New Zealand Rugby

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Super RugbyIt is Round 10 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There is only 1 game on Friday 17 April but we have 6 games on Saturday 18 April.

The Emirates Lions have a BYE weekend.

There is only 1 South African derby on the weekend, between the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls, but the DHL Stormers play their last match on tour against the Western Force and the returning Toyota Cheetahs also takes on the battling Reds team in Bloemfontein.

Only 1 undefeated team still remains prior to the start of the weekend, the Hurricanes, and they are up against lasst year’s champions Waratahs side in Wellington.

On Friday, the lone game is the exciting derby between the Crusaders and Chiefs in Christchurch, at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Hurricanes host the Waratahs at 06:30 SA Time (16:30 NZ Time, 18:30 AEST, 04:30 GMT), whereafter the Highlanders host the Blues in Dunedin at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT). At 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT) the Brumbies play the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney.

Slightly later and a couple of hours in time zones to the West – in Perth at 13:45 SA Time (19:45 AWST, 21:45 AEST, 11:45 GMT), the Western Force host the DHL Stormers.

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT), the Cell C Sharks host the Vodacom Bulls in Durban, before the last game of the Round where the Toyota Cheetahs host the Reds in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 03:10 AEST).

The game between the Crusaders and Chiefs should be a thriller on Friday, and calling a winner is difficult to do.

On Saturday one would suspect that the high-flying Hurricanes will beat last year’s struggling champions, the Waratahs in Wellington.

The Highlander sshould trounce the Blues and the Brumbies should easily dispatch the Melbourne Rebels.

In Perth the DHL Stormers will look for another win and to end their tour on the perfect note against the Western Force… and looking at recent results they should beat a struggling Force team.

The Cell C Sharks against the Vodacom Bulls is probably shaping up to be the game of the weekend and once again the question is asked who will be victorious… the sometimes unspectacular Bulls or the back-paddling “Gold-fish” (Cell C Sharks)… this one too tough to call.

In Bloemfontein all logic would suggest that the Toyota Cheetahs should beat the Rubble Reds.. and convincingly so, as the Reds have truly been diabollically bad in 2015!

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Jason Emery

Jason Emery

Tom Franklin

Tom Franklin

Highlanders’ lock, Tom Franklin, and midfielder, Jason Emery, have re-signed with the franchise for a further 2 years, signalling their commitment to the team.

Franklin, who made his debut in 2014, has played 15 games for the Highlanders and has been a regular starter this season.

He has formed a very effective locking partnership with Joe Wheeler and has the physical attributes to do the hard work while possessing the natural ball skills to contribute significantly on attack.

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Super RugbyThe 2015 season is shaping up as the most-closely contested South African Conference title race since the expansion of Vodacom Super Rugby in 2011.

The leadership of the SA Conference is up for grabs once more this weekend after 4 teams have already topped the local log so far this season, with anyone of the Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks that could be on top on Saturday night.

A mere 4 Log Points separate the Top 4 South African teams, with the Vodacom Bulls on 24 (after 8 matches), DHL Stormers on 22 (after 8 matches), Emirates Lions on 21 (after 9 matches) and Cell C Sharks on 20 (after 9 matches).

And even the 5th-placed Toyota Cheetahs are not out of the running as they trail the Cell C Sharks by only 7 points with a game in hand and a host of  local derbies to come.

Last year at a similar stage, the difference was a massive 21 points, but only the Cell C Sharks ended up making the playoffs.

In 2013, the difference between teams 1 and 4 in South Africa was 8 points at roughly the halfway stage of the competition, with the Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs eventually proceeding to the playoffs and the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks just missing out in positions 7 and 8.

In 2012, a total of 12 points separated the teams from 1st to 4th at a similar stage and in the end the DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks made the playoffs – South Africa’s most successful season yet in terms of representation in the Top 6.

Halfway through the season in the 1st year of Vodacom Super Rugby in 2011, the difference between the 1st and 4th South African teams was 20 points and in the end, only the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks progressed to the knock-out stages.

The Emirates Lions have a BYE.

Note: Teams still got 4 Log Points for every BYE between 2011 and 2013, but for this comparison we subtracted those “free points”.

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Super RugbyIn sport, teams will have strengths and weaknesses and this often dictates where their scoring threat comes from and Super Rugby is no different. This week we take a more in depth look at where tries originate from, and which teams are more likely to score from certain scenarios.


