Wing Portia Woodman dotted down four times as New Zealand prevailed 45-12 over the USA in the semifinals of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Belfast on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time). The pacy and powerful No 14 produced a stunning solo effort in a hotly contested first half, before adding three more as the four-time champions eventually shook off a physical American outfit in the second spell and powered into the tournament decider. Read more here
For the third year, we are covering the Men's NPC competition (and the Women's NPC and Heartland Championship) through this website. To view draws and results and team lists for each game (as received/released) visit Draws & Results across the top of this page.
The Southland Stags will open their 2017 Men's NPC campaign against Hake's Bay in Napier on Saturday. Logan Savory of the Southland Times takes a look at the players who are set to line up in the maroon jersey this year. Read more here
After a series of dominating displays at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia led to New Zealand’s second age-grade title in three years, a significant number of their June squad will have the opportunity to gain experience in senior rugby when the NPC begins this week. In addition, a range of players who missed out on final selection for the Baby Blacks will be looking to impress, and U18 and U19 players selected to play in the senior provincial competition will seek to establish themselves ahead of next year’s Championship. Read more here
Counties Manukau wing Portia Woodman scored a likely tournament-record eight tries in New Zealand's 121-0 rout of Hong Kong in their second Pool A match at Billings Park in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday (Monday NZ Time). Following on from their 44-12 win over Wales in their opening match, Glenn Moore's side ran rampant against their outclassed Asian opponents, running in 19 tries and adding 13 conversions. It was the third time the Black Ferns have eclipsed 100 points at a WRWC, trailing only the 134-6 win over Germany in pool play in 1998. It was New Zealand's most points since a 117-0 win over Germany in the round of 16 in 2002. Read more here
Hastings Boys' High School have lost their Super 8 rugby crown despite drawing their final 12-all against Hamilton Boys' High School in Hastings today. Hamilton Boys won the trophy courtesy of scoring the first try of the match through hooker Tane Te Aho following a 43rd minute lineout drive. Hastings have a week off before meeting the second placed Wellington team. Napier Boys' High School were pipped 21-20 by Palmerston North Boys' High School in their Hurricanes region qualifier in Napier today. Napier had an early 8-0 lead but Palmerston North gained the upperhand when wet weather hit Napier. Read more here
Don't expect to see Julian Savea spend the upcoming Wellington Lions season sulking on the wing. The 54-test veteran was the notable absentee when the All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad was named this week. Having appeared in two of New Zealand's four matches this year, and had an indifferent Super Rugby campaign with the Hurricanes, the 27-year-old was relegated to the provincial ranks. Savea was at the Lions' season launch on Friday, but excused from media duties. As a Super Rugby player, he was entitled to still be on leave but attended the launch as a show of his commitment to Wellington's cause. Read more here
Canada will host the Maori All Blacks for their first visit to Vancouver, when the two sides meet at BC Place Stadium on Friday 3 November 2017, Rugby Canada and New Zealand Rugby announced this morning. The match was announced at a special function in Vancouver early this morning. The match in Vancouver will be the first of a two-match end of year programme for the Maori All Blacks. The second fixture, to be played in Europe, will be announced in due course. Canada will be securing its top professionals for the match in order to field the strongest team possible at BC Place. Having recently lost to the USA in a home-and-home series for the North America 1 seed at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, Canada will use the 3 November fixture to prepare for the next chance to qualify for the World Cup.
New Zealand's outside backs have run amok to open their women's rugby World Cup campaign with a 44-12 win over Wales in Dublin. Fullback Selica Winiata bagged a hat-trick while there was a double for winger Renee Wickliffe as the four-time champions started the tournament in resounding fashion. Seven of the eight tries went to outside backs, with winger Portia Woodman and centre Stacey Waaka also registering. The exception to the rule was one try to lock Eloise Blackwell. Read more here
he Crusaders, the most successful team in Super Rugby history, relied on their defence to win this year's competition. That is the view of head coach Scott Robertson, who looked on as his side beat the Lions 25-17 at Ellis Park in Saturday's final to register their eighth Super Rugby title. The Crusaders had started strongly and, after a red card to Lions flank Kwagga Smith, extended their lead to 25-3. At that stage, there seemed to be no way back for the Lions, but two tries in the last quarter made for an interesting finish. It was during those final 20 minutes, Robertson says, that the Crusaders had to earn the win through their defence. Read more here
“Schoolboy rugby is quite big in Timaru. Sometimes I get noticed by strangers on the street because Timaru is only a small place. We have a lot of support from the community and that’s awesome,” Cullen Grace responds when asked about the impact the success of the Timaru Boys’ High School First XV has had in 2017.
New Zealand Rugby is mourning the loss of one of the most respected and iconic figures of the game, former All Blacks Captain Sir Colin Meads, who passed away earlier today, aged 81. Famously nicknamed ‘Pinetree’, Meads was New Zealand Rugby’s player of the 20th century and was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. New Zealand Rugby Board Chair Brent Impey has paid tribute to Sir Colin for the unrivalled mark he left on the national game.
Two new accolades are being awarded in this year's Men's and Women's NPC competitions, the Duane Monkley Medal and the Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal. The Duane Monkley Medal for player of the year in the Men's NPC and the Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal for the player of the year in the Farah Palmer Cup, the first time the women's competition has had a top player award attached to it.
The U20 Hurricanes Heartland U20 Development side today (Poverty Bay/East Coast players absent because of travelling arrangements). Following the conclusion of the Hurricanes Heartland U20 Development Series in Palmerston North today, the selectors have named the following team to compete in the Central Region Shield tournament, which commences next Saturday, 20 August. East Coast RFU : Jayden Milner.
The ‘soul of New Zealand rugby’, the National Provincial Championship, launched in Auckland today with little more than a week out from the start of the competition. All 14 provinces were represented by their captains or senior players at the College Rifles Rugby Club.