All Blacks

All Blacks to play South Africa in RWC pool

South Africa's slump to seventh in the world means the 1995 and 2007 champions will face the All Blacks in the pool stage for the first time in a blockbuster clash.

The All Blacks will have to beat the Springboks to top their pool, as they bid for a hat-trick of titles.

The All Blacks and England, currently the top two teams in the world, would meet in a tantalising semi-final if they both win their pools and got through their quarter-finals.

New Zealand will likely play Scotland, Ireland or Japan in the quarter-finals.

Read and Kaino could play first Lions test without game time

Read has had surgery on a broken thumb and is expected to be out for six weeks which could have him back in time for the Lions match against the Crusaders on June 10th, two weeks before the first test in Auckland.

Kaino is due back a week later.

The squad for the first test against the British and Irish Lions will be named on Thursday, June 8th.

It's highly unlikely Read or Kaino will have been back on the field by that stage but they'll no doubt be named in the squad subject to fitness.

James Broadhurst retiring due to concussion issues

Broadhurst has not played since suffering dual head knocks during a Mitre 10 Cup match while playing for Taranaki against Wellington in August 2015.

The 29-year-old said he had been advised by medical experts to walk away from the game he loved.

"I've been away from the game for a little over 18 months and still experience symptoms which affect my daily life.

"Some extensive efforts have gone into getting me back to sport by medical professionals in and out of rugby. Even though it hasn't resulted in the outcome I had hoped for."

Jerome Kaino facing surgery to put his All Blacks place in doubt

The Blues confirmed the injury as they named their team to play the Brumbies on Sunday in Canberra.

The injury will put Kaino in doubt for the Blues game against the touring British and Irish Lions on June 7 which is the second game of their tour.

It will make him borderline for the test series with the opening international on June 24.

The Blues have been cleared to play their All Blacks against the Lions.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is scheduled to name his test squad the day after the Blues play the Lions.

Ma'a Nonu and Dan Carter deadly as race to French playoffs heats up

Ma'a Nonu was at his vintage best as he helped Toulon to a thrilling and important win in the French Top 14.

The former All Blacks midfielder scored the last of Toulon's three tries with a brilliant solo 30m effort in their 33-23 win on Monday (NZ time).

Tries haven't been easy to come by for Nonu since he moved to France following the 2015 World Cup triumph.

But he showed his mix of power and pace with this effort, side-stepping against the run of play and slicing through the Toulouse defenders to make his way to the line.

All Blacks eye Samoa in Lions warm-up

A deal hasn't yet been agreed but the Weekend Herald understands there is growing confidence among all parties that on Friday, June 16, the All Blacks will play Samoa in Auckland - with Tonga versus Wales as the curtain raiser.

The All Blacks are keen to play a meaningful contest before the first test against the Lions on June 24. They are conscious the Lions will have had six tough tour games before that first test, while the All Blacks will have had two weeks of training, but no opportunity to play.

Smith admits he should have taken time off after toilet tryst

Smith will this week celebrate playing his 100th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders when they take on the Melbourne Rebels in Dunedin.

He received a formal warning and stood down from an All Blacks test in October after he was seen entering a toilet cubical with a woman at Christchurch Airport.

He later said he made a huge mistake and apologised to his partner, both his and her families, his teammates and New Zealand fans.

Smith struggled on the All Blacks end of year tour.

NZ Rugby welcomes new international window

World Rugby has promised more tests between top and second-tier nations and announced changes to the timing of international windows in a new global calendar to run from 2020 to 2032.

The current June international window will move to the first three weeks of July to allow the Southern Hemisphere club championship, Super Rugby, to be completed prior to the matches.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said the 2020-2032 international schedule secured a long-coveted July window.

Carter: Bring on England game

"I'd love to see it happen," Carter told Sportsmail. "Any rugby fan would love to see it. Both nations have achieved so much since they last played in 2014.

"It's been so long, so there would be even more hype than usual. It would be up there with the classics."

The Rugby Football Union in Britain is trying to arrange a match at Twickenham on November 4, but obstacles stand in the way.
England's rugby clubs could be a major hurdle for the proposed showdown at Twickenham in November.

Dagg to have knee operation

An MRI scan has revealed what the Crusaders feared after watching the in-form Dagg hobble off Suncorp Stadium during their dramatic 22-20 win over the Reds in Brisbane last weekend.

Dagg, it has been confirmed, will be unavailable for approximately six weeks. He has what is known in medical circles as a PCL and lateral meniscal injury, and a specialist says a small operation is required.

That means the All Blacks fullback/wing is unlikely to be sighted until around the round 10 Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on April 30.