Super Rugby

Blues star nearly beats Beauden Barrett's fitness record as Super Rugby pre-season training kicks-off

Looking to build on their second-place finish in Super Rugby Aotearoa last year, the Blues congregated at their Alexandra Park training base on Thursday and were put through their paces with their annual Bronco test that takes place on the first day of each pre-season.

It was that fitness drill that saw All Blacks star Beauden Barrett‘s name dominate headlines seven months ago as he crushed the Auckland franchise’s test record upon return to training from last year’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Highlanders and Reds to kick off Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

The draw has been finalised for the five-week competition.

The Highlanders and Crusaders will be at home in round one with the Hurricanes, Blues and Chiefs heading to Australia for the start of a tournament that pits New Zealand's five Super Rugby against the Reds, NSW Waratahs, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.

The final between the two top-placed teams on the combined competition table is scheduled for Saturday, 19 June.

Pacific Super Rugby bids have work to do - NZ Rugby

Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua are NZR's "preferred partners" to join the new-look competition, alongside the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia.

But NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said the respective bids still had to finalise how they would be structured, their business/financial models and what their potential playing rosters and facilities would look like.

Highlanders appoint Shane Christie as defence coach

The move also deepens the Highlanders’ ties to the Tasman Mako and the men from the Deep South will hope that Christie can introduce the defensive starch that has been evident in the Mako's play over the past two seasons.

“Obviously I am stoked to be able to work alongside Brownie, Derms and Flutes,” the 35-year-old said in a statement.

“The chance to coach defence for the Highlanders is an awesome opportunity and I can’t wait to get to Dunedin and get stuck into our work.

“It’s already been a big year and this is a great way to finish it for me”.

Blues bring back their coaching group for another crack in 2021

The franchise confirmed ahead of this week's squad announcement for 2021 (7am Thursday) that their entire coaching group had reupped for next season at least as they look to make further ground in the wake of their 2020 breakthrough.

Defence coach Tana Umaga, who is closely linked with the Moana Pasifika group seeking to come into Super Rugby for 2022, had already announced his one-season extension at the Blues to join head coach Leon MacDonald, while forwards coach Tom Coventry and back attack/skills guru Dan Halangahu have confirmed they will remain on board “until 2022”.

Hurricanes utility excited to represent his Pasifika heritage

The All Black hopeful said playing for his nation of heritage would rule him out of New Zealand selection, so the Moana Pasifika provided a unique opportunity to represent his Samoan roots without that consequence.

"I thought it would be a cool opportunity for us Polynesian people that don't get a chance to play in the All Blacks or the New Zealand Māori, to showcase our talent and to represent our countries," he said.

Ex-Highlanders coach to join Moana Pasifika coaching staff alongside former All Blacks teammate

Aaron Mauger, who earned 46 caps for New Zealand over a seven-year career, is set to join Tana Umaga in the coaches box of the Moana Pasifika side that will take on the Maori All Blacks next month according to Stuff.

Mauger has remained in Dunedin since the Highlanders decided not to extend the Cantabrian’s contract beyond the current season but will link up with his former All Blacks midfield partner ahead of the one-off fixture in Hamilton.

Kanaloa Pasifika still at odds with NZ Rugby

Moana Pasifika bid and the Fijian Drua have been chosen as NZR's "preferred partners" to join the new-look competition in 2022, alongside the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia.

Kanaloa Pasifika claimed New Zealand Rugby breached its own rules by backing Moana Pasifika when the group did not take part in the formal tender process.

Fijian Drua already dreaming of first Super Rugby title

New Zealand Rugby announced on Friday it is working with the Auckland-based Moana Pasifika and the Fiji Rugby Union to "further explore the viability of Pasifika teams for 2022 and beyond."

The newcomers would join the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia in a 12 team competition, provided key criteria is met.

Fiji Rugby CEO John O'Connor said it is a momentous day for Fiji Rugby with the dream of the Drua participating at a Super Rugby level on the verge of becoming reality.

Kanaloa lays complaint with NZR over Super Rugby snub

The Auckland-based Moana Pasifika bid and a Fiji-led delegation are NZR's preferred partners to join a 12 team Super competition in 2022, alongside the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia.

The Moana Pasifika group is backed by former All Blacks Sir Bryan Williams and Sir Michael Jones and the head of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association Rob Nichol.

But Kanaloa Pasifika Rugby claim NZR has breached the formal tender process and is demanding it be appointed as the lead entity to form a new Pasifika team.