Super Rugby

Smiths rested for Highlanders

However, eight-Test flanker Liam Squire returns from injury to boost the Highlanders, who are fourth in the New Zealand conference and set to meet either South Africa's high-flying Lions or competition-leading countrymen the Crusaders in the quarter-finals.

Halfback Aaron Smith is rested after playing every match in the All Blacks' drawn Test series with the British and Irish Lions, while influential fullback Smith has been given another week off after vertigo kept him out of the final two tests.

Chiefs win a thriller in Wellington

The game was level at 7-7 with 15 minutes left on the clock before a break from Chiefs winger Shaun Stevenson set up James Lowe in the left corner to give the visitors the lead at 14-7.

RNZI reports the try was a fitting trophy for Lowe who played in his 50th Super Rugby match tonight.

Chiefs fullback Damien McKenzie then added a penalty in the final 10 minutes to push their lead to 10 points.

Then in the final three minutes of the game, the Hurricanes got down the other end of the field and scored through Wes Goosen, getting within three points of the Chiefs.

Blues blame venue for Apia flop

The Blues edged the Queensland Reds 34-29 in Apia on Friday but the 8000-capacity stadium was less than half-full, prompting criticism on social media that ticket prices were too expensive.

Outspoken former Samoa international Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu told New Zealand radio that the Blues management were "ignorant" and "arrogant" in their approach to the game in the developing country.

Samoa Super Rugby clash a chance to give back

The Blues region is home to about 150,000 Samoans while the team itself has a number of players with Samoan heritage, as well as head coach Tana Umaga.

"We've seen the amount of Samoan players that are playing overseas and it's good to take something back to the islands," he said.

"We saw it with obviously other teams going to Fiji and now it's Samoa's time. It will showcase what they can do and how they can cater for these big games, which is a positive," said Tana Umaga.

The family of Blues and All Black lock Patrick Tuipolotu emigrated to New Zealand from Samoa.

England to play match against Affiliated States

The match is scheduled to be played at nib Stadium in Perth on Friday 20 October, with players from Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory eligible for Affiliated States selection later this year.

NRL Affiliated States Manager Martin Meredith said the opportunity for an Affiliated States side to play one of the powerhouse rugby league sides in England would be a once in a lifetime match for some players.

Canes lose Barrett to headaches but beat Bulls

Star playmaker Barrett withdrew from the side just before kick-off due to headaches, as the visitors managed a convincing bonus-point victory at Loftus Versfeld.

First-half tries from fullback Jordie Barrett, centre Ngani Laumape, South African-born wing Wes Goosen and lock Mark Abbott gave the Hurricanes a 24-13 halftime lead.

Hooker Leni Apisai crossed for their only try of the second half.

Second-half spiral costs Waratahs in Dunedin

That’s how long it’s been since an Australian team won in New Zealand, as the Waratahs became the latest team felled across the Tasman, going down 44-28 to the Highlanders. 

A year to the day since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs, the last Australian victory over a Kiwi team anywhere in the world, they looked to have remedied their sluggish starts with a half-time lead, but were unravelled in the second half by recklessness as much as anything else.

Chiefs and Blues draw

Friday's result, the first draw between the two sides, would not have satisfied either team.

The Chiefs needed a win to stay in touch with the competition-leading Crusaders after last week's 31-24 loss in Suva, while the Blues were desperate to end their miserable 0-5 record in New Zealand conference matches.

The Chiefs looked solid to begin with, building early phases despite steady drizzle, but struggled on their own lineout throw and were let down by poor handling as the game progressed.

Dagg back as Crusaders ring changes

He's been named on the wing for Saturday's clash with the Rebels in Melbourne.

The outside back played a half game of club rugby a fortnight ago and declared himself fit to play for the Crusaders, but he was left out of last weekend's win over the Chiefs in Suva.

Dagg hasn't played Super Rugby since March after injuring his knee against the Reds and now has two games to prove his match fitness before the All Blacks first test of the year against Samoa.

Piers Francis cleared to play against the Chiefs

Francis suffered a head knock playing against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

Blues doctor Dr Stephen Kara confirmed that Francis had not developed any further symptoms in a range of regular testing under the protocol since including a full neurological exam and neuro-cognitive testing via SCAT scan. He further tested clear after a return to training and completed the other graduated protocol steps to play with no recurrence of any symptoms.