Super Rugby

Tony Brown replaces Aaron Mauger at Highlanders

Brown replaces Aaron Mauger who left after Super Rugby Aotearoa last month following the completition of his three year contract.

The former Otago, Highlanders and All Black first five, who was an assistant under Mauger this year, has signed a two year contract.

Brown was the assistant coach with Jamie Joseph during 2014-2016 then took over the top job in 2017 and guided the team to the play-offs, this was followed by two years with the Japanese national side which historically made the quarter-finals at the 2019 World Cup.

Highlanders sign Japanese test star for 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season

The move was announced by his Top League club Toyota Verblitz on Monday, meaning the 26-year-old loose forward will join Brave Blossoms assistant coach Tony Brown – who is also Highlanders assistant and is tipped to take the vacant head coach role – in Dunedin next year.

Toyota, the club that signed former All Blacks captain Kieran Read and ex-All Blacks coach Steve Hansen last year, have also recruited Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and ex-Chiefs duo Tiaan Falcon and Michael Allardice in recent months.

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.

No surprise South Africa off to Europe - NZR

The South African board has voted to pull its four remaining teams from Super Rugby with chief executive laying the blame squarely with the New Zealand union.

South African rugby CEO Jourie Roux maintains they wouldn't have made the decision had New Zealand Rugby not decided to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition and they had been presented with a "unilateral decision by the New Zealand Rugby Union to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition.

South Africa votes to leave Super Rugby

In a widely expected move, a Special General Meeting of the South African Rugby Union has decided in favour of entering the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded PRO14, and effectively ending franchise competition against sides from Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

The lucrative European television market, and more favourable time zones and travel logistics, are behind the move, with the Cheetahs and Southern Kings having played in the PRO14 since 2017.

Auckland based 'Moana Pasifika' Super Rugby team bid unveiled - but are Fiji on board?

According to Stuff.nz the team is backed by All Black legend Bryan Williams, as well as the former Attorney Generals of both Samoa and Tonga. The group that wants to represent all of the Pacific nations, and are proposing to work closely with Counties-Manukau rugby union, who are based in south Auckland.

Tabai Matson leaves Super Rugby franchise

In a statement the Chiefs say his time has come to an end with the completion of his three year contract.

Warren Gatland took over as head coach of the Chiefs this year, although he is scheduled to lead the British and Irish Lions in South Africa next year with Clayton McMillan signed up to control the team in his absence.

There is no indication of the contract status of the other Chiefs assistant coaches Neil Barnes, Roger Randle, David Hill, Nick White and Andrew Strawbridge.

Asia Pacific Dragons keen to join Super Rugby

The Hong Kong-based Dragons were first formed as an exhibition side in 2011 and last year competed alongside teams from Fiji and Samoa in Global Rapid Rugby.

They missed out to the Sunwolves six years ago in their first attempt at joining the Super competition.

The General Manager of owners Carinat Sports Marketing, Sam Lawrence, said it was a good bid to lose.

"There was no real time for the Sunwolves to build a successful team or commercial programme and I think if you're on the back foot from the start it's virtually impossible to claw back," he said.

Blues keep Super Rugby Aotearoa title race alive

The Blues' victory moved them to 22 points, two behind the table-topping Crusaders.

Leon Macdonald's side, however, have just one fixture remaining - the final match of the domestic competition which is against the Crusaders on 16 August at Eden Park.

The Crusaders host the Highlanders next Sunday.

The Blues had not won in Dunedin since 2011 and they raced to an early 12-0 lead with tries to number eight Akira Ioane and halfback Christie.

Jaguares let best players in Argentina go

The President of the Argentine Rugby Union, Marcelo Rodriguez, said the cancellation of the 2020 edition of Super Rugby and the subsequent loss of TV, sponsorship and ticket revenue, meant there was no way to keep their best players in Argentina.

"We had to be straight with the players so they know the situation, with the uncertainty and the huge impact in the southern hemisphere," he said.

The Jaguares had effectively operated as a shadow Argentina squad since joining Super Rugby in 2016 and last year finished runners-up to the Crusaders.