All Blacks

Blues to lose All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu to Japan sabbatical in 2022

Multiple sources have confirmed to Stuff that Tuipulotu will exercise the sabbatical clause in his New Zealand Rugby contract to take up an offer said to be in the vicinity of $1.4 million to play the 2022 season in the revamped Japan competition. Toyota Verblitz is thought to be his destination.

However it is also set to see him extend his commitment to the Blues and New Zealand rugby beyond his current term through to the 2023 World Cup.

All Blacks march to nine-try win over Fiji

Winger Sevu Reece scored three first half tries and Ardie Savea one in his 50th test for New Zealand to give the All Blacks a 29-6 lead at half-time.

Fiji hit back early in the second spell with a try to prop Peni Ravai, but the All Blacks continued to dominate, running in five second half tries - including a double for hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho on debut.

The New Zealanders took a while to hit their straps, but once Reece scored his first try in the 14th minute, they never looked back.

Flying Fijians relish second shot at All Blacks

Despite matching up to the All Blacks physically and winning a number of penalties up front, coach Vern Cotter said his side will need to much better in the second test.

"Yeah we got a few turnovers. We got penalised a few times as well, so we definitely want to take away those penalties that are unnecessary - we still want to be competitive in that area.

"Different field, different conditions this weekend - we'll adapt to what we need to do to defend well, look for those turnovers but also not give away penalties, so it's going to be a balance between that."

Fans want to see All Blacks tested

Saturday's game in Hamilton will draw the biggest crowd for the All Blacks this year.

Only 15,103 fans turned up in Dunedin for game one against Fiji, more than at Mt Smart for New Zealand's win over Tonga, but still disappointing for an All Blacks test match.

Waikato Stadium is heading towards a sell-out and for the double-header between Manu Samoa and Tonga followed by the All Blacks against Fiji.

After Fiji's showing last week All Blacks coach Ian Foster thinks the public might be more clued up now about what type of opposition his side is facing.

Savea and Lienert-Brown back for All Blacks, Mo'unga starts at first-five

Coach Ian Foster has made nine changes to the starting XV from the first test win over Fiji.

The loose forwards have been swapped out with Ardie Savea returning from injury to start at openside, with Akira Ioane at blindside and Luke Jacobson at No.8, replacing Ethan Blackadder, Shannon Frizell and Hoskins Sotutu.

Anton Lienert-Brown is back in the midfield after overcoming injury and he'll start at centre outside second-five David Havili, pushing Rieko Ioane to the reserves.

It will be the 50th test match for both Savea and Lienert-Brown.

'These guys are rock stars': All Blacks in no way surprised by Fiji's first-test effort

The 57-23 win in Dunedin flattered the hosts in a match where they were dominated at the breakdown by the athletic, powerful frames of the hard-working Fijian forwards, before being able to take advantage of a tiring visiting side – fresh out of quarantine – late on.

Fiji, who had played just a single test since the 2019 World Cup, were a welcome step up from their Pacific neighbours, Tonga, who New Zealand had belted 102-0 a week prior.

Coles on a roll in All Blacks victory

The All Blacks were expecting a much stiffer contest than in their 102-0 romp against a weakened Tonga side last week, and the Fijians delivered with a physical challenge their hosts struggled to contain at times.

While a home win never really looked in doubt, five-pointers for the Fijians from Albert Tuisue and Mesulame Kunavula as well as a penalty try will give New Zealand coach Ian Foster much to ponder ahead of next week's second test in Hamilton.

"I'm pretty pleased really. They offered a pretty stern challenge.

Smith earns All Blacks captaincy, will Fiji be any better than Tonga?

Smith will lead the All Blacks against Fiji in Dunedin on Saturday and the question is, will the Flying Fijians pose a bigger challenge than the under strength Tongans who overcame a mountain of obstacles just to field a team last week at Mt Smart?

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster has made 13 changes to his starting XV from the one that crushed Tonga and he said Smith deserves the right to captain the side against Fiji.

Fiji confident ahead of All Blacks Test

Peni Ravia, Sam Matavei and Mesake Doge will lead the forward pack, guided by Leone Nakarawa in the second row and Albert Tuisue at backrow.

The backline is packed with experience in Ben Volavola and Simione Kuruvoli who will share the halves position. Captain Levani Botia and Waisea Nayacalevu marshall the midfield, Nemani Nadolo and Eroni Sau are on the wings and Kini Murimurivalu is at full-back.

Seta Tuicuvu will be covering substitute for full-back, first five and halfback while three debutants have been named on the bench.

All Black great believes NRL has the best model for Pasifika talent

Discussing the issue on Sky Sport’s The Breakdown, former All Black great John Kirwan highlighted the central contracting system in New Zealand creates a disincentive for Pacific Island players from representing their home nations.

He compared New Zealand Rugby’s [NZR] contracting system to that of the NRL, which has removed conflict of interest from the equation with a separation of club and national control.

Kirwan suggested that if Super Rugby clubs could fund the majority of a player’s wages, they may be in a position to represent their home nation, such as Tonga.