my sporting career and a fresh challenge.

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Tawera Kerr-Barlow

Tawera Kerr-Barlow

All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow will stay with the Chiefs for the next 2 seasons and has every intention of being 1st choice No 9.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said the 24 year-old has displayed an amazing work ethic recovering from his horrific injury during an All Blacks match late in 2014.

“Tawera is incredibly professional. His dedication to rehab and developing other parts of his game throughout his time out has been impressive. He is in fantastic condition.”

“He is now 1 of our senior players who contributes greatly in our environment. I know he is hungry to get back to top level footy.”

The tenacious scrumhalf has no intention of playing 2nd fiddle to either Brad Weber or Augustine Pulu.

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Andrew Strawbridge

Andrew Strawbridge

Waikato Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge has woken up and is communicating with his family but remains in a serious condition in hospital, the Super Rugby team said on Thursday.

Strawbridge, who is also a technical advisor to the Samoa national rugby team, was admitted to an Apia hospital last week with an infection in his right eye after taking ill on a flight from New Zealand before his condition “deteriorated rapidly”.

He arrived back in New Zealand in an air ambulance last Friday and was taken to Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, where he had been listed as being in a critical but stable condition since his arrival.

“Andrew Strawbridge is awake and in a serious, stable condition in the Waikato Hospital Intensive Care Unit,” the Chiefs said in a statement.

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Marty McKenzie

Marty McKenzie

The Crusaders have signed Chiefs flyhalf Marty McKenzie to fill the gap left by the departing Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor.

McKenzie will compete with Ben Volavola and Richie Mo’unga, who have also signed with the franchise ahead of the 2016 season.

Maori All Black McKenzie will move south from the Chiefs, returning to the city where he spent the final 2 years of secondary school. Born and raised in Southland, McKenzie moved from Gore High School to Christchurch’s Christ’s College for his final school years playing in their 1st XV for both seasons.

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Andrew Strawbridge

Andrew Strawbridge

Manu Samoa technical advisor and Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge is fighting for his life in a Samoan hospital after he took ill during his flight to the island nation to join the team ahead of their historic All Blacks Test match.

Strawbridge was admitted to hospital overnight on Tuesday with an infection in his right eye and his condition deteriorated rapidly. He has now been joined by his wife Laura, and sister Susan.

The family is extremely grateful for the care Andrew is receiving from Dr David Galler and the staff at Moto’otua Hospital.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said: “We truly appreciate the incredible support that has been provided by the hospital staff, the people of the Samoan Rugby Union, the All Blacks and the Chiefs players who are on the ground over there.”

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Dominic Bird

Dominic Bird

The Chiefs have responded to their lock exodus with the signing of 2nd row Dominic Bird from the Crusaders for 2 years.

The Chiefs have lost the services of Matt Symons and Michael Fitzgerald from the engine room – Symons is heading to London Irish while Fitzgerald will become a Leicester Tiger.

Bird will thus be a relieving signature for the Hamilton side and at 206cm tall, he is set to become the tallest member in the Chiefs squad.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes the 120kg player will complement his forward pack well.

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Kieran Keane

Kieran Keane

The Chiefs have confirmed their coaching staff for the next 2 seasons.

Current coaches Dave Rennie and Andrew Strawbridge will be joined by Tasman ITM Cup coach Kieran Keane and Canada’s national forwards coach Neil Barnes.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said, “We are well aware of the importance of having a world class coaching group to succeed in this competition.

“I have no doubt that our management team for the next few years are capable of continuing the Chiefs legacy of on-field success given the mix of coaching skill-sets and experience they possess.”

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie is extremely happy with his new management team.

“I’m really looking forward to working with KK and Barnsey. They are bloody good men, experienced and innovative coaches who are prepared to challenge and work hard. They’ll fit in well here,” he said.

Current Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge extended his contract for 2 years.

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Michael Leitch

Michael Leitch

Michael Leitch will be back in Chiefs colours after signing to remain in Hamilton for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

The Japanese national team captain has been impressive for the Chiefs this season, earning the Rookie of the Year award as voted for by the players.

“Michael has made a huge impression in his debut season,” said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

“He is a top man, very professional and has been a real positive influence on our younger players. We appreciate Michael’s desire and commitment to return to the Chiefs and we are rapt that he will be back for us.”

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Liam Messam

Liam Messam

The Chiefs will be without a host of players next season including captain Liam Messam who will play Sevens in a bid to make the Olympics.

