New Zealand Rugby

'There has to be a reset': Call for rugby to take a step back

The game enters 2021 in a state of flux because of the Covid-19 pandemic with suggestions that now is the time to reshape the sport.

The Heartland Championship wasn't played in 2020 because of the pandemic and details are yet to be released about how provincial rugby may look this year.

Former All Blacks assistant and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is one who wants to see more of an emphasis on amateurism.

"There has to be a reset, that much is very evident and in many ways the Covid pandemic has offered the game that possibility of a reset."

Former Chiefs wing Bryce Heem to quit Toulon to return home for 'family reasons'

The 32-year-old former Chiefs wing was a try-scorer in Toulon’s 35-13 home win over Stade Francais on Sunday (Monday NZ time), but the club later announced he would play his last game against Brive next weekend.

A statement from the club stated Heem was returning to New Zealand, and the Rugby Rama website reported that he was leaving for “major family reasons’’.

NZR must keep full control of All Blacks brand - Mains

Mains has come out swinging after hearing news the All Blacks could soon be partially controlled by American interests.

That's according to media coverage in the UK, where Sky News is reporting California-based private equity firm Silver Lake is set to acquire a 15 percent stake in New Zealand Rugby's commercial rights arm.

A deal could reportedly be reached as early as this month.

Mains said today he would hate to see any damage done to New Zealand Rugby's control of the All Blacks brand.

US equity firm to buy stake of New Zealand Rugby

The potential transaction was for a stake of "up to 15 percent" of the three-times winners of the Rugby World Cup, the source said, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

The talks with Silver Lake were first reported by Sky News, which said the deal for a 15 percent stake would value the team at about $2 billion. Sky said a deal had not been concluded, but could be announced as soon as this month.

'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.