The Set Piece:

Scrums and lineouts are often the best facets of the game to put training pitch moves into action. The Brumbies boast the best lineout success rate in Super Rugby this season (91%) and it is no surprise that they have scored the most tries this season when possession has begun with a throw-in.

However, what is surprising is just how many of their tries come from the lineout. Of the 22 tries the Brumbies have scored this season, 18 have started with the Canberra-based side winning their own lineout – a staggering 82% of their total. No other side has reached double figures for the same aspect of the game, however the Cheetahs are the next-best team when it comes to making the most off ball secured from their lineout.

The Bloemfontein side has scored 9 tries after beginning possession with a lineout, making up 53% of their overall tries, whilst the Rebels (46%) and the Lions (45%) aren’t far behind when their tallies are broken down into percentages.

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made 5 changes to his starting 15 for Friday’s clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Brad Weber starts at scrumhalf and Sonny Bill Williams and Charlie Ngatai return from injury to take their place in the midfield.

Tim Nanai-Williams comes onto the right wing with Tom Marshall moving to fullback while Michael Fitzgerald, Augustine Pulu and Andrew Horrell all join the reserves.

The Chiefs won the corresponding fixture between these sides, 40 / 16 in Hamilton in Round 3. Despite that result, Rennie expects a tough battle against the 7-time champions.

“The Crusaders are a quality side,” he said.

“Our previous encounters with them have been of test match intensity and this is a must win game for both sides to remain in touch with the Hurricanes.”

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Todd Blackadder

Todd Blackadder

Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder has made 5 changes to his starting 15 for their clash with the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday.

Wyatt Crockett and Nepo Laulala will be this week’s starting props, with Joe Moody and Owen Franks acting as front-row cover off the bench..

Luke Romano returns at lock as Jimmy Tupou moves to the bench while Richie McCaw and Matt Todd have again rotated so that McCaw starts.

The only change in the backs is at inside centre, where Dan Carter takes Ryan Crotty’s spot. Crotty is recovering from a head knock received in last weekend’s loss to the Highlanders.

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Kieran Read

Kieran Read

Kieran Read has changed his mind and declined the opportunity to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

All Black superstar Read initially had his mind set on joining the New Zealand Sevens team to play in the Brazil Olympic Games, but after lengthy talks with All Black coach Steve Hanson, he has opted to concentrate on the 15-man game.

Read’s decision not to chase an Olympic medal, would have also been a relief for Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

Super Rugby players who elect to play the shorter version of the game are expected to miss approximately 6 Rounds of the competition, meaning Blackadder would have been without his skillful skipper for a 3rd of the Super Rugby season if he had chosen to play Sevens.

“I was keen to go Rio but I won’t be,” Read said at the Crusaders training session on Wednesday.

“It would be a hell of an opportunity but I will probably focus on making the All Blacks team.”

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Josh Hohneck

Josh Hohneck

The New Zealand Rugby Union are reconsidering their concussion procedures after a Highlanders player remarkably returned to the field in a Super Rugby game last weekend.

Highlanders prop Josh Hohneck was knocked out in their victory over the Crusaders in Round 9 of Super Rugby last weekend.

The 29-year-old was on the receiving end of a substantial blow during his attempt to tackle Crusaders loose forward Jordan Taufua early in the 1st half of the match in Christchurch.

Hohneck fell to the ground, but after receiving medical attention he managed to regain his feet and stumbled off the park for a concussion test.

He reportedly flew through the test and was therefore allowed to return to the field less than 10 minutes later, at which time both Referee Glen Jackson, and Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis questioned the decision.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 10 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

There will be 7 games on the weekend and the Emirates Lions is the only side to sit out on a BYE weekend.

There will be only 1 game on Friday 17 April but a full 6 games on Saturday 18 April.

The weekend action is kicked off by Nick Briant is the Friday game between the Crusaders and Chiefs in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time.

On Saturday at 06:30 SA Time Glen Jackson will be in charge of the game in Wellington between the unbeaten Hurricanes and the Waratahs, followed at 09:35 SA Time by Chris Pollock who will officiate the game between the Highlanders and Blues in Dunedin.

From there we move over to Australia where Andrew Gardiner is in charge of the whistle between the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels in Canberra at 11:40 SA Time, followed by the game between the Western Force and DHL stormers in perth at 13:45 SA Time, where Mike Fraser will preside.

