Super Rugby

Sotutu rest gives Ioane opportunity

The one-match All Black missed out on a starting spot in the team's first five matches of 2020 thanks to the impressive form of 21-year-old Hoskins Sotutu.

But