Super Rugby

Crusaders not fooled by depleted Reds' limp loss to Highlanders

The Crusaders’ head coach expects a vastly different team to front against them in Brisbane on Saturday night, not one still coming down from a triumphant final, and one missing a host of key players.

He also knows the Super Rugby Aotearoa champion Crusaders must be significantly better in multiple areas after their tense 31-29 win against the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday night.

NZ teams go unbeaten in round one of Super Rugby trans-Tasman

Domingo Miotti missed a chance to see the Western Force to a home win over the Chiefs in Perth as they went down 20-19 while Noah Lolesio missed a similar last-gasp chance to earn the ACT Brumbies a draw with the Crusaders in Christchurch, handing the New Zealanders a 31-29 win.

The Blues, meanwhile, pulverised the Melbourne Rebels 50-3.

The trio of New Zealand wins added to Friday's success for the Highlanders, who outmuscled Australian champions Queensland Reds, and the Hurricanes, who beat the New South Wales Waratahs.

First blood for New Zealand in trans-Tasman Super Rugby

The Highlanders trounced Australian champions the Queensland Reds 40-19 before the Hurricanes beat the NSW Waratahs 64-48 in a Sydney try-fest.

Predictions that the six-week contest would be one-sided in favour of the New Zealand sides looked on the money when Highlanders centre Scott Gregory cantered over the line for the first try of the competition after just 35 seconds in Dunedin.

Pumas skipper signs with Crusaders

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Matera is one of the "premier loose forwards in world rugby.

"He's a skilful and tenacious player with genuine leadership qualities, who has impressed us with his physicality and work ethic. We're really excited about him joining us next season, and sharing his experience with our young loose forward group who are learning their craft."

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are "still working through the finer detail" of the agreeement.

Hurricanes drop one All Blacks and bring in another for final Super Rugby Aotearoa clash

Former All Blacks wing Julian Savea returns to the right wing in place of Wes Goosen after missing out on last week’s last-gasp 26-24 defeat at the hands of Damian McKenzie and the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The only other alteration comes in the midfield, where one-test All Blacks centre Peter Umaga-Jensen has swapped onto the bench to hand impressive youngster Billy Proctor a starting berth in the No. 13 jersey.

Chiefs side named for inaugural Super Rugby Women clash

Waitomo Chiefs Women Head Coach Chad Shepherd, along with his assistants La Toya Mason, James Semple and Mike Rogers have named a strong twenty-three to pull on the Chiefs Women’s jersey for the first time.

The side featuring twelve current Black Ferns and an abundance of Farah Palmer Cup players from across the Chiefs Region have completed their preparations for the one-off fixture.

Packing down the front row will be Bay of Plenty loosehead prop Angel Mulu, Black Ferns hooker Luka Connor and Waikato’s Tanya Kalounivale. Former

Tuipulotu's mixed emotions on Moana Pasifika

Granted conditional entrance from next season, alongside the Fijian Drua, the new side was expected to be mostly made up of those playing for a Pacific Island country or on that pathway.

But the squad was also likely to feature a small number of players aligned to other test teams, including potentially the All Blacks.

That could mean New Zealand's five Super teams could be at risk of losing players, with the Blues very much in that category as a franchise based in a region of strong Pacific Island population.

Moana Pasifika reveal 20 per cent of squad could still be available for All Blacks

Speaking on Sky’s The Breakdown show on Monday evening, Moana Pasifika general manager Kevin Senio said that 80 per cent of the Moana Pasifika squad would either be already playing for a Pacific Islands nations such as Samoa or Tonga, or on that pathway.

That would invariably strengthen the test squad of the Pacific Island nations, but it also means that eight players out of their squad of 38 will be available for the All Blacks, Australia, or any other test nation.

“What we've done is use the New Zealand model and flicked it on its head,” Senio said.

Chiefs shift Damian McKenzie to No 10 for Crusaders clash

A move called for by many following the team’s opening two losses, and after McKenzie had run there in pre-season, the Chiefs had stuck to their guns in starting their star playmaker in the extra space at fullback, then moving him to first five-eighth during the final 20-30 minutes of games, to get more involved on the ball and attack tiring defensive lines.

Aaron Smith says Super Rugby is still brutal

The Crusaders have lost mid-field back Jack Goodhue for the year, the Chiefs are without captain Same Cane long term because of a shoulder injury, while the Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea is out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury.

Smith has again highlighted the intensity of the local competition which became a major talking point last year when Covid-19 forced the five New Zealand sides to play amongst themselves.