New Zealand Rugby

'Now or never': Pasifika side hits out at New Zealand Rugby's 'shady' Super Rugby snub

NZR confirmed the Herald‘s report that the hugely popular Super Rugby Aotearoa will return next year, with the addition of a final, and the hope of then staging crossover matches with the five Australian teams.

The NZR board opted to reject the addition of a Pasifika side next year due to concerns around its immediate competitiveness in such a compressed timeframe, and apparent insufficient corporate support to prove a self-sustainable future.

NZR steering clear of blame game

New Zealand Rugby, though, says South Africa's been plotting the move for some time.

The South African board has voted to pull its four remaining teams from Super Rugby and explore joining an expanded PRO 14 tournament in Europe.

It's a decision which hasn't come as a surprise to most.

What is raising some eyebrows, however, is where they're laying the blame.

Chief executive Jourie Roux said their hand has been forced by New Zealand Rugby choosing to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition.

New Zealand-hosted Bledisloe Cup dates and locations confirmed

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: “We’re delighted to lock in the dates and venues for the two home matches against Australia and look forward to seeing the Bledisloe Cup go on the line next month.”

Robinson said NZR was grateful to the New Zealand Government for easing the isolation restrictions to allow the Wallabies to come into the country and prepare for the Test matches, and also thanked Rugby Australia for their support.

Barrett and Mo'unga go head to head in North-South match

The game, essentially an All Blacks trial, will be played in front of no fans.

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster will name his first squad of the year following the game on Sunday.

Barrett will run the backline for the North, which includes Damian McKenzie at fullback, and Sevu Reece and young Blues star Caleb Clarke on the wings.

Curiously, though it probably doesn't matter, TJ Perenara will start at halfback with Aaron Smith on the bench.

The in-form Jordie Barrett is at fullback for the South, with exciting Crusaders outside back Will Jordan on the wing.

No exemptions given for Auckland players to travel to Wellington for North vs South match

The inter-island match is scheduled to take place next Saturday at Eden Park, but the feasibility of the match being hosted in Auckland has been shrouded in uncertainty as the city will remain in level three lockdown until three days before the fixture.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has subsequently been preparing for a contingency plan, outlining earlier this week that they were hopeful the match could still be played in Auckland but were preparing for it to be played in Wellington on the same day.

Speculation of SANZAAR's demise premature

The future of the SANZAAR alliance has been cast into further doubt after a leaked report suggested New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) Aratipu review recommends the country pursues a trans-Tasman competition which would also included a Pacific side from 2021.

Media reports have suggested too the alliance - of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina could be broken up.

But NZR chief executive Mark Robinson says the board is yet to discuss the recommendations of Aratipu review of Super Rugby.

Beauden Barrett to Japan, but will still play for All Blacks

Britain's Daily Mail is reporting that Barrett will move to Japan in December after signing a two-season, $3 million contract with the Suntory club.

The report says the 29-year-old will not be available for the All Blacks in 2021 and 2022, with New Zealand Rugby agreeing to the deal to help it overcome the economic hit from Covid-19.

However RNZ understands Barrett will only miss next year's Super Rugby season, and not any international rugby.

It is understood any deal that has been reached has been negotiated between the Blues and Suntory, not New Zealand Rugby.

Groundbreaking deal: All Blacks for sale - if you have $300m

As part of the Business of Rugby series, the Herald can today reveal that NZR is trying to sell its entire portfolio of jersey sponsorship rights — the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Sevens, M?ori and under-20 team — to a single investor, possibly a major US or Japanese advertising agency.

The agency would then on-sell the rights to specific companies that want to put their name on the team’s jerseys.

Scrums won't be banned in NZ

World Rugby is considering the moves to reduce the transmission risk of Covid-19 but will ultimately leave any final decision up to national bodies.

All Blacks and Chiefs halfback Brad Weber has labelled the proposal ridiculous but New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson says players here won't have to play under those rules.

Robinson says the proposal is designed to get the game "safely back on the field in difficult circumstances in the Northern Hemisphere".

High price puts kibosh on Tasman signing ex-All Black Liam Squire

Although contracted to Japanese club NTT Docomo Hurricanes for two seasons, Squire has returned to New Zealand due to the Top League competition being cancelled because of Covid-19.

Recruiting the 23-test loose forward, who has played 47 games for Tasman, would undoubtedly be welcomed by rugby followers at the top of the South Island but Tasman CEO Tony Lewis said he won’t take the field for the Mako because of financial reasons.