2 Games are played in South Africa on Saturday, the 1st of which will be the derby between the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls at 17:05 SA Time in Durban, where Jaco Peyper will be in charge. In the last match of the Round, at 19:10 SA Time, the Toyota Cheetahs host the Reds and the match will be handled by Jaco van Heerden in Bloemfontein.

Hopefully dicipline amongst players and match officials improves this weekend and we do not have to witness a dearth of Cards, citings and suspensions!

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Simon Mannix

Simon Mannix

Once-capped All Black, Simon Mannix, has extended his contract as coach of Pau, ensured of promotion to the Top 14 next season, through until 2018, the club announced Tuesday.

Mannix, who had another year to run on his contract, extended his deal by 2 more years, according to Pau president Bernard Pontneau.

The 43-year-old, who won his sole New Zealand cap against France in 1994, cut his coaching teeth with Racing-Metro (2007 – 2011) and Munster (2011 – 2014) before taking over Pau and ensuring they topped the 2nd Division ProD2.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

The decision of All Blacks flyhalf Colin Slade to head to Europe after the World Cup has made coach Steven Hansen very aware that the exodus of New Zealand players is not yet over.

Slade is the 10th All Black so far to announce he is heading offshore at the end of the year, to join French club Pau.

Still to confirm their post-World Cup futures are Julian Savea, Sam Cane and Ryan Crotty and, coupled with expected retirements and the impact of the Olympics, coach Steve Hansen is bracing for a difficult 12 months following the World Cup in England.

Cashed-up European clubs, who once targeted players in the twilight of their careers, assisting the All Blacks into an easy rollover of talent, are now creating a talent drain by luring up-and-coming stars.

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Ryan Crotty

Ryan Crotty

Ryan Crotty has been ruled out of the Crusaders’ clash with the Chiefs as a precautionary measure, after he suffered a head knock against the Highlanders last weekend.

It is not all bad news for the Crusaders though, as star flyhalf Dan Carter could well fill the vacant No 12 spot after appearing off the bench against the Highlanders.

Injuries have played their part in marring the All Black playmaker’s season thus far, but he should be fit enough to start on the weekend.

Crotty’s absence is also offset by the return of loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Luke Romano, who were rested for the Highlanders’ game.

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Colin Slade

Colin Slade

All Black and Crusaders back Colin Slade has signed with the Section Paloise Rugby Club (Pau), departing following the World Cup.

Slade said he had not found it easy to come to the decision to play overseas but he was now excited about the opportunity.

“This is certainly not a decision taken lightly. I have given it a lot of thought and considered all my options, but I am now satisfied that moving to Pau after this year is the right decision for me at this point in my life,” Slade said.

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SANZAR under the magnifying glassSANZAR has tactfully sidestepped the latest attack on their integrity, telling South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins to “follow the proper channels” if he has grievances.

Hoskins, in a report published in a weekend newspaper, launched a scathing attack on SANZAR, the organisation that controls Southern Hemisphere competitions – Super Rugby and the Rugby championship.

The SARU boss took aim at what he regards as “the inconsistency of recent rulings at disciplinary tribunals” and also targeted SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters.

However, the SANZAR boss remained mum on the matter.

Instead a spokesperson said Hoskins is welcome to contact them to raise his concerns.

“Hoskins is aware of the correct channels to air his concerns,” a SANZAR spokesperson said.

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Callum Gibbins

Callum Gibbins

Manawatu flanker Callum Gibbins is set to stay in the New Zealand capital for another year, having recently extended his contract with Hurricanes until the end of 2016.

The 26-year-old has been with the ‘Canes since he joined as a Wider Training Group member in 2013. After 2 years in the extended squad, Gibbins signed a full contract for 2015 and has gone on to feature in all but 1 of the Hurricanes’ matches this year.

Assistant coach Richard Watt has worked with Gibbins since his arrival, and said he epitomised everything team management looked for in a player.

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Oregan Hoskins

Oregan Hoskins

South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins has spoken out strongly against the inconsistency of recent rulings at disciplinary tribunals.

Hoskins is incensed by what he believes to be the unfair handling of cases involving South African players – compared with their New Zealand and Australian counterparts.

He referred to the recent harsh bans handed to Sharks players Bismarck du Plessis (4 weeks), Frans Steyn (5 weeks) and Jean Deysel (7 weeks) – while similar offences by Kiwi and Aussie players received more lenient treatment.

