Super Rugby

Highlanders beaten by Rebels

Melbourne playmaker Quade Cooper worked his magic to help the Rebels maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

In a heart-stopping finish, the Highlanders looked for a match winner in the 78th minute as flanker Shannon Frizell tried to plant the ball down over the line, but the Television Match Official (TMO) ruled he had dropped it.

The Rebels set up the victory with four classy tries, all scored by their backs.

Cooper showed off his array of skills to set up two of those as he settled into his new AAMI Park home.

Waratahs stunned at Latu's suspension but accept ban

NSW grudgingly accepted a six-match suspension for Latu on Tuesday after he plead guilty to a dangerous charge into a ruck or maul, under law 9.20, against the Sunwolves.

Ed Quirk suffered a knee injury in a 79th minute incident, and though appearing to have a case to argue Latu was within his rights to tackle the ball carrier, the Waratahs plead guilty and anticipated a mid-range, 3-4 week penalty.

Spear tackles usually attract four week bans, and Bulls forward Pierre Schoeman was suspended for six weeks last year for biting Richard Hardwick.

Brumbies set to welcome Pocock back for 'Canes

Pocock suffered a concussion in the first five minutes of the Brumbies’ round one clash with the Rebels and missed last weekend’s match against the Chiefs.

The superstar flanker is expected to be fit for Friday night’s game in Wellington and Banks said the turnover machine would be a valuable addition.

“He's a world-class player,” he said.

“The thing he brings is the turnovers he can bring it just helps us as a backline to attack unstructured defences.

“That's what we try and do and he's the best at getting turnovers.”

Crusaders beat Blues in Super Rugby opener

The nine-time champions scored four tries to three on Saturday at Eden Park, but only clung to victory when Blues reserve five-eighth Harry Plummer missed two late shots at goal.

Making his maiden Super Rugby appearance, Plummer skewed a handy conversion attempt and then a 45m penalty shot, both inside the final seven minutes of a fiercely fought Kiwi derby.

It was a gut-wrenching result for new Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, whose team look highly competitive and capable of breaking a seven-season run of failing to reach the finals.

Foley miss seals Hurricanes win

Foley, who surpassed Matthew Burke's record of 959 points with a third-minute penalty goal at Brookvale Oval, had landed all five of his earlier attempts on Saturday night.

But with just over a minute left, the normally reliable pressure kicker failed to land a penalty from just beyond 30 metres, to the horror of most of the 17,111 sellout crowd.

Marty Banks back as Highlanders first-five

With former All Black Lima Sopoaga moving to English side Wasps, the Highlanders have brought Banks back to run the cutter alongside young playmakers Otago's Josh Ioane and North Harbour's Bryn Gatland.

Banks will play for the Highlanders an agreement was finalised with his Japanese side NTT Docomo and the Highlanders.

Seven changes to Chiefs lineup

Due to All Blacks commitments Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Leinert-Brown and Nathan Harris have returned to New Zealand following last week's win over the Stormers in Cape Town.

Add to that the injury toll the chiefs have suffered and they're without a total of 20 players for the match.

In the forwards, Liam Polwart starts at hooker for Harris, Tyler Ardron moves to lock in place of Retallick and Pita Gus Sowakula gets a start in the number eight jersey.

Sam Whitelock to miss Blues game

Vice-captain Crotty will link with Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

The Crusaders have made six changes and one positional switch from the side that beat the Waratahs last week.

In the front row, Tim Perry makes his return from a hamstring injury and will start at loosehead prop. All Black Owen Franks also returns to the starting side this week, and Mike Alaalatoa moves to the reserves.

'Millions of pounds' on offer for South African sides

Media reports in Britain yesterday claimed the Johannesburg based Lions, the Durban-based Sharks and Capetown franchise the Stormers are planning to move out of Super rugby.

Super rugby's governing body SANZAAR dismissed the report as simply wrong. But the president of the Lions franchise Kevin de Klerk, isn't ruling out the possibility saying there are 'millions of pounds on offer in Europe'.

He's told the Daily Telegraph that market forces could force a move to the northern hemisphere when the current Super Rugby broadcasting deal expires in 2020.

'Simply wrong' that South African teams are leaving Super Rugby

Wales Online says the Durban-based Sharks are set to leave the competition to join the European PRO14 competition for 2019-20.

The Cheetahs and Kings, who were cut from the down-sized Super Rugby last year, already play in the competition which includes teams form Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

The report said that the Lions and Stormers would likely follow suit.

Despite the Lions making the Super Rugby final last year South Africa's franchises feel they are handicapped due to the different time zones.