To follow our coverage of the Men's NPC, Farah Palmer Cup Women's NPC and Heartland Championship competitions, visit the Draws & Results link across the top of this page. Use the 'Change Competition' menu on the left-hand side of the page to view other competitions other than the default one showing.
Alama Ieremia has been tasked with turning around the fortunes of the problem Auckland provincial side. Ieremia's appointment as head coach for the next three seasons was announced on Monday by the Auckland Rugby Union. The 47-year-old former Hurricanes assistant and most recently in charge of the Manu Samoa setup takes over from Nick White who stepped aside at the end of a horror 2017 campaign that saw the Auks go 3-7 and narrowly avoid relegation from the Mitre 10 Cup's Premiership division. Read more here
Former Chiefs hooker Rhys Marshall has gone from herding sheep on horseback in Hawke's Bay to playing in Europe's top rugby competition. The 25-year-old ex-Taranaki rake scored a try and pulled off a try-saving turnover as Irish province Munster thrashed the Leicester Tigers 33-10 in the European Champions Cup clash in Limerick on Saturday (Sunday NZ Time). Yet, a few years ago, Marshall was working 12-hour days on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Read more here
Shannon Paku has been confirmed as the Manawatū Rugby Union's new chief executive. The 37-year-old former Manawatū, Wellington, Hurricanes and Blues outside back will take over from John Knowles, who announced in August he was stepping aside from the role at the end of the year. Manawatū Rugby Union board chairman Tim Myers said Paku would start the role in March and Knowles would stay on to help bridge the gap until he starts. Myers said it was Paku's business acumen that put him on top of the pile. "He has owned his own business and has really good commercial awareness which at the end of the day tipped him over the line as opposed to the other applicants." Read more here
The Manawatū Club Rugby Executive have agreed to a series of changes in senior club rugby structures, including the end of the annual Easter double-header round. The committee met on Monday night to discuss the changes, which will see the season extend one week longer, kicking off on March 17 and running until July 28. There will no longer be a round of matches on Easter Monday. Read more here
The days of drawing large crowds of passionate fans to national provincial championship rugby matches seem to be over. Being able to watch a game on television in the comfort of your own home or the pub, busy lifestyles, having too many games of rugby on in a season or struggling to justify the financial costs of attending a game with the family are just some of the reasons we see so many empty seats at games. The Mitre 10 Cup [Men's NPC] is a provincial competition, featuring a large number of club rugby players at a level below professional Super Rugby and maybe it is time to instil some of the grassroots values from club rugby to appeal to the staunchly loyal rugby supporters. Read more here
Brad Shields (Petone) has announced that he will leave New Zealand Rugby at the conclusion of the Hurricanes 2018 Super Rugby campaign after signing up to play for Wasps in England. Shields has played 86 matches for the Hurricanes and 60 matches for the Wellington Lions. “It’s good to have my playing future confirmed nice and early so I can focus 100 per cent on the Hurricanes,” he said. “I’m passionate about the Hurricanes and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure I give everything I’ve got to my final season at the club.” Shields said taking the decision to leave New Zealand Rugby was a tough one, but right one for himself and his family.
Poneke hooker Dane Coles' rugby year from hell has taken another dark turn with the All Blacks hooker ruled out of the rest of the northern tour after suffering a serious knee injury with a ruptured ACL in Saturday night's (Sunday NZT) test against France in Paris. He will jet home immediately after Tuesday's game between the All Blacks and a French XV at Lyon's Groupama Stadium, joining the half-dozen called up from the Barbarians squad to supplement the touring New Zealanders. Coles' wrecked knee will require surgery and a recovery period his coach put in the four to six-month range, but will almost certainly sit around the longer part of that equation Read more here
Tauranga Sports beat Greerton Marist 26-14 in the men's final for the Sir Gordon Tietjens Trophy and Rangiuru edged Rangataua 19-12 to win the women's final for the Exia Edwards Trophy in the Baywide club rugby sevens tournament on Saturday.
Waikato have the second worst representation of NPC players in Super Rugby. New Zealand's five franchises revealed their 38-man squads for 2018 last week and only the championship's bottom province, Southland, have less than Waikato. The Stags failed to win a match in 2017 and the Mooloos will face them next year after being relegated from the premiership having lost a record seven straight matches. Waikato have just six Super Rugby players - including All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown who didn't feature this season - when every other province bar Southland (four), Manawatu (eight) and Bay of Plenty (nine) have at least 10. Read more here
Rugby player numbers in New Zealand remained strong in 2017, due largely to growing numbers of females of all ages signing up. In 2017, almost one in six registered players were female, with more than 24,000 girls and women lacing up their boots, an increase of 11 percent on 2016.
Rugby by the numbers in 2017
The All Blacks Sevens team has claimed victory at the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series with a 38-14 win over Argentina in this morning’s Final. The victory sees the All Blacks Sevens sit atop the Series standings after two legs, having finished runners-up in Dubai last weekend.
Domestic sevens kicks into action this weekend with Provincial Unions across the country taking the field at three regional sevens events. A total 36 men’s and women’s teams will compete at the Northern, Central and Southern Regional Sevens tournaments, with all three events. Up for grabs is qualification and seeding for the Bayleys National Sevens, hosted by Bay of Plenty in Rotorua on 13 and 14 January.
Champion teams the Black Ferns, New Zealand Under 20, and the Crusaders, have been nominated for Team of the Year at New Zealand’s biggest celebration of rugby, the 2017 ASB Rugby Awards. The Head Coaches from all three champion teams – Glenn Moore (Black Ferns), Scott Robertson (Crusaders) and Craig Philpott (New Zealand Under 20) – have also been shortlisted for Coach of the Year – marking remarkable seasons.
The opening round of the new season of the World Rugby Sevens series is this coming weekend in Dubai. Men The All Black Sevens team is: 1. Scott Curry 2. Tim Mikkelson 3. Tone Ng Shiu 4. Joe Ravouvou 5. Dylan Collier 6. Vilimoni Koroi 7. Sam Dickson 8. Andrew Knewstubb 9. Regan Ware 10. Isaac Te Tamaki 11. Joe Webber 12. Sione Molia Reserve 13. Kurt Baker The All Blacks Sevens meet Samoa, Argentina and USA in pool play. Friday 1 December / Saturday 2 December 6.
The All Blacks Sevens travel to Dubai to kick off the 2017/2018 HSBC Sevens World Series season next weekend.