Super Rugby Pacific

Crusaders blunt Blues' attacking weapons in hard-fought victory

The first half was a physical arm wrestle with both sides held scoreless for the first 29 minutes.

The Crusaders broke through for their opening try from Quinten Strange on the half hour mark with plenty of power and work from CodieTaylor in the set-up.

The first chance for points for the Blues came from the boot of Beauden Barrett who slotted a penalty.

With points hard to come by, the home side took the three as Richie Mo'unga converted a penalty before the half-time break.

The Crusaders held a narrow 10-3 lead heading into the changing sheds.

Force brace for 'double points' showdown against Fijian Drua

A two-match losing streak on the road has left the Force (3-7) languishing in 11th spot with just four matches remaining.

The top eight teams make the finals, and Fijian Drua (4-6) sit four points ahead of the Force in eighth place.

A Force win on Friday night would breathe life into their finals bid, but a loss could prove terminal.

The Force round out their season with games against the second-placed Brumbies (home), ninth-placed Melbourne Rebels (away), and ladder-leading Chiefs (home).

All Black set for Crusaders milestone in crunch clash with rivals Blues

With the race for a top four spot in the playoffs heating up, this weekend’s clash between the two New Zealand rivals means even more.

Defending champions the Crusaders, who beat the Blues in a tight tussle earlier in the season, will host the competitions third-ranked side at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, on Saturday.

The Crusaders are fourth, and risk falling behind the Hurricanes and into fifth on the ladder if they fail to beat the Blues.

Winless Moana Pasifika playing better than last year, says Mauger

Mauger and his team believed they were on the brink of a famous victory over the Blues at Eden Park last night when leading by six points with the fulltime siren having sounded but a penalty try awarded to the home side due to a collapsed scrum with two Moana forwards in the bin put paid to that.


It meant Moana Pasifika, beaten by the barest of margins 31-30, couldn’t replicate the Fijian Drua’s triumph over the Hurricanes in Suva earlier when the home side got up 27-24 over the shell-shocked visitors.

Fijian Drua's Kiwi scalps justify investment

In similar fashion to their upset win over the Crusaders, reserve flyhalf Kemu Valetini kicked the winning penalty once again.

After nearly tipping over the Chiefs and Highlanders last year at home, the Drua have stepped up a gear this season.

Former All Black great Sir John Kirwan said that the success of the Drua is the ‘story of the year’.

“That is the story of the year,” Kirwan told The Breakdown panel.

“Fijian Drua, that is the story of the year.

“They have done exactly what World Rugby and Super Rugby have asked them.

Hurricanes arrive in Fiji ahead of Fijian Drua clash

The team includes players like center Jordie Barrett, one of the best openside flankers in world rugby Ardie Savea, his brother Julian, former All Blacks prop Owen Franks, Fiji-born Kini Naholo and Salesi Rayasi and Isaia Walker-Leawere who have links to Fiji.

Some players that are not part of the team to play the Drua, include All Black halfback TJ Perenara, hooker Dane Coles and big lock, Dominic Bird.

The Hurrcanes take on the Drua on Saturday at 2.05pm (Fiji Time) in Suva.


Photo Credit: FBC News 


Fijian Drua aims for a quarterfinal spot

Byrne said despite going down 30-14 to a strong Blues side in Lautoka last week, they still can crack a quarter-final spot.

He said it’s not over for the side as they have done well in just their second year.

“In our last few games we’ve got the Hurricanes here next week and then our last 4 games and I don’t know what the ladder looks at the moment. Those 4 games all those teams are fighting for a spot in the top 8 and it will be in our hands when we get to those last 4 games.”

Byrne said the Blues were a good team on the day even though they came in well prepared.

Crusaders to spend spare time studying 'frontrunners' Chiefs

The Crusaders are back in action this Friday after a bye and shaky win over Moana Pasifika the prior week - a game assistant coach James Marshall conceded has been like their season to date.

"I thought we sort of scraped through it really, we didn't hit out straps," Marshall said of the first half the season.

"I thought maybe the Blues [a tight 34-28 win] was our best game of the year so far but other than that I thought a lot was pretty messy.

Aaron Smith to miss Highlanders match due to death of father

Wayne passed away on Friday, and the Highlanders have given their halfback leave to remain in New Zealand rather than travel to Perth tomorrow for the match against the Force on Saturday.

The All Black will likely join the squad in time for the match against the Waratahs in Sydney the following weekend.

“It's probably a good time to recognise him and his family with the passing of his dad,” assistant coach Dave Dillon said today.

“It’s pretty tough to process at the best of times, so we’re just thinking of them.

Blues have chance to highlight title credentials

The Blues, who dominated the regular season last year, have already suffered two losses and turned in an unconvincing performance in their round five win over Western Force, albeit after a stomach bug had ripped through the squad.

Fourth in the standings behind the Chiefs, Hurricanes and ACT Brumbies, the Blues welcome back All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu for a match in which they could make a season-defining statement.

"The Chiefs have been the form side so far this season," said Blues captain Dalton Papalii, looking forward to Saturday's clash.