Former All Blacks

NZ Rugby salutes Pacific icons who gave their all to rugby

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Mark Robinson acknowledged the heartache of losing both Joeli Vidiri and Fesolai Va’ainga Tuigamala this week.

He says it’s been incredibly difficult with the loss of two men who have such standing in rugby and in their communities.

“Joeli was a pioneer for Fijian rugby and set the platform for the many Fijian stars who have followed him. 

“Together with Jonah Lomu at Counties Manukau they formed one of the most formidable partnerships we’ve seen, and his performances for the Blues helped put Super Rugby on the map.”

Former All Black star Carlos Spencer to coach in the United States

The 46-year-old – who scored 291 points in 35 tests between 1995 and 2004 – will become an assistant-coach for the New Orleans Gold Major League Rugby (MLR) club, known as NOLA Gold.

“After recently coaching in South Africa, Japan, and New Zealand, I look forward to bringing all my experience and skill to the NOLA Gold outfit…working with coach Nate Osborne, the management group, and most of all the players,’’ Spencer said in a social media post.

Former All Black sacked by French club

Pau announced Taylor, who played three tests for the All Blacks in 2013, left France on March 17 after the French Top 14 season was suspended, despite the club telling all players not to leave and "respect government measures". 

Where Taylor went remains unclear. 

"On March 17, 2020, the club noted that Mr Tom Taylor had left the national territory without any prior authorisation from his employer, even though all players were asked to remain at the disposal of the club and to respect government measures in as part of the fight against COVID-19," says Pau.

Malakai Fekitoa set to move from Toulon to Wasps and forego another shot at All Blacks

The shift across the English Channel would see the former Highlanders star link up with his old mate Lima Sopoaga who is having a difficult first season at Wasps.

The Times reported on Wednesday (NZT) that an official announcement on Fekitoa's move was expected "in the next few days". It would be a welcomed signing for a proud Wasps club about to lose some significant talent in the form of England test No 8 Nathan Hughes, Springboks fullback Willie le Roux, highly regarded tighthead prop Jake Cooper-Woolley, and probably England outside back Elliot Daly.

Steven Luatua staying with Bristol

Luatua has signed a two year contract extension with the Bristol Bears, keeping him with the Premiership club until 2021.

The 27-year-old joined the club for the 2017-18 season from the Blues and has made 23 appearances.

"It's a privilege to commit my future - it's an environment that is getting the best of out of me," Luatua said.

"There is huge ambition at the club to keep progressing and getting better, I'm excited to be a part of that."

Ex-All Black Charles Piutau wants to play for Tonga

The 26-year-old earned 17 test caps for New Zealand between 2013 and 2015, but was overlooked for the last World Cup squad after signing for Ulster.

He is set to become world rugby's highest-paid player when he switches to English club Bristol next season, where older brother and 'Ikale Tahi captain Siale Piutau is already on the books.

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu said the former Tonga Under 20s representative was keen and would add real quality.

Weepu hangs up his boots

The 71 test veteran has announced his decision on Instagram saying "it's been an honour and a privilege to have played footy over the years."

Weepu made his provincial debut in 2003 for Wellington, playing with the Lions until 2011 when he switched to Auckland from 2012-2014.

The 34 year-old made 124 Super Rugby appearances - 84 for the Hurricanes and 40 for the Blues.

His All Black career included playing a leading role in New Zealand's World Cup triumph in Auckland in 2011.

Fekitoa reveals why he has decided to leave New Zealand

Fekitoa signed a two-year deal with the Top 14 side, confirming the deal via his Instagram page last month. 

The 24-Test player spoke for the first time on Thursday about his decision to leave, revealing a slip down the pecking order with the All Blacks was the main decision to leave.

"It was the hardest decision I have ever made," Fekitoa told reporters.

"I just started my career and even though 90 percent of fans and supporters disagree with it I believe it is the right to do that and I think it will make me a better player.

Ranger back to France

The 30-year-old, who featured only sporadically for Tana Umaga's Blues in 2017 as he battled injury and form issues, has agreed to a two-year deal with La Rochelle in the French Top 14 competition.

Ranger, who has made 76 appearances for the Blues, previously played for Montpellier in France from 2013-15, before returning to the Auckland franchise in 2016 in an ill-fated bid to revive his New Zealand career.

Former All Black Zac Guildford admits he contemplated suicide

Guildford's journey back to professional rugby has taken another step forward being signed to play for Waikato in this season's Mitre 10 provincial cup competition.

RNZI reports alcohol and off-field problems have plagued Guildford's career, culminating with the New South Wales Waratahs terminating his Super rugby contract last year.

He's also played for the Hurricanes, the Crusaders and the French club Clermont, where there were also problems during his stints there.