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Highlanders (21) 40 / 15 (3) Sunwolves (Final Score)

The Highlanders and Sunwolves did battle in Super Rugby 2017 at

Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill, New Zealand at 07:15 SA Time (17:15 NZ Time, 14:15 Japanese Time, 05:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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JaguaresHighlandersJaguares (8) 8 / 34 (24) Highlanders (Final Score)

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

Velez Sarsfield, Beunos Aires at 23:40 SA Time (21:40 GMT, 18:40 ARG Time, Sunday 09:40 NZ Time).

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

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Lima Sopoaga

Lima Sopoaga

Amongst the Super Rugby news this week is the announcement that Tanerau Latimer will return to Super Rugby and join up with the Blues.

Lima Sopoaga has also extended his stay at the Highlanders.

Meanwhile the Brumbies will lose Matt Toomua to Leicester Tigers when the European season of 2016 / 2017 starts after Super Rugby of 2016, but therefore he will still be available for the Brumbies in 2016. The Brumbies have also signed hooker Robbie Abel with the Brumbies’ Extended Playing Squad for 2016.

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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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HighlandersThe Highlanders have confirmed 2 exciting new midfield signings for the 2016 season, Canterbury’s Rob Thompson and Otago’s Matt Faddes.

Thompson, is an exciting player who debuted for Canterbury in 2013 and after a solid year earned a wider training group contract with the Crusaders leading to his Super Rugby debut against the Blues in 2014.

A powerful runner, who has the strength to play in the midfield and the speed to play in the outside backs, Thompson will provide versatility and depth to the Highlanders midfield stocks.

Thompson commented that “the Highlanders play an attractive style of rugby that appeals to me, they look to be a quality outfit and I’m looking forward to getting down there and doing my bit to continue the success they are enjoying.”

Faddes, like backs coach Tony Brown, grew up in South Otago and has been playing for Otago since 2011, debuting against North Harbour.

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Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

New Zealand Rugby, the Highlanders and Manawatu Rugby have announced that Aaron Smith has re-committed through until at least the end of the 2019 season.

26-Year-old Smith, who has played 41 Tests for the All Blacks, 78 games (including 60 consecutive matches) for the Highlanders and more than 40 matches for the Manawatu Turbos, has become an integral part of the All Blacks and Highlanders success over the last few years. He was a standout player for the Highlanders this season, helping the team to their inaugural Super Rugby title and carried his form into the All Blacks season.

The Test scrumhalf said, “I’m really excited and thankful for the commitment shown from New Zealand Rugby, including the Highlanders and Manawatu Turbos.

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HighlandersToulon RFCEuropean champions Toulon of France and Super Rugby winners the Highlanders of New Zealand are hoping to face-off in Hong Kong on 6 February.

The 1-off fixture brings together triple European champions Toulon with the Highlanders, who landed their 1st Super Rugby title this month.

“Toulon and the Highlanders have sent off a request for agreement from their respective federations,” Philippe Spanghero, a spokesman for the organisers, told AFP.

“When that’s obtained we’ll put together a proposal to World Rugby to get all the required authorisation,” he added.

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Super Rugby trophyFollowing a massive street parade on Monday the Highlanders will take the Super Rugby Trophy to their support base over the next few weeks.

In conjunction with their community partner PlaceMakers the trophy, which weighs and impressive 28kg, will be taken to various centres throughout the Highlanders’ region to provide photo opportunities for the fans.

Highlanders’ general manager Roger Clark said, “At the game on Saturday and at the parade on Monday, so many people, young and old, wanted photos with the cup and it just wasn’t possible to give everyone an opportunity.

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Super RugbyIt is the Final of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

The long awaited game to determine the champions of 2015 is finally upon us!

Of course, the South African and Australian Franchises are already done and dusted and only 2 New Zealand sides remain in the race, the all season Log leading Hurricanes and the New Zealand Cinderella side, the Highlanders.

The Final takes place in Wellington, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), at Westpac Stadium.

The Hurricanes are firm favourites for the game, having had by far the best overall performance of all 15 Super Rugby franchises in Super Rugby 2015, and running away with the Combined Log. They certainly played entertaining rugby and a lot of it has to be attributed to their forwards finally stepping up to the plate to match their tremendous backline.

Their defensive structures were much improved and their dangerous backline fired.. if one did not know any better one would swear that every last player was on some serious performance enhancing drugs.

I’ve always said that the Hurricanes were always underperforming in relation to the team they have on paper, but in 2015 all the elements finally came together to make them a fabulous side.

Whatever happens in the final, they deserve plaudits for the season of 2015!

The Highlanders on the other side, turned a lot of seemingly no-name forwards into a monster pack and their backline players turned into a dangerous unit with All Blacks written all over every member.

The Highlanders have lost twice to the Hurricanes already in 2015 but last weekend in the semi-final against the Waratahs they showed that they have progressed upwards a number of rungs in the 2015 season and specifically in the last few weekends.

The Highlanders, having almost always been considered New zealand’s step-child Super Rugby side, have had a real Cinderella season and deserve to be in the final and one is almost unwillingly tempted to urge them on for all the honours in the Final.

As a totally neutral observer, all I can say is that I enjoyed the rugby these two teams dished up for us all in 2015… and may the best team win!

Let the Final roll on… no guts, no glory!

Enjoy it with me, folks.

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Super Rugby finalists' NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

Super Rugby finalists’ NAME PLATES, which one will be engraved?

 

After 124 games spread across 18 Rounds and a fortnight of finals, we stand at the cusp of crowning a 1st-time Super Rugby champion.

We run the rule over both teams – examine their strengths, potntial weaknesses and try to decipher where the game will be won.

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