“I didn’t intend to go to the media on this,” Hoskins said.

“But frankly, I’ve just had enough.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls held onto their leadership of a ferociously contested South African Conference on a weekend of success at the expense of Australian teams.

The Vodacom Bulls maintained their 2-point advantage over the DHL Stormers on the Log – as both recorded bonus point victories over the Reds (43 / 22) and Waratahs (32 / 18) respectively – while the Toyota Cheetahs showed enormous character to finish their tour on a high in Perth, with a win over the Western Force (24 / 15).

In the South African derby at Emirates Airlines Park, the Emirates Lions underlined the seriousness of their challenge for the Conference title with 2-point victory (23 / 21) over a significantly improved Cell C Sharks, who missed a long-range last-kick penalty, which could have snatched the victory.

The upshot of the weekend was that the Top 4 SA teams are separated by just 4 Log Points – in contrast to their fellow conferences where the Hurricanes top the standings as New Zealand’s Top 4 are spread by 11 points, while an even more clear-cut Australian race sees the Brumbies head a Log in which 17 points cover the Top 4 Australian contenders.

3 Of SA’s winners had to overcome halftime deficits to record victories, with the most notable being those of the DHL Stormers and Toyota Cheetahs who achieved it on Australian soil.

However, the margins were small – both trailed by 2 points – while the Emirates Lions turned round 3 points adrift of the Cell C Sharks, as all 3 teams showed fitness and character to ‘win’ the 2nd half.

In the other match, the Vodacom Bulls’ recent home success over the Reds continued, as they stomped to a 6-try victory, with Francois Hougaard scoring 2 tries from the wing to take his tally to 4 for the season and therefore joining Marcell Coetzee as the leading South African try scorers.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 9 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There is only 1 game on Friday 10 April but we have 5 games on Saturday 11 April.

The Melbourne Rebels, Chiefs & Hurricanes have BYE weekends.

There is 1 South African derby on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks, with 2 SA sides currently on tour and the Vodacom Bulls also playing inside South Africa on the weekend.

Only 1 undefeated team still remains prior to the start of the weekend, the Hurricanes, and they celebrate their 2nd BYE weekend this weekend.

On Friday, the lone game is the one between the Blues and Brumbies in Auckland, at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Ccrusaders host the Highlanders in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs will host the DHL Stormers in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT).

Slightly later and a couple of hours in time zones to the West – in Perth at 13:45 SA Time, the Western Force host the Toyota Cheetahs.

Next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT), the Emirayes Lions host the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg, before the last game of the Round where the Vodacom Bulls host the Reds in Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 03:10 AEST).

The Brumbies should beat the Blues, even in the Blues backyard of Auckland on Friday.

On Saturday one would suspect that the high-flying Crusaders will beat the Highlanders in Christchurch (after they so thoroughly dismantled the Sharks last weekend in Durban).

Waratahs or DHL Stormers? Well, I suppose the advantage should go to the home team… the Waratahs.

In Perth another difficult game to pick a winner for… will it be the bottom-dwelling Western Force or the also-bottom-dwelling Toyota Cheetahs to appear victorious? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Emirates Lions vs Sharks game is probably shaping up to be the game of the weekend and once again the question is asked who will be victorious… the flying Lions or the back-paddling “Gold-fish” (Cell C Sharks)… surely the Sharks have always or almost always had the Lions’ measure… and why should 2015 be so different?

In Pretoria all logic would suggest that the Bulls should beat the Rubble Reds.. and convincingly so, but the Bulls are still resting key players and often flatter to deceive in recent years!

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Ben Afeaki

Ben Afeaki

Ben Afeaki has decided to retire from all rugby due to medical reasons.

Afeaki suffered concussion in February 2014 during a Super Rugby match against the Crusaders. He was cleared to resume training as part of a graduated return to play plan.

He suffered a further knock during training the next month and has not played since.

The 27-year-old prop played 36 matches for the Chiefs, was an All Black in 2013 and played 8 matches for the Maori All Blacks.

Afeaki said retirement was the best decision for his long term health and he continued to make good progress in his recovery.

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Super RugbyWith only 2 points separating 4 of the South African franchises on the Vodacom Super Rugby log after 8 weeks of play, Round 9 of the competition will again be crucial for local teams, with the derby in Johannesburg between the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks set to attract huge interest from spectators.

