NZ teams go unbeaten in round one of Super Rugby trans-Tasman

Domingo Miotti missed a chance to see the Western Force to a home win over the Chiefs in Perth as they went down 20-19 while Noah Lolesio missed a similar last-gasp chance to earn the ACT Brumbies a draw with the Crusaders in Christchurch, handing the New Zealanders a 31-29 win.

The Blues, meanwhile, pulverised the Melbourne Rebels 50-3.

The trio of New Zealand wins added to Friday's success for the Highlanders, who outmuscled Australian champions Queensland Reds, and the Hurricanes, who beat the New South Wales Waratahs.

Jordan shines as Crusaders secure home final

Fullback Jordan brushed off five potential tacklers to open the scoring in the fifth minute and delivered the bonus point seven minutes from time by chasing down a David Havili kick through.

Defeat without bonus points leaves the Blues needing a big win over the resurgent Chiefs at Eden Park next week if they are to provide the opposition in the title-decider for the second year in a row on May 8.

Blues prop Alex Hodgman cops three-week suspension

Hodgman on Monday copped a three-week suspension from the Sanzaar judiciary on the back of his red card in Friday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The 27-year-old, who got his first All Blacks callup in 2020, had been sent off in the 72nd minute of the sloppy 35-29 defeat for driving his shoulder into the chin of Highlanders loose forward James Lentjes. It was an ugly incident that brokered little argument at the time for earning the ultimate sanction.

Highlanders hold on to beat Blues

The Blues trailed 30-24 when replacement prop Alex Hodgman was sent off in the 73rd minute for driving his shoulder into the chin of Highlanders loose forward James Lentjes at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Highlanders wasted no time capitalising on their man advantage, with Michael Collins cantering over with six minutes left after latching on to a bullet-like pass from Mitch Hunt.

Hoskins Sotutu barged over for the Blues a minute before the siren but the Highlanders won back the ball after the restart to clinch their first win at home for the season.

Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu vows he’s learned lesson over spurned shots

The Blues’ Super Rugby Aotearoa season hit a familiar skid with a second straight defeat to send the ambitious Auckland franchise tumbling back to the pack in the now tight race for second spot, and a likely crack at the Crusaders in the final in Christchurch. They host the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Saturday night to open the second and final round of qualifying games (though the mooted trans-Tasman competition to follow remains shrouded in doubt).

Chiefs, Blues to stage first women's Super Rugby game in 'historic' double header

The Chiefs and Blues have announced they will play the first Super Rugby women's game, with the “historic” encounter part of a double header before the Blues’ men host the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa at Eden Park at 4.35pm on May 1.

Blues Women assistant coach and IRB Hall of Famer Anna Richards said in a statement: “This is super-exciting.

“It is the way forward and it is great to see the CEOs from the Blues and the Chiefs be so supportive and committed in pushing this game.

Blues boost as prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi cleared of foul play charge

The hearing found Tu’ungafasi not guilty of contravening Law 9.12 (striking with shoulder) after he had been cited following the Blues’ defeat to the Crusaders at Eden Park on Sunday. The big tighthead had appeared to strike Scott Barrett in the chin with his shoulder during a ruck cleanout late in the match, and received a yellow card at the time by referee Paul Williams.

The Sanzaar citing commissioner deemed post-match the offence met the red-card threshold and Tu’ungafasi elected to defend himself at a judicial hearing.

Blues players Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Kurt Eklund cited for foul play

Tu’ungafasi was yellow carded by referee Paul Williams for slamming his shoulder into Scott Barrett’s chin late in the match, however, the citing commissioner has deemed it met the red card threshold for foul play.

Williams let Eklund off the hook with a penalty for lifting Crusaders wing Sevu Reece and flipping him on to the turf, but Eklund’s wrestling-style move has also been deemed to have met the red card threshold.

Rivalry revived as Blues host Crusaders at Eden Park


Encounters between the powerhouses were highlights of the early days of professional rugby but the fixture lost its lustre as the Blues struggled and the Crusaders thrived.

The Blues have been revived after a decade in the doldrums, however, and Leon MacDonald's side are viewed by many as the only team that can prevent the south islanders from taking a fifth successive Super Rugby title.

Blues storm home to down Hurricanes

The Hurricanes made too many mistakes, and the Blues proved adept at punishing them, as evidenced by the first try they scored after four minutes.

Flanker Dalton Papalii dotted down between the posts when he pounced on a botched pass as the Canes looked to run the ball out from inside their 22.

Otere Black added the extras, but the Hurricanes hit back two minutes later. Hooker Asafo Aumua bulldozed his way over to finish a move kick-started by second five-eighth Ngani Laumape's jinking run.