Super Rugby

Highlanders heading to Fiji

Led by new coach Aaron Mauger, the Dunedin-based side have agreed to stage a home game in Suva on June 30 against the Colin Cooper-coached Chiefs - who have played the Crusaders in Fiji in 2016 and 2017.

Club chief Roger Clark says it is a sound sporting decision.

"We are aware of the large following Super Rugby enjoys in Fiji and we're happy to have the chance to showcase our style of game in the islands," Clark said.

"Fiji has produced so many great players including our own Waisake Naholo - it will be great experience for him and all the players."

Chiefs not eyeing Fiji

For the past two years the franchise has taken their big game, against what have become their fiercest rivals, to Suva, in a deal which reaped financial benefit, but left local fans missing out on attending the key derby. 

The 2018 draw was announced on Thursday, and while none of the New Zealand sides have confirmed their venues for their eight home fixtures, the Chiefs aren't expecting to play in Fiji for a third successive year.

Western Force axed from Super Rugby

"The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has today resolved to discontinue the Western Force Super Rugby licence," read a statement released on Friday.

"The decision comes after several weeks of consultation with rugby bodies and stakeholders, including government and commercial partners."

The Force agreed to enter arbitration last week with the ARU, who said in April that they would cut either the Force or the Melbourne Rebels from Super Rugby next season as the competition contracts from 18 to 15 teams.

Hurricanes succumb to Lions

Up 22-3 just before the halftime break, but the Lions found their rhythm in the second half to set up a showdown with the Crusaders in Johannesburg next weekend.

It ended an eight match losing streak for the Lions against the Hurricanes, including last season's Super Rugby final when they were beaten 20-3 in Wellington.

It also extends the stay of Gloucester-bound Lions coach Johan Ackermann for one more game, when he will have the chance to end his four-year stay by helping them become just the second South African team, after the Bulls, to lift the Super Rugby trophy.

Crusaders beat Chiefs 27-13 to advance to Super Rugby final

With their backs against the wall for much of Saturday’s match, and barely one-third of possession, the Crusaders seized on every chance.

Midfielder-cum-winger Seta Tamanivalu bagged a clinical double, after earlier efforts by halfback Bryn Hall and Test stalwart Israel Dagg.

Without the ball, the Crusaders were equally impressive, holding a territorially dominant Chiefs outfit — with Damian McKenzie lurking from deep — to a single try, a late consolation to lock Brodie Retallick.

Chiefs beat Stormers to book spot in semis

A quarter-final packed with tension remained in the balance through the final stages and was ultimately won by the visitors' superior defence and the goal-kicking boot of Damian McKenzie.

It means the Chiefs must next face the Crusaders in Christchurch, with the possibility of a return to South Africa for the final if the Lions beat the Hurricanes.

Handling errors predominated throughout the match, which didn't remotely resemble the Chiefs' 60-21 win in the equivalent match at the same venue last year.

Clinical Crusaders crush Highlanders

Chasing their eighth title and first since 2008, the Crusaders will remain in Christchurch next week to meet either the Stormers or the Chiefs who play later on Saturday in Cape Town.

RNZI reports driving rain and wind greeted both teams at a sodden AMI Stadium, but the conditions played into the hands of the home side's dominant pack while dampening the Highlanders' attacking firepower.

Front-rowers Joe Moody and Codie Taylor rumbled over for tries to drive the Crusaders to a 17-0 lead at halftime that the Highlanders were unable to budge in the second half.

Hurricanes break down Brumbies to reach semis

It was far from a perfect performance from the defending champions as they struggled up front early and had to break down a rugged Brumbies defensive line to keep their hopes of back to back titles alive.

Faumuina gets the 99 call

Faumuina, 30, is heading to French club Toulouse at the end of the season.

He earnt his 50th test cap in the drawn third test against the British and Irish Lions at the weekend and this weekend's match against the Japanese side the Sunwolves would have been his 100th Super rugby game had he not missed the match against the Queensland Reds in Samoa earlier this season due to tonsillitis.

Former All Black loose forward Steven Luatua will also play his last match for the Blues.

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.