Super Rugby

Sunwolves confirm time in Super Rugby is over


With rugby preparing to return from the coronavirus shutdown, Japan's Sunwolves had been in talks to join Australia's four Super Rugby teams and Perth-based Western Force in a 12-week tournament slated for July-September.

However, Rugby Australia (RA) said earlier on Monday that travel curbs and border controls had made it too hard to involve the team.

Sunwolves CEO Yuji Watase said it had been an honour to play in Super Rugby.

Crowds a real possibility for round one of Super Rugby Aotearoa as NZ continues to recover

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today told the Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB that New Zealand would most likely move to level one on June 10.

The Super Rugby Aotearoa competition kicks off three days later when the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Dunedin. The following day the Blues and Hurricanes clash at Eden Park.

Crusaders boss Colin Mansbridge told Hosking the original guidelines at that level had no restrictions on gatherings and plans were in place to have crowds for home games.

Paisami's journey back to Super Rugby

It was, as Paisami says, “The size of a family car”.

Not wanted at the Melbourne Rebels – the city he and his family had moved to only a few years earlier from Auckland – Paisami packed his bags and moved into agent Anthony Picone’s office at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane.

“I was a bit ashamed. I was a bit lost at the start when I lost my contract with the Rebels,” Paisami tells 

“I made the move here with no family, didn’t know anywhere. Had to restart all over again. 

Crusaders preparing to welcome back fans for their first Super Rugby Aotearoa match in Christchurch

The New Zealand competition kicks off on June 13 following the country’s recent move to alert Level 2, with games initially set to go ahead without fans, however, due to crowd limitations and restrictions still in place.

Earlier this week, the Government said they will evaluate moving the country into alert Level 1 on June 22, giving franchises hope of welcoming fans back to live games.

With the Crusaders not playing at home until round three – on June 28 – Mansbridge told NZME things look promising to have his side run out in front of their home supporters.

Beauden Barrett still the fastest 'bronco' around

Barrett posted a time of 4min 12 seconds at Blues training earlier this week taking eight seconds off his previous best for the 1.2km shuttle run, which is completed in five sets of 20m, 40m and 60m distances.

It's a fitness test all the Super Rugby use and yesterday it was the Chiefs turn with Damien McKenzie expected to go close to Barrett's record but Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson says while McKenzie has "jet shoes" he didn't pip Barrett.

"He was close to a PB (personal best time) so that's a big thing but there were no world records broken.

Stormers secure the signature of Springboks fullback from rival Bulls

The fleet-footed World Cup winner, who turns 25 on Wednesday, is one of the most exciting outside backs in South Africa and will add firepower to a Stormers backline which already features the likes of Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse, Sebaelo Senatla and Sergeal Petersen.

Nehe Milner-Skudder turned down a chance to represent his former Super team

The Manawatu wing burst onto the Super Rugby scene in 2015, helping the Hurricanes to the grand final and earning a place in the All Blacks 2015 World Cup squad.

Milner-Skudder scored six tries at the tournament – including one in the final against Australia – and was named World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year.

Unfortunately the versatile speedster has been hampered by a frustrating run of injuries in the time since and played just five more test matches for New Zealand.

Sam Whitelock back for the Crusaders

Whitelock had planned to skip Super Rugby this year while enjoying a playing stint in Japan but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the 31-year-old lock home to New Zealand.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Whitelock had been given the green light to play in the hastily arranged 'Aotearoa' competition, which will see the country's five Super Rugby teams play each other over 10 weeks from mid-June.

Super Rugby was suspended after seven rounds in March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and may not be able to resume in 2020 due to travel curbs and border controls.

Super Rugby Aotearoa four weeks away

The Highlanders will host the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday June 13th, while the Blues will host the Hurricanes the following Sunday afternoon.

The announcement came following the Government's announcement sport can resume when the country moves to alert level two on Thursday.

Super Rugby Aotearoa would see the five franchises playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches each weekend.

Each side would have two bye weekends.

Matches would be played in closed stadiums until rules around spectators changed.

No major change to Super Rugby for another two years

Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos says speculation regarding the future of Super Rugby and the Four Nations has been misleading.

Marinos said the impact of the pandemic is likely to mean a domestic focus in each territory when the competition resumes but long term Sanzaar has already sold a 14-team super rugby competition as well as a four team Rugby Championship to broadcasters.

The New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa rugby unions have also all committed to the joint venture through until 2030, he said.