New Zealand's Fairfax rugby writers have compiled a Super Rugby team guide for the NZ teams on the eve of this year's competition. Read more here
The Hurricanes are losing Callum Gibbins with the flanker signing for Scottish outfit Glasgow in a move that highlights New Zealand's growing coaching connections in the north. The 28-year-old will play out the imminent Super Rugby season and fulfil his commitments to Manawatu before heading north in a three-year deal. He will link with his Manawatu connections, former coaches Dave Rennie and Jason O'Halloran, who are taking over at the club. It's a loss with Gibbins part of the Hurricanes mix that secured last year's breakthrough title. He has played 26 times for the Canes, scoring three tries. Read more here
Everybody came away from the sold-out Dallison Park with something that they wanted from the Farmlands Grassroots Game Day in Waverley on Friday evening. With 'home' side the Hurricanes and the visiting Crusaders fielding virtually all of their stars for what amounted to two 40 minute games against separate XV's, opposing coaches Chris Boyd and Scott Robertson were able to confirm their regular starters should be the form players to begin the Super Rugby campaign this coming weekend. Read the rest of the community rugby summary by the Wanganui Chronicle here
New Super Rugby season, new opportunities for young players to impress in New Zealand. In looking at the five Kiwi teams, Marshall notes that 33 players will be making their debuts and looks at their chances. Read more here
Beauden and Jordie Barrett will combine for the first time in Hurricanes colours when they face the Crusaders in Waverley on Friday. The two Coastal club brothers are included in the Hurricanes' squad named on Thursday for their final pre-season match at the Border rugby club before they defend their Super Rugby title in 2017. Beauden and Jordie will start at first five-eighth and fullback respectively, with Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd welcoming All Blacks back to his team after reaching the semi-finals of last weekend's inaugural Brisbane Global Tens. TJ Perenara (Northern United) and Julian and Ardie Savea (Oriental-Rongotai) are back in the fold, but Hurricanes captain Dane Coles will not play in Waverley as he prepares for the coming season. Read more here
All Blacks outside back Israel Dagg is here to stay. The 28-year-old Dagg has today confirmed that he has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and Hawke's Bay Magpies through to 2019, spurning offers from overseas to continue playing for the teams he loves. "There's no doubt that there were some attractive offers to consider," Dagg said, "but at the end of the day I love my life here in New Zealand with my family, friends and team mates and I'm not ready to give that up. I still feel blessed every time I pull on the jersey for the All Blacks, Crusaders or Magpies so I consider it an honour to be able to keep working hard to earn that right for the next three years." Dagg's re-commitment comes just days after his team mate Ben Smith re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.
As the Chiefs head into their first pre-season Super Rugby hitout of the year - against the Bulls in Brisbane tonight - one man in particular will be desperate to grasp the opportunity to be in the thick of it.Openside flanker Mitch Karpik is sure to lap up the chance to roam the Ballymore field, having been dealt a cruel blow at this corresponding time last year, with injury ending his debut Super Rugby campaign before it even started. After a superb NPC for Auckland in 2015, along with being part of the triumphant New Zealand side at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy, Karpik scored a deal with the Chiefs and was looking forward to learning plenty off Sam Cane, while also pushing his own claims. However, after impressing in the time he did get in the team's first trial match against the Waratahs in Rotorua, the blonde-locked tearaway had to be helped off the field with what was eventually diagnosed as a ruptured ACL in his left knee. Read more here
Inconsistency again cost the All Blacks Sevens team, this time in Sydney, but they are making gradual progress in the World Series. They play some good sevens at times, but in stifling heat and humidity, made errors at crucial moments, especially in the Cup semifinal defeat to England yesterday, and were not always clinical in their finishing. Day one on Saturday was symptomatic of this, the unbeaten run to the top of Pool C punctuated by a lack of fluency. Their best display came in yesterday's 24-21 Cup quarter-final victory over Fiji, reversing the result from the corresponding fixture in Wellington a week ago. Read more here
A South American flavour has been added to Invercargill with over 30 youngsters in the city chasing their rugby dream. Players from Chile, Argentina, and one from Venezuela, are in Invercargill for a six-week training stint to improve their rugby skills and knowledge. Southland Boys' High School has developed a relationship with promising rugby players in Chile during recent years and it has continued to evolve. The connection started when former All Black Paul Henderson had a stint coaching in Chile. Read more here
One year ago, Melville rugby club could scarcely of believed they would be hosting this year's national club sevens as defending champions. But they surprised everyone, including themselves, to win last year's tournament in Wainuiomata after almost not sending a team. That triumph was one of many as Melville made Waikato club rugby history in 2016, as they became the first club to win four premier club trophies in a season. Now Collins Road will host the Middlesex County national club sevens on Saturday and Sunday, with 16 teams - each being allowed one invitational player - competing for the Wavell Wakefield Cup. Read more here
Cheyelle Robins-Reti joins the Black Ferns Sevens team for the first time, following a stint as travelling reserve to the Sydney tournament, in an otherwise unchanged and experienced team to play the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournament in Las Vegas next week, while Ambrose Curtis returns to the All Blacks Sevens team for the fourth leg of the Men's series.
Above: Monica Tagoai, from Condor Sevens winning captain to New Zealand Sevens Development squad. A group of talented players will be winging their way to Japan next month as part of the Black Ferns Sevens Development Squad. The team will depart on Saturday 11 March and return Sunday 19 March. They will be involved in a four team mini tournament on the 16 and 17 March featuring the Japan National Women’s Sevens Squad with two sides and Hong Kong National Women’s Team.
Above: Winners Feilding Old Boys Oroua and Petone after the women’s final UPDATE : In a repeat of last year, teams from Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Wellington won the main prizes at the Paladin Sports Hawke’s Bay Sevens tournament at Waipukurau on Saturday.
The Crusaders Knights have selected a 32-man squad for the 2017 season, which includes nine New Zealand U20 trialists, as well as current Canterbury and Tasman Men's NPC players. The side will play their first of three matches on Saturday 25 February against the Highlanders development side (Bravehearts), with the match scheduled to kick off at 1:45pm from Linfield Park in Christchurch.
The Petone Colts will be gunning for a four-peat of Paladin Sports Hawke’s Bay Sevens titles this Saturday at the annual tournament hosted by the Central Hawke’s Bay Rugby and Sports Club in Waipukurau. The Petone Colts are proud holders of the Angus Cup, having won it consecutively in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Last year they beat Palmerston North Boys’ High School 27-12 in the Colts final, after defeating Havelock North 17-14 the previous year.