The Hurricanes negotiated a tenacious Brumbies side in Canberra on Friday night in their Super Rugby quarter-final The Brumbies were right in the match at halftime, but weight of possession and territory for the Hurricanes finally bore fruit when returning rake Dane Coles passed inside to halfback TJ Perenara to score the match-breaking try. HURRICANES 35 (Wes Goosen 2, Jordie Barrett, TJ Perenara tries; Jordie Barrett 2, Beauden Barrett conversions; Jordie Barrett 3 penalties) bt ACT BRUMBIES 16 (James Dargaville, Josh Mann-Rea tries; Wharenui Hawera 2 penalties)
Mike Delany has returned from England to play for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the upcoming NPC season. Delany has recently returned from England where he was playing for the Newcastle Falcons in the English Premiership. Delany has previously clocked up over 60 caps for BoP, the 35 year old first five eighth brings a wealth of knowledge and experience back to NZ. In a career spanning over a decade, Delany has previously played Super Rugby for both the Highlanders and the Chiefs prior to heading overseas to play for Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights, French Club Clermont Auvergne and the Newcastle Falcons.
Napier Old Boys Marist loose forward Matt Gardner produced three tries in a player-of-the-match performance for his team on Saturday to become the 17th weekly winner and establish a two-point lead on the leaderboard with one round remaining in the tussle to become this season's holder of the Hawke's Bay Club Rugby Player of the Year award. Read more here
Otorohanga clinched their semifinal spot in the last round of Waikato premier club rugby with a resounding 52-24 victory over Fraser-Tech on Saturday. They'll now visit Hamilton to play Marist on Saturday, after Marist finished top of the table with an 80-7 thrashing of University. Hautapu did everything they could to leap Otorohanga into fourth, but their mammoth 79-7 bonus point win over United Matamata Sports wasn't enough. Otorohanga's forwards laid the platform for their victory by dominating the set-piece and they put plenty of pressure on Tech early when they opted for a scrum following a late tackle penalty. Read more here
Rugby's law book is being shredded by a whopping 50 per cent, as the game gets closer to a much-needed simplification. By late 2018 we could all be enjoying a simpler game, thanks to the World Rugby Council's commissioning of a technical group to undertake a Laws Simplification Project. At the completion of the northern season in mid-2018, the trials will be reviewed by the Laws Review Group in June, with recommendations made to the Rugby Committee in October, then Council to confirm the amendments in November 2018. Read more here
Adam Boult's arrival on the Manawatu club scene has been packed with highlight worthy plays. Plenty of classy and experienced outside backs have been left grasping for air as he bolted past them this season, his first for Te Kawau. And heading into the final week of the regular season, he tops all try scorers with 14. Remarkably, he only turned 18 this year. He is a shoo-in for the Manawatu Under 19 team and is eligible for another season in the side next year. Read more here
Wairarapa-Bush head coach Joe Harwood is excited at the amount of young talent included in the 30-man squad selected to prepare for the 2017 Heartland rugby championship. The number of players who are bidding to represent the combined unions at this level for the very first time stretches well into double figures and Harwood sees that as a positive sign for the future of the sport there.The decision of former All Black halfback Piri Weepu to make himself available for Wairarapa-Bush was welcomed by Harwood who said his leadership skills would be invaluable.View the squad and read more here
In-form Napier Old Boys Marist first five-eighth Johnny Lauano didn't know he was playing his 150th game for the team until an hour before kick-off on Saturday. Nor could he remember his first season with the side. But there was one thing Lauano, 29, was certain of after Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited Napier Old Boys Marist's 40-10 win against Hastings Rugby and Sports in the feature Maddison Trophy seventh-round clash at Elwood Park. This was the team's 30th consecutive win during the past two seasons and the 16th time they had secured maximum competition points this season. Read more here
After four months on the sideline, Hurricanes captain Dane Coles (Poneke) appears destined for a return to active duty. It won't be on Saturday, when the team host the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium, but it shouldn't be too long after that. Particularly with a trip to Cape Town on the cards. As the stands today, the Hurricanes will meet the Brumbies in Canberra in the Super Rugby quarterfinals. Read more here
Timaru took its chance to hold a match between two Super Rugby teams with both hands.The Crusaders and Highlanders visited for a mid-season clash and the Timaru rugby community were treated to fine weather and some good rugby, with the only downside being the result, as the Crusaders were humbled 33-12. It was a fantastic day out as an estimated 4500 people turned up to support the teams. Read more here
Adrian Wyrill saved the day for Tukapa scoring when time was well and truly up to help Tukapa win back-to-back Taranaki premier club rugby titles beating Coastal 17-14. Before Wyrill’s patient effort, Tukapa were camped inside Coastal’s 22m area for 10 minutes pounding away at the line phase after phase trailing by 17-10. At this point Coastal were a man down as flanker Blake Barrett was yellow carded for slowing the ball down close to the line.
Club rugby competitions in the 14 Men’s NPC provincial unions are now in their concluding stages for 2017 season, with some semi-finals and finals this weekend. Congratulations to Marist in Southland and Tukapa in Taranaki for winnin their respective Premier competitions.
9.36pm Saturday, I text my partner: We drew! She: Will they play another game? Me: Yes! In twelve years time . . . So before we start the countdown, here are some random observations. No doubt you'll have your own. The Lions were a very good side. For that to happen is little short of a miracle, and a huge compliment to all involved.
Above: Tukapa captain Mitchell Crosswell has led Tukapa to their second final in two years with a tight win over Spotswood United. A penalty to Jayson Potroz with five minutes remaining sealed the deal for defending champions Tukapa who march through to the Taranaki Premiership finals beating Spotswood United 16-15 at Sanders Park.
Club rugby competitions are hurtling towards their conclusions for the 2017 season, with semi-finals and finals starting next weekend.