All Blacks

Israel Dagg takes his personality and rugby know-how into broadcasting

Dagg, the 66-test veteran who stepped away from the game earlier this month because of a persistent knee problem, has joined Sky Sport.

Sky rugby fans can look forward to seeing the former Magpies, Highlanders, Crusaders and All Blacks fullback and wing a lot more on Sky Sport

The witty and insightful Dagg will be a regular panellist on Thursday night's Kick-off with Kirstie Stanway from April 25.

Dagg will also feature in Sky rugby match build-ups, post matches and will help generate stories for Sky rugby shows.

Door still open for Ma'a Nonu to make All Blacks' World Cup squad: Steve Hansen

Nonu was not invited to be part of the 41-man group which assembled in Wellington on Monday, but was offered a ray of hope when head coach Steve Hansen said the veteran midfielder would "be considered like anybody else".

Hansen said the selectors had decided to invite only players involved in the All Blacks' 2018 campaign.

"There are some guys who aren't here that, if you were picking it on form, probably would be here, but the rules are the rules and we are all playing by them."

Nonu's World Cup dream appears to be over

Coach Steve Hansen has unveiled 41 players to attend a "foundation day" in Wellington next week in the first significant step towards winning the Webb Ellis Cup for a third-straight time.

There are few notable omissions aside from Nonu, whose last Test was the triumphant 2015 World Cup final.

The 36-year-old played for French club Toulon before returning to Super Rugby with the Blues, where his performances had been solid until last week's virtuoso performance against the NSW Waratahs.

Akira Ioane makes the cut, named in All Blacks' 41 player invitation in Wellington

The All Blacks management team announced today 41 players who will be attend the get-together.

Ioane was left out of All Blacks' 51-man squad northern hemisphere tour at the end of last year.

New Zealand Rugby's head of high performance Mike Anthony said the timing of the foundation day is important, given the players' busy rugby schedule in 2019.

"Given the All Blacks have an incredibly short lead-in time to the upcoming international season, culminating in the Rugby World Cup, and with there being no camps during the Super Rugby season," said Anthony.

Dagg forced to hang up his boots

The former All Blacks fullback has made the decision following medical advice, as a long-term knee injury hasn't allowed him to train and play at an elite level.

Dagg played 66 tests for the All Blacks over an eight year period, last featuring internationally in the test against Argentina in New Plymouth in September 2017.

He also played 89 matches for the Crusaders, 25 games for the Highlanders and made 50 appearances for his beloved Hawke's Bay Magpies.

Smith recommits to NZ Rugby beyond RWC

The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal.

Smith has been a mainstay in the national side since making his All Blacks debut in 2012, playing 82 tests - making him New Zealand's most capped number nine.

He's excited to confirm that his future would be in New Zealand.

"From my earliest playing days, my focus has always been about being passionate about the teams I play for and I've always enjoyed giving 100 percent to the teams I represent," Smith said.

Owen Franks joins All Blacks exodus

The 31-year-old was a member of both the 2011 and 2015 World Cup-winning teams - and has 106 test caps to his name.

Franks will join older brother Ben and former All Black prop Ben at Northampton - and says the move presents a great opportunity to test himself in a new rugby environment, and reconnect with family there.

Franks has been named to start for the Crusaders in their Super Rugby opener tomorrow night against Blues in Auckland.

Dane Coles recommits to NZ Rugby

His recommitment means New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes can continue to rely on his outstanding leadership, skill and experience for the next three years.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, who led the Hurricanes to the club's first Investec Super Rugby title a year later, said he was committed to continuing his career in New Zealand.

"I still feel like there are things that I want to achieve in New Zealand with teams that mean a lot to me," Coles said.

Joe Schmidt rules out NZ coaching job after World Cup

New Zealand born Schmidt said he's committed to having at least 12 months off to spend more time with his family, in particular, his 15-year-old son, Luke who suffers from epilepsy and battled a brain tumour when he was younger.

Schmidt's decision means the All Blacks will have to look elsewhere for a new head coach to replace Steven Hansen, who announced last month he'll stand down at the end of the World Cup.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand plots title defence

Time is running out for teams to be ready and long-serving manager Darren Shand is confident the All Blacks are almost there, thanks largely to their two-week stay last year.

For Kiwis, the Rugby World Cup will undoubtedly be biggest event of the sporting year and while the players are on holiday before a big season, there's plenty to do behind the scenes, as Shand tries to give them their best shot at success.