Despite Blues missing the Southland club rugby playoffs, which will start on Saturday, Fukofuka showcased his abilities for all to see in Southland club rugby through the round-robin stages. As a result, he has been crowned Southland's premier club rugby player of the year which was determined on an MVP points basis. Read more here
New Zealand are the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series champions after taking out the final tournament in France. The team secured the world title after beating hosts France in the semifinal 21-7, before rounding out their series win with an emphatic 22-7 win over Australia in the tournament final in Clermont-Ferrand. They finished the series with 116 points after winning five of the six tournaments, with Australia 16 points back in second. They lost just one of their 36 matches this season, to the United States in the Sydney Sevens semifinals.
Rugby referee Natarsha Ganley has thrived in unfamiliar territory. After making her debut in the international game this month, on Saturday, Ganley will make history in the local club competition. Ganley was assistant referee, during the recent International Women's Series. This afternoon, Ganley will mark another milestone when she becomes the first woman to referee a North Harbour Rugby premier 1 men's club game. Canterbury, Auckland and Manawatu have already had a woman referee at premier level. Read more here
Six teams are still in the hunt for top-four places in one of the closest East Coast club rugby competitions in many years. Tirihau Victory Club (TVC), defending champions Hikurangi, Ruatoria City and Uawa are leading the charge, but Waiapu and Hicks Bay are not out of the hunt. Hicks Bay, in sixth place, are on a roll heading into tomorrow’s game against bottom-of-the-table Tawhiti, having won their past four games, including last week’s 29-27 victory over Hikurangi and a 22-20 defeat of third-placed Ruatoria. Fifth-placed Waiapu, who host Tokomaru Bay United tomorrow, recorded a 30-22 win against Uawa (fourth), while Uawa put 30 points on TVC two weeks ago. Read more here
The Awatere Rugby Club, which last year combined with Kaikoura to create East Coast Rugby, is hosting a special fundraising match between the Tasman Makos and Wellington Lions on August 10 to pay for the insurance excess of $29,000 on around $180,000 of damage to their Seddon clubrooms. Club committee member, coach and chairman of the East Coast steering committee, Andrew Lawson, says about the same amount was fundraised following the 2013 Grassmere earthquake and it was "a bit gutting" to have the newly fixed clubrooms damaged so badly again during the Kaikoura earthquake. Most of the building's aluminium window frames were sheared off and fell out, plumbing pipes severed, gib torn and cladding damaged. Read more here
The All Blacks match-day 23 to face the British and Irish Lions on Saturday sees the return of captain Kieran Read with Ardie Savea moving to the bench. Rieko Ioane has been named on the left wing replacing Julian Savea in what will be Ioane's first start in his third Test. It will also be Ioane's third time facing the Lions in the series. Coach Steve Hansen praised Ioane: I'd also like to congratulate Rieko on getting his first start for the All Blacks. His outstanding form throughout the season this year, including against the Lions, has earned him his start on the wing."
A thrilling come-from-behind victory secured Hamilton Old Boys the Waikato women's club rugby title over the weekend. They beat favourites and defending champions University 19-10 on Saturday afternoon, after trailing 10-0 at halftime. Playing on their home ground, University opened the scoring inside six minutes, when prop Kate Anderson dove over. They then extended their lead to 10 midway through the half, as hooker Natalie Delamere scored their second. But in the second half, it was all Old Boys. Read more here
It's only mid-June, but already two of the semi-finalists have been decided in Taranaki Premier club rugby. Competition leaders Coastal and defending champions Tukapa are the first two sides to book their places in the semifinals of the Taranaki premier club competition. Coastal had to dig deep and defend more than they had in any game this season to get past bottom-placed Clifton 18-12 at the Okato Domain on Saturday. Tukapa captain Mitchell Crosswell scored two tries as they beat Spotswood United 24-17 at Yarrow Stadium. Read more here
Pirates-Old Boys player Jimmy Affleck will bring up his 250th game for Pirates-Old Boys when they take on Star at the Les George Oval today. Pirates and Old Boys merged in 2001 and Affleck has played in all but one of the club's 17 seasons after he played his first game for Pirates-Old Boys in 2002. Meikle said he played for the right reasons, in terms friendship and club loyalty, and that made him the perfect club member. Not surprisingly, at 249 games, Affleck has played the most games for the club, with David Hall sitting in second. At 35 Affleck has indicated he is not done yet and is likely to feature when the 2018 season rolls around as well. Read more here
Coastal first five-eighth Beauden Barrett has been named in the All Blacks match-day squad to play his 50th Test against Samoa in Auckland on Friday night. Barrett is also currently has 297 Test points and is poised to be the fifth All Black to score 300 Test points. Brother Jordie Barrett is also on the bench and could make his Test debut.
June 22, 1993, Hawke’s Bay are running rampant against the British and Irish Lions. Ahead 19-17 after reversing a large halftime deficit the stage is set for Simon Tremain’s seminal moment in the black and white hoops. "The Lions had a lineout close to our try line. The ball was lobbed to the back and palmed several times by multiple players attempting to win it.
Club Rugby competitions are fast heading towards the playoff rounds. New Zealand Men’s NPC provinces Premier club rugby results below at a glance. For Heartland Championship club rugby results read here Northland Old Boys Marist are the clear leaders at the top of the Premiership standings, with a group of teams hunting the other three upcoming playoff berths.
I read somewhere once that the Roman mega-coliseum events were at first meant to only be seen once in a person's lifetime. Like once every 100 years. Notwithstanding no-one lived much past 50, inevitably the emperors thought this was great for keeping the populace happy. Before you could say I Claudius, it was held every year, at which point some people said enough of the commute and chose to stay at home and watch on their giant flat-tablets.
Final match report: New Zealand: 64 (Asafo Aumua 3, Luke Jacobson 2, Dalton Papali’i, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Josh McKay, Tom Christie; Stephen Perofeta 7 con) England:17 (Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell, Josh Bayliss tries; Max Mailns 1 con) New Zealand has won the World Rugby Under-20 Championship for the sixth time demolishing England by a record 64-17 in the final.
The Black Ferns team to play England in the series decider of the International Women’s Rugby Series has been named by Coach Glenn Moore today. The team is (number of caps in brackets): 1. Toka Natua (10) 2. Fiao’o Faamausili - captain (46) 3. Aldora Itunu (10) 4. Eloise Blackwell (26) 5. Charmaine Smith (10) 6. Rawinia Everitt (20) 7. Sarah Goss (4) 8. Linda Itunu (32) 9. Kendra Cocksedge (36) 10. Kelly Brazier (31) 11. Renee Wickliffe (25) 12. Chelsea Alley (13) 13.