The remaining 3 South African sides play Australian opponents on Saturday, with the DHL Stormers taking on the Waratahs in Sydney, the Toyota Cheetahs playing the Western Force in Perth and the Vodacom Bulls closing out a big weekend of rugby in their Pretoria clash against the Reds.

The DHL Stormers will be looking for a 1st tour win against the defending champion Waratahs, knowing that the home side has won 12 of their last 13 matches in Sydney, with a victory margin of 18 points per match.

The Toyota Cheetahs will still be chasing a 1st overseas win in 2015, when they close out their tour against the Western Force at the NIB Stadium in Perth. The Cheetahs have won at this venue in the past, but will have to defend like never before.

They average the most missed tackles in the competition, while the home side maintains the best tackling success rate (90%).

The Emirates Lions host the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park in the only South African derby of the weekend, which is expected to be a fiercely contested clash. The home team is well aware that a win could push them into 1st place in the South African conference, albeit that the Vodacom Bulls could again overhaul them later in the evening.

The Cell C Sharks will be desperate to put their recent misfortunes behind them and win away from home.

The Vodacom Bulls take on the Reds, who despite not having the greatest of seasons, have a good record against the Loftus Versfeld team, winning 10 of their 16 encounters. Continue reading

Ben Franks

Ben Franks

Dan Carter has returned to the Crusaders team via the bench, after coach Todd Blackadder named an unchanged backline for their match against the Highlanders in Christchurch on Saturday.

There are 3 changes in the forwards, with Joe Moody and Owen Franks the starting props this week, and Alex Hodgman and Nepo Laulala providing cover from the bench.

Jimmy Tupou starts at lock alongside Sam Whitelock, and Scott Barrett is in the reserves.

This will be Franks’ 100th game for the Crusaders, which coach Todd Blackadder says is a remarkable achievement that will be celebrated by the whole team.

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HighlandersHighlanders Head Coach Jamie Joseph has kept faith with the team that beat the Stormers by naming an unchanged line up for Saturday’s Super Rugby derby against the Crusaders.

The Crusaders are fresh off a demolition job on the Sharks in Durban while the Highlanders return from a week off for the bye.

Traditionally a close encounter both sides will be keen to maintain their recent success heading into the halfway point of the competition.

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Brad Thorn

Brad Thorn

Former New Zealand lock Brad Thorn is retiring at the end of the season following a glittering 21-year career in which won the biggest prizes in rugby league and union.

The 40-year-old started out in league with the Brisbane Broncos, represented Queensland in the state of origin and won 3 caps for Australia.

Thorn moved back to New Zealand in 2001 and joined the Canterbury Crusaders, playing 12 tests for the All Blacks.

He went back to rugby league with the Broncos from 2005 – 2007 but returned to union and the last of his 59 All Blacks appearances was the 2011 World Cup final in which they beat France 8 / 7.

Thorn helped Ireland’s Leinster lift the 2012 Heineken Cup, becoming the 1st man to play in victorious World Cup, Super Rugby and European Cup teams.

He joined English Premiership club Leicester last year and has helped the Tigers climb to 4th in the standings.

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Bryce Heem

Bryce Heem

Worcester Warriors have announced the signing of New Zealand wing Bryce Heem, who will join the Club in July from Super Rugby side, the Chiefs.

The 26-year-old has impressed during this season’s Super Rugby campaign and scored a try on his debut during his side’s victory over the Blues in the 1st game of the season.

Heem had previously been a stand-out performer for Tasman Makos during their impressive 2013 and 2014 NPC campaigns and helped the side to the final of the competition last October.

The wing, who stands at 1.93m, was an influential member of the New Zealand Sevens team between 2011 and 2014, touring the world on the Sevens World Series circuit and picking up a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games last year.

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BluesBlues head coach Sir John Kirwan has named a Super Rugby team with 4 changes to the side that lost to the Chiefs for this week’s clash against the Brumbies at Eden Park.

3 Of the Blues 4 changes are in the forwards, as James Parsons comes in to replace Keven Mealamu at hooker and Patrick Tuipulotu replaces Hayden Triggs.

There will be blazer games (20 matches) for Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tu’ungafasi with Sam Prattley playing off the bench.

On the flank the recently re-signed Steven Luatua is rotated to the bench and Luke Braid takes over at No 6. When Steven Luatua comes off the bench it will be his 44th game for the Blues.