Messam and star centre Sonny Bill Williams will be part of a large group of players that will not be around next season, and coach Dave Rennie admitted that his captain will be a massive loss to the side.

“Not just his playing ability but his leadership – he’s very charismatic, incredibly passionate – he’ll be very difficult to replace.

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Super RugbyIt is the Top 6 Qualifying Round of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are only 2 matches in the Round, 1 in New Zealand and 1 in South Africa.

3rd Placed on the Combined Log, the DHL Stormers (albeit 3rd only by reason of the Conference Syystem), hosts 6th on the Log, the Brumbies. In the other match 4th on the Log, the Highlanders, hosts 5th on the Log, the Chiefs.

The 2 Franchises who finished in the No1 and No 2 spots on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes and Waratahs respectively, have lovely rest weekends, as they only meet the winners of this Round’s matches next weekend in the Semi-Finals.

The action is kicked off by the Highlanders vs Chiefs who do battle in Dunedin at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT)

Much later in the day, in Cape Town, South Africa, the DHL Stormers host the Brumbies at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time).

After this Round of Top 6 Qualifying matches, only 4 teams will remain and there will be 2 Semi-Final matches next weekend, followed by a Final match for the ultimate winner a week later.

The Highlanders vs Chiefs game should be an absolute cracker, with both teams getting some injured players back into the fold. It is extremely difficult to pick a winner for this game and the different pundits differ on the winner of the match, with probable the bigger percentage backing the Chiefs for an away win. I differ from that though, and I think if there is ONE YEAR where the Highlanders could make it to the Semi-Finals, it is this year, at home, at Forsyth Barr stadium.

Both teams sport great backlines but I am of the opinion that the Highlanders might have a slightly more abrasive forwards pack and possibly also a better scrumhalf and flyhalf, both of whom have come on in leaps and bounds in 2015, namely Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga.

I predict the Highlanders to squeek a win, in a very entertaining match.

As far as the other match is concerned, do we give home ground advantage enough weight to speculate that the DHL Stormers will overcome the Brumbies in Cape Town… even though their regular league game was only a 21 / 20 win for the Stormers and with Christian Lealiifano missing an absolute peach of a conversion attempt, from right in front, OR do we say that the Brumbies will win the game in the absense of Duane Vermeulen and likely also Schalk Burger, both with some injury concerns?

The South African scribes and pundits all patriotically pick the Stormers for a win, but I am hesitant to do so and think this game’s result is a perfect 50 / 50 guess, so may the best team take it!

Meanwhile 9 Teams are already lounging around, no longer part of the race to the finish line.

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ChiefsThe Chiefs have announced their team to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday as the Super Rugby Finals Series gets underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Newly re-signed hooker Hika Elliot and flanker Sam Cane will return to the side, having been rested last week. The match will represent Elliot’s 100th Super Rugby cap after signing a 2-year extension to remain with the club earlier this week while Cane also committed to at least another 2 seasons.

Michael Fitzgerald moves to the blindside while captain Liam Messam takes over No 8 duties. Brad Weber starts at scrumhalf and Andrew Horrell gets the nod at flyhalf.

Cousins Tim Nanai-Williams and Sonny Bill Williams will pair up in the midfield with Charlie Ngatai out due to concussion. Damian McKenzie starts at fullback with Tom Marshall ruled out with a knee injury.

Kayne Hammington gets the opportunity to make his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs off the bench with the 24-year-old scrumhalf being granted approval to play in the wake of a season-ending injury to starting scrumhalf, Augustine Pulu.

He is joined by new reserves Michael Leitch, Marty McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu.

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Sam Cane

Sam Cane

The Chiefs have re-signed Sam Cane, keeping the All Blacks flanker in Hamilton for at least the next 2 years.

The 23-year-old has been 1 of the stand-out players for the Chiefs this season and this was recognised when he won 3 trophies at the recent 2015 Chiefs Awards.

Cane, who has become a pivotal part of the Chiefs team, collected the Player of the Year voted for by the fans, the Chiefs Player of the Year voted for by the coaches and the Players Player of the Year.

Head coach Dave Rennie is rapt that Cane has committed for another couple of years.

“He’s an outstanding player but more importantly a quality young man, held in high regard by all. His work ethic, leadership and community mindedness continues to have a positive influence on our club.”

Reporoa-born Cane is a highly motivated loose forward who has 1 of the highest and most efficient tackle rates in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

But he says he has plenty of room for improvement.

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