New Zealand Rugby

RA, NZR launch new era with formation of Super Rugby Pacific

The 12-team tournament will see Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika join the five Australian and five New Zealand sides, set to kick off on 18 February 2022.

Teams will play each other once across the 14-week regular season, along with playing three teams twice, with an added focus on delivering more local derbies following the success of Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa.

The final series will see the top eight teams battle it out, with quarters, semis and final as follows:

All Blacks released to play in NPC

TJ Perenara, Braydon Ennor, Asafo Aumua, Hoskins Sotutu and Tupou Vaa'i have left the All Blacks camp in Auckland to join their provincial teams.

Perenara and Aumua will be available for Wellington's opening match against Northland in the capital on Saturday afternoon,

Canterbury will be able to call on Ennor for Sunday's match against Auckland at Eden Park, Sotutu is in line to make his debut for Counties-Manukau in the opening match of the season against Manawatu on Friday night and Vaa'i will boost Taranaki for their match against Hawke's Bay on Saturday afternoon.

NZR and Adidas unveil new All Blacks and Black Ferns jerseys

The All Blacks will wear their jersey for the first time this weekend when they host the Wallabies in the first Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

The Black Ferns, meanwhile, will wear their jersey for the first time when they take on Australia at Rugby Park in Christchurch on September 26.

For the first time in their 30-year history, the Black Ferns have their own dedicated jersey that is specifically tailored to accomodate the demands of the women’s game.

Dane Coles hopes Silver Lake standoff with NZ Rugby won't lead to players refusing to play

Coles said on Thursday that he hoped that “both parties sit down” and work to make their relationship better “as it’s going down the wrong path’’.

Former All Blacks captain David Kirk, the Players Association president told RNZ on Tuesday that some players had advised the NZRPA they would not want to play in New Zealand if the Silver Lake deal goes ahead.

Ex-All Blacks captain retires from rugby

The 35-year-old broke the news he would retire at the end of the season before Toyota Verblitz's semi-final against Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League on Saturday.

But Verblitz lost 48-21, ending their campaign and Read's career.

"I'm looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family," said Read, the third most-capped player in All Blacks history.

The number eight made 127 Test appearances for the All Blacks and was named captain in 2016 following Richie McCaw's retirement.

Women's Super Rugby game will create many opportunities

The postponement of this year's Rugby World Cup has had a silver lining for some Black Ferns.

Instead of international competition they will make history on the domestic scene when the first women's Super Rugby match is played between the Blues and Chiefs at Eden Park on Saturday.

New Zealand Rugby's head of women's rugby development Cate Sexton said a women's Super Rugby match would not have happened this year if the world cup was going ahead, so they are making the most of the unexpected opportunity.

New Zealand Rugby approves Silver Lake's deal

The vote by the 26 provincial unions and the Māori Rugby Board was done by voice at the annual general meeting in Wellington this morning. There were no dissenters.

The deal would be worth $387.5 million to New Zealand Rugby (NZR). Documents released for the AGM outlined that $39m of the sale price will be distributed to stakeholders such as provincial unions and a legacy fund will be established to ensure the sustainability of rugby at all levels.

However the deal is not complete as it requires sign off from the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA).

NZ Rugby confident Pacific teams will make 2022 competition

World Rugby said on Wednesday it will spend $2.4 million annually over three years to help facilitate the entry of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika into the competition, subject to NZR Board approval and key conditions being met.

"We're really confident. We're not there yet but we've been working really hard with both entities over a period of over six months now," NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.

"This is two really serious attempts by two really serious teams and a very serious national union here in NZ to establish these two teams.

'There has to be a reset': Call for rugby to take a step back

The game enters 2021 in a state of flux because of the Covid-19 pandemic with suggestions that now is the time to reshape the sport.

The Heartland Championship wasn't played in 2020 because of the pandemic and details are yet to be released about how provincial rugby may look this year.

Former All Blacks assistant and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is one who wants to see more of an emphasis on amateurism.

"There has to be a reset, that much is very evident and in many ways the Covid pandemic has offered the game that possibility of a reset."

Former Chiefs wing Bryce Heem to quit Toulon to return home for 'family reasons'

The 32-year-old former Chiefs wing was a try-scorer in Toulon’s 35-13 home win over Stade Francais on Sunday (Monday NZ time), but the club later announced he would play his last game against Brive next weekend.

A statement from the club stated Heem was returning to New Zealand, and the Rugby Rama website reported that he was leaving for “major family reasons’’.