NZ Rugby

Blacks Ferns join Pacific Four Series

The new series will give four of the top nations - New Zealand, Australia, Canada and USA - regular international fixtures.

The World Rugby-funded competition will soft launch this year with Canada and USA going head-to-head on 1 and 5 November and New Zealand and Australia will join in 2022 due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

The annual cross-regional series has been developed to meet the governing body's commitment to providing consistent high performance competition for elite women's international teams.

NZ Rugby to trial new rules in school and club rugby

NZR said the aim is to enhance the safety and appeal of the sport and have called the changes Experimental Domestic Safety Law Variations (EDSLVs).

Eight of the fifteen approved EDSLVs will be rolled out nationally across Small Blacks, Teenage Rugby and Senior Rugby; with the other seven being trialled in selected competitions, in consultation with Provincial Unions.

National changes include reducing tackle height, enhancing breakdown and scrums, and ensuring players remain grounded whilst contesting high balls, in a bid to reduce aerial collisions.

Jordie Barrett 'rapt' after Bledisloe Cup red card dismissed

Barrett was given a red card in the first half of the final Bledisloe Cup test when his boot made contact with the face of Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete after jumping in the air to catch a high kick.

But he would be free to play in Sunday's Rugby Championship test against Argentina on the Gold Coast after a Sanzaar judiciary on Tuesday night found the fullback not guilty of dangerous or foul play.

Barrett said he was grateful to avoid further sanction.

"It was a long process, very thorough and [the panel] handled it very well ... I'm rapt with the outcome.

12-a-side rugby tournament proposed for next year

The new tournament, World 12s, is intended to feature 192 of the world's best players, picked via auction to represent eight franchises.

World 12s Limited says the competition will take place over three weekends in a round-robin format before knockouts.

The goal is to bring $485 million into the sport over the next five years, though it is likely to face a tough battle to force its way into an already overcrowded calendar.


Pacific Super Rugby teams to finalise squads

The Drua also have to decide where they will be based next season, with Fiji's ongoing Covid-19 problems ruling out plans to play on home soil.

Flying Fijians prop Haereiti Hetet said the Drua was a hot topic of conversation when national squad during their recent test series against the All Blacks.

"It's just like another platform really for Fijian players to showcase their skills for the world stage, in terms of it's a step up from just playing their club and comps and stuff in Fiji and playing against the best," he said.

Cory Sweeney steps up as Black Ferns Sevens head coach

Bunting is stepping down after 10 years involved in the Black Ferns Sevens programme, which was capped by winning Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games.

He had long signalled his intention to stand down after the Olympics.

Fellow co-coach Sweeney will take charge as the team prepares to defend both their Commonwealth Games and World Cup title.

Bunting joined the Black Ferns Sevens in 2012 and took the role head coach after the Rio Olympics, where the women won silver.

New Zealand Rugby scraps all first-class, club and school matches for this weekend

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) made the announcement on Wednesday after the return of Covid-19 cases in the community in Auckland.

From Tuesday midnight, the government announced that Auckland and Coromandel will remain at level 4 for seven days, while the rest of New Zealand is at level 4 for three days – at this stage.

There were seven community cases as of Wednesday afternoon’s Covid-19 press conference.

The next rounds of the national provincial championship (NPC), Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) and Heartland Championship will be played at a later date, NZR said.

Symbol of trans-Tasman rugby supremacy remains in New Zealand

New Zealand powered away in the second half to wrap up this year's series against Australia at a half-full Eden Park on Saturday night.

The win is a record high score against the Wallabies, beating the 54 points scored in Sydney in 2017.

After the All Blacks were 33-25 victors in game one at the same venue last weekend, game two was in the balance at halftime as the Wallabies trailed by just six.

But, as they so often do, the home side turned on the class in the second stanza, adding five tries to the three they had scored in the first half to seal victory.

NZ Rugby confirms six-year partnership with petrochemical company INEOS

INEOS will become the official performance partner of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, All Blacks Sevens, Black Ferns Sevens, Māori All Blacks, All Blacks XV and All Blacks Under-20s.

The new deal could be worth in the region of $8 million a year to NZR.

The INEOS logo will appear on the back of the playing shorts and on the front of the Training Jersey of each of those seven teams from 2022. More details on the Performance Partnership will be unveiled later this year.

Richie McCaw backs Sam Whitelock to captain All Blacks in Sam Cane's absence

With regular captain Sam Cane out injured after having surgery on a torn pectoral tendon, All Blacks coach Ian Foster will name a new captain ahead of the opening test against Tonga on July 3.

McCaw, a double World Cup winning captain in 2011 and 2015, has suggested his former All Blacks and Crusaders team-mate Sam Whitlelock as the man for the job until Cane’s return.

“I don’t want to be saying too much, and there’s obviously a few candidates, but there’s no doubt ... Sam Whitelock, who has done it before, has done a good job over the years,” McCaw said.