Super Rugby

Nareki hat-trick sparks Highlanders win

After twice being reduced to 14 men, and struggling for momentum in the first half, the Highlanders looked in trouble as the home team took a 20-11 lead into halftime.

But the Chiefs' organisation on defence proved too haphazard in the second spell, and Nareki was in punishing form.

The two teams had exchanged early penalties in a cautious start, Damian McKenzie sinking two for the Chiefs while Josh Ioane kept the Highlanders in touch with one.

'I have a few tricks': New meets old as Sevu Reece prepares for showdown with former All Black

In fact, Reece featured in just a solitary match – New Zealand’s loss to Australia in Brisbane.

Instead, new coach Ian Foster favoured utility back Jordie Barrett on the right wing, while the likes of George Bridge, Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane were given chances on the left.

That’s despite Reece playing a key role in the Crusaders securing a fourth title on the trot, featuring in all seven of their matches and finishing the season as the competition’s second-equal top try scorer.

Chiefs to get several hundred spectators

The Hamilton franchise will split the stadium into separate viewing zones each with their own dedicated entry and exit points.

700 tickets were released to season ticket holders and stakeholders last night on a first-in first-served basis and the allocation sold out in under three minutes.

Contact tracing will be conducted through the Chiefs' ticketing system while the scanning of COVID-19 QR codes along with physical distancing will be mandatory for all attendees.

Blues storm home to down Hurricanes

The Hurricanes made too many mistakes, and the Blues proved adept at punishing them, as evidenced by the first try they scored after four minutes.

Flanker Dalton Papalii dotted down between the posts when he pounced on a botched pass as the Canes looked to run the ball out from inside their 22.

Otere Black added the extras, but the Hurricanes hit back two minutes later. Hooker Asafo Aumua bulldozed his way over to finish a move kick-started by second five-eighth Ngani Laumape's jinking run.

New Highlanders signing Solomon Alaimalo moves south for 2021 provincial season

Rugby Southland confirmed the significant coup on Friday, the same day Alaimalo will make his debut for the Highlanders in the opening match of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season since moving south from the Chiefs.

By signing for Southland, the 25-year-old will also have a new side to play for in the NPC as he joins younger brother Charles, who has been at the Stags for the past two seasons, in Invercargill.

According to a report from Stuff, Alaimalo is believed to have turned down offers from bigger provincial unions to join Southland.

Fijian Super Rugby team needs $NZ10m

The Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika were announced in November as New Zealand Rugby's preferred partners to join an expanded 12-team competition in 2022, subject to meeting a range of conditions.

FRU Chair, Conway Beg, said they need to demonstrate that a Super Rugby franchise in Fiji will be financially sustainable.

"We have to get the capital in place. Otherwise we won't be able to make the dream a reality."

Private money to back Fiji franchise entry into Super Rugby 2022

The kicker is that the team is likely now to be privately owned, with the union holding a minority stake in the franchise.

The entry of one or more Pasifika sides into Super Rugby has been the subject of much debate in the southern hemisphere, with Moana Pasifika set to enter future Super Rugby competitions. A third bid – Kanaloa Pasifika – even threatened to sue the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) after their bid was snubbed last November.

Brad Weber to co-captain Chiefs with Sam Cane

30-year-old Weber debuted for the Chiefs in 2014 and established himself as the franchise's first choice halfback.

He was been stand-in captain for the Chiefs on several occasions during both the 2019 and 2020 Super Rugby seasons.

Cane first captained the Chiefs in 2016.

Since awarded the captaincy, Cane has captained alongside Aaron Cruden, Charlie Ngatai and Brodie Retallick.

Weber is honoured to undertake the role as a captain alongside Cane.

Ex-Melbourne Storm NRL winner Suliasi Vunivalu misses Super Rugby debut for Reds over pub incident

The champion NRL winger had arrived at Ballymore fresh off a premiership with the Melbourne Storm as Rugby Australia's big-ticket item.

But on Tuesday the winger copped a club-imposed A$10,000 (NZ$10,74) fine alongside suspension from Friday's season opener at Suncorp Stadium against the NSW Waratahs.

The matter is before the court and will be reviewed by RA and Queensland Rugby Union once it is resolved.

It is understood the security guard was not injured during the incident, which was considered minor and occurred earlier this month.

Two new law variations for Super Rugby

The two law variations will be used for the first time when preseason matches begin this weekend.

The innovations, which have World Rugby Executive Committee approval, have been introduced after extensive feedback and collaboration with players, coaches and referees, and follow the successful introduction of golden point and red card replacement laws in 2020, both of which will continue in 2021.