Kirwan has opted for 2 openside loose forwards to start against the speedy Brumbies loosies.

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Steven Luatua

Steven Luatua

Outstanding loose forward Steven Luatua has pledged his allegiance to the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for a further 2 years.

The burly flank has re-signed through to the end of the 2017 season.

Luatua defies his 23 years, having already played 14 Tests for the All Blacks and 43 Super Rugby caps for the Blues.

He has a rich pedigree as a former New Zealand school representative and played in successive Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 teams – in 2010 and 2011.

He made his provincial debut as a teenager in 2010, his debut for the Blues in 2012 and his All Blacks debut the following year in the 24 / 9 victory over France in New Zealand.

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Steve Tew

Steve Tew

New Zealand Rugby is in the black for the 3rd year in a row, after announcing a profit of NZ$ 373 000.00 for the 2014 financial year.

NZRU 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.”

NZRU’s revenue in 2014 rose NZ$ 4 million to NZ$ 120.8 million.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 9 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

The Chiefs, Hurricanes & Melbourne Rebels each have a BYE weekend this weekend.

There will only be 6 Super Rugby games on the weekend, 1 game on Friday and 5 games on Saturday.

Andrew Lees kicks of the weekend’s action when he blows the game between the Blues and Brumbies in Auckland on Friday. Due to Daylight Savings time changes, the game is at 09:35 SA Time (not 08:35 as in the first number of Rounds).

On Saturday morning at 09:35 SA Time it is the Crusaders vs Highlanders in Christchurch, where Glen Jackson will be in charge. Then it is the turn of the Waratahs vs DHL Stormers at 11:40 SA Time, where Mike Fraser will blow the whistle.

At 13:45 SA Time it will be the Western Force vs Toyota Cheetahs in Perth, where Rohan Hoffmann will be in charge of proceedings.

The South African based games for the weekend are the games between the Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time, controlled by Stuart Berry, as well as the Vodacom Bulls vs Reds game in Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time, where Jaco Peyper will be in charge.

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Super RugbyThe Emirates Lions scored a dramatic late try at Emirates Airlines Park to beat the Vodacom Bulls on a weekend where the Johannesburg-based side was the only South African team to register a win in Round 8 of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

The losing bonus point secured by the Vodacom Bulls did push them to the top of the South African Conference standings though as they moved past the Cell C Sharks who lost heavily to the Crusaders in Durban.

Both sides have 19 log points, but things are tight in the conference, with the DHL Stormers who were edged out by the Hurricanes in Wellington and the Emirates Lions both on 17 points. The Toyota Cheetahs, who lost to the Brumbies in Canberra, props up the local conference with only 9 Log points.

There was plenty of drama in Durban on Saturday, where a plethora of cards almost made a mockery of the 15’s code. The Crusaders at one stage had 3 players in the bin with Yellow Cards, before Jean Deysel was shown a Red for using his knee on an opponent’s head.

This was the 2nd biggest defeat suffered by the Cell C Sharks in the competition, as this 42 point deficit is 1 less than the 43 points difference they suffered against the Crusaders in 2005, when the home side won 77 / 34 in Christchurch.

The Toyota Cheetahs found little comfort in Canberra, a venue they have never won at.

2 Early tries in the beginning of each half helped the Brumbies to beat the Cheetahs, who failed to cross their opponent’s tryline, with a lone Joe Pietersen penalty the only reward to the central franchise team.

On Friday the DHL Stormers found the home side too slick in the 1st half and could not overhaul the 25 / 3 deficit in the 2nd 40 minutes of play. The Cape side dropped to a 5th consecutive defeat to a New Zealand opponent, the 1st time they have lost 5 in a row in New Zealand since 1998.

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Kieran Read

Kieran Read

Crusaders captain Kieran Read has said, despite his teams emphatic victory over the Sharks in Durban, some of his players need lessons in fair play.

The Crusaders were shown 3 Yellow Cards, that all overlapped, in the 1st half, but little damage was done as the Sharks squandered any advantage by receiving a Red Card of their own.

Although there was no damage done to the scoreboard while the Crusaders were down to 12 men, in fact, points were picked up, Read is still not happy with the those individual’s actions.

It was not ideal,” Read said after the match.

“We have to learn a few lessons, those individuals especially,”

However, the captain was happy to see that those loss of personnel allowed the team to galvanize rather than fall apart.

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