All Blacks

Nonu's World Cup dream appears to be over

Coach Steve Hansen has unveiled 41 players to attend a "foundation day" in Wellington next week in the first significant step towards winning the Webb Ellis Cup for a third-straight time.

There are few notable omissions aside from Nonu, whose last Test was the triumphant 2015 World Cup final.

The 36-year-old played for French club Toulon before returning to Super Rugby with the Blues, where his performances had been solid until last week's virtuoso performance against the NSW Waratahs.

Smith recommits to NZ Rugby beyond RWC

The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal.

Smith has been a mainstay in the national side since making his All Blacks debut in 2012, playing 82 tests - making him New Zealand's most capped number nine.

He's excited to confirm that his future would be in New Zealand.

"From my earliest playing days, my focus has always been about being passionate about the teams I play for and I've always enjoyed giving 100 percent to the teams I represent," Smith said.

Owen Franks joins All Blacks exodus

The 31-year-old was a member of both the 2011 and 2015 World Cup-winning teams - and has 106 test caps to his name.

Franks will join older brother Ben and former All Black prop Ben at Northampton - and says the move presents a great opportunity to test himself in a new rugby environment, and reconnect with family there.

Franks has been named to start for the Crusaders in their Super Rugby opener tomorrow night against Blues in Auckland.

Dane Coles recommits to NZ Rugby

His recommitment means New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes can continue to rely on his outstanding leadership, skill and experience for the next three years.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, who led the Hurricanes to the club's first Investec Super Rugby title a year later, said he was committed to continuing his career in New Zealand.

"I still feel like there are things that I want to achieve in New Zealand with teams that mean a lot to me," Coles said.

Joe Schmidt rules out NZ coaching job after World Cup

New Zealand born Schmidt said he's committed to having at least 12 months off to spend more time with his family, in particular, his 15-year-old son, Luke who suffers from epilepsy and battled a brain tumour when he was younger.

Schmidt's decision means the All Blacks will have to look elsewhere for a new head coach to replace Steven Hansen, who announced last month he'll stand down at the end of the World Cup.

Wales to meet All Blacks in 2020

Wales Online reports that Wales will play a series against the current back-to-back World Champions in 2020 after Pivac takes over from Warren Gatland following the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup.

Gatland, who has been in charge of Wales since 2007, is stepping down from the role to return to New Zealand, where he's expected to contend for the All Blacks job, as current coach Steve Hansen confirmed earlier this month he would not seek reappointment after the World Cup.

Ireland star Jacob Stockdale says teams no longer fear NZ

The 22-year-old scored the only try in Ireland's historic 16-9 win over the All Blacks in Dublin last month, when he re-gathered his own kick and fended off several defenders to score in the 49th minute.

The seven-point win was Ireland's second-ever against the All Blacks, but the first on home soil in front of a sold-out Aviva Stadium. The other was at Soldier Field in Chicago two years ago, when the Irish won 40-29.

After the latest win, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the Irish should be the favourites to win the World Cup.

Ardie Savea confirms he's sticking around

The Hurricanes and Wellington star posted the news to social media this morning and his decision comes after French media reports he was set to join the Pau club after next year's World Cup.

"Truely (sic) blessed to have re-signed with NZ for 2020-2021," Savea posted on Instagram.

"To be honest was a very tough decision but being at home with family and close friends and the opportunity to play for @allblacks @hurricanesrugby @wgtn_rugby I couldn't leave.

"Thank you to the fans for the on going support. Can't wait to get stuck in to 2019 with my canes brothers".

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirms he will step down after next year’s World Cup

He said whoever replaced him would bring a new perspective.

"Some fresh eyes, some fresh thinking ... whoever it is will be fresh. It will be for the enhancement of the legacy of the jersey," he said.

Hansen comes off contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) after the tournament, which runs next September and October.

He has been Head Coach of the All Blacks since 2012 and prior to that was an Assistant Coach for eight years.

Hansen told media this morning two big reasons for making the choice were what was right for the team, and what was right for his family.

All Blacks to play Tonga in Hamilton in 2019

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew revealed details of the additional Test match fixture on the All Blacks' 2019 calendar. The match will be played at FMG Stadium, Waikato, on Saturday 7 September. It will be a hit-out for the Rugby World Cup 2019 squad, and it will be the first All Blacks Test match in Hamilton since 2016.