Super Rugby

Fiji Airways extends Crusaders sponsorship

The partnership will see Fiji Airways feature on the front of the Crusaders’ away jerseys from 2020.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said this will be the first time the Crusaders has had a separate front-of-jersey sponsor for their home and away jerseys, and they are thrilled the team’s away jerseys will feature the Fiji Airways brand from 2020.

Mansbridge added the Crusaders largest fan base outside of New Zealand is in Fiji, which is unsurprising given the overwhelming support they have from local fans whenever the team has played a Super Rugby match in Suva.

Cruden confirms 2020 Super Rugby return with the Chiefs

The 30-year-old Cruden, will return home from France after signing a one-year deal with the Chiefs.

Head Coach Warren Gatland suggested the first five-eighth would slot into the first-choice playmaking role, potentially leaving game-breaking All Black Damian McKenzie to be restored as the team's fullback.

McKenzie shone at five-eighth for the Chiefs in 2018 but a serious early-season knee injury ruined this year's campaign and robbed him of World Cup selection.

Beale re-signs with Waratahs

The versatile back, who has played in 83 Tests for the Wallabies, will return for an 11th season with the Waratahs in 2020.

While international team-mates such as Bernard Foley and David Pocock will head overseas after the World Cup in Japan later this year, Beale has elected to remain in Australia to play his club rugby.

The 30-year-old needs just 10 more appearances to break the Waratahs' record for the most Super Rugby appearances.

Beauden Barrett to join Blues next year

Barrett – a two-time World Rugby Player of the Year – has penned a four-year contract to keep him in New Zealand through to the end of the 2023 World Cup.

But the 28-year-old and 73-cap New Zealand international will represent the Blues at club level from 2020, leaving Super Rugby rivals the Hurricanes, where he broke through in 2011.

The complex new contract will see first five-eighth Barrett join the Blues midway through the 2020 season, however, as he takes an extended break from rugby at the end of this year.

Perenara to become most capped Hurricane; Taufua chalks up century

Perenara will make his 127th appearance, eight seasons after he made his debut against the Stormers in Cape Town surpassing former teamates Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree has made just one change to the starting lineup which beat the Bulls in the quarter finals with Salesi Rayasi replacing the injured s Wes Goosen on the wing.

The bench features the return of utility forward Vaea Fifita from suspension while James Marshall has recovered from an elbow injury which ruled him out of the quarter-final.

Cooper steps down as Chiefs coach

Cooper has coached the Chiefs for the past two years taking to the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019 and was due to lead the side in 2020 but has cited the lack of hands on coaching as having played a part in his decision.

"The role of the head coach has evolved so much over the past five or six years," he said.

"My passion is 'hands-on' on-the-field coaching, but with bigger playing numbers and more staff involved these days, I am getting taken further and further away from my passion."

Cooper said he would now take a break to consider his future.

Mo'unga shines as Crusaders storm home

With a breathtaking blend of defensive grunt and attacking inspiration, the double defending champions kept their perfect home record in playoffs intact and extended their unbeaten winning streak at Rugby League Park to 29 matches.

They will return to the venue to meet the winner of the Hurricanes and the Bulls, who play their quarter-final on Saturday.

"We knew it was going to be tough, quarter-finals are always tough," Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said.

Ben Smith returns for Highlanders

Smith will start at fullback after recovering from a hamstring strain which has kept him out for seven weeks.

He was expected to return last week against the Waratahs, but the Highlanders decided to give him extra time to recover.

The co-captain is one of just three changes to the Highlanders lineup with Sio Tomkinson replacing Tevita Li on the left wing.

Cane says Chiefs wanted to prove critics wrong

Colin Cooper's side dug themselves out of a 0-4 hole at the start of the season and overcame the loss of key players to injury to book themselves a quarter-final against Argentina's Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Cane said the New Zealanders had been written off at various stages during the season but managed to rally each time to stay in touch.

"There's been numerous times throughout the year when it was like 'the Chiefs are out of it', or 'they're pretty much done', or 'they're a slim mathematical hope'," he said.

Brumbies ready to fly Australian flag in Super Rugby finals

The Brumbies are the only Australian team through to the Super Rugby finals despite a more competitive showing across the Australian conference this season.

Winning the Australian conference secured them a home quarter-final, to be played next Saturday against the Sharks, who won their final match in the 81st minute on Sunday morning.

McKellar said there was a feeling that the Brumbies had an opportunity to generate some optimism around rugby in the playoffs.

“I do think there's a sense that we're representing the country,” he said.