Super Rugby Aotearoa

Super Rugby Aotearoa is taking a toll on the players

New Zealand Rugby set up the 10-week domestic competition after the broader Super Rugby season, which also featured sides from South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Japan, was suspended due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

With the country's five Super Rugby teams battling it out in a constant stream of high-quality derbies, players are experiencing almost test match conditions week in, week out.

Blues hold on for close win over Chiefs

The Blues produced a massive defensive effort on their goal line in the final five minutes to preserve a win that moved them to 17 competition points, two behind the table-topping Crusaders, who have a game in hand.

The Crusaders suffered their first loss of the domestic competition on Saturday, when the Hurricanes beat them 34-32 in Christchurch.

Both the Blues and Chiefs were desperate heading into the match to arrest their respective slides with the Auckland side having lost their last two games after winning the first three.

Super Rugby journeyman Adam Thomson to bring up century

The 38-year-old loose forward began his Super Rugby career in 2006 when he debuted for the Highlanders.

Following his 67 caps for the Highlanders, Thomson headed offshore to Japan on a two-year contract with the Cannon Eagles before he returned to Super Rugby in 2015 for the Queensland Reds.

After 15 appearances for the Reds he moved to Melbourne in 2016, where he notched up 13 caps for the Melbourne Rebels.

Hurricanes put Crusaders prep on hold

But Holland doesn't want to spend his Sunday thinking about the Crusaders.

"I don't want to move there yet. I want to soak up what we've just done out there against the Blues, especially if we lost out here to the Blues it hurts for three or four days. So I want to take another day or so to enjoy this," Holland said.

"We want to beat the other team and we want to go to Christchurch to end their run.

"We're going to have to do everything well. We're going to have to prepare well and that will start on Monday morning, but at the moment we're going to enjoy this win."

Barrett boots Hurricanes to win over big brother

Barrett's conversion upstaged older brother Beauden, who was making his first appearance for the Blues at Wellington Regional Stadium after he moved north this year following nine seasons with the Hurricanes.

"They're the kicks that every kicker wants, they're the ones I want, they're the ones you practice for during the week and so I was lucky I hit it true. It only snuck in," Jordie Barrett said.

" often enjoy those wide ones where the game's on the line.

Carter pulled from Blues line-up

"He's pulled up a bit tight," Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.

"It's nothing too major but we want to make sure we don't risk anything with Dan.

"With calves, if you get on top of them early, it can take a couple of days to come right, but if you're a little bit late it can be three to four weeks, so it makes sense just to look after him."

Carter's withdrawal means the full glare of the spotlight will be back on Beauden Barrett, who is returning to Wellington for the first time since his move from the Hurricanes to the Blues.

Hurricanes dig deep to hold out Highlanders

They ran in three tries to the visitors' one, but still had to dig deep to hold on for their second win of the competition.

The match started at a frantic pace in gusty conditions, both teams denied a try inside the first 10 minutes.

Two minutes after an earlier obstruction denied Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith a fourth-minute try, Hurricanes second five-eighth Ngani Laumape's try was disallowed for the same reason.

Crusaders down Blues with barnstorming finish

The win extended their winning streak at home to 36 games, but was hard earned after the Blues led for the first 60 minutes.

Both sides were unbeaten after their first three games of Super Rugby Aotearoa, with the Blues also boasting four straight wins before Covid-19 suspended the original Super Rugby competition.

The Blues drew first blood tonight, just 10 minutes after kick-off, building pressure before Otere Black's wide ball found Mark Telea on the right wing.

Blues and Crusaders, the battle is back

The provincial bloodfeud, which dates back more than a century, has waned in recent years with the nine times champion Crusaders dominating almost all comers.

But with both sides unbeaten after their first three games of Super Rugby Aotearoa Saturday's match up has fans and players hoping for a new chapter in the storied conflict.

Carlos Spencer sparking a length of the field try to seal the win for the Blues over the Crusaders in 2004 before flipping the Canterbury crowd the bird, epitomising the intense rivalry between the two teams.

Crusaders bring back big guns but bench rising superstar for Blues battle

 Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made few changes to the side that secured a bonus-point win against the Highlanders last weekend.

Ethan Blackadder sustained a knee injury at training last week and was ruled out of the match in Dunedin. His replacements, Sione Havili and Tom Sanders, will rotate this week, with Sanders to start and Havili named on the bench. The rest of the forward pack is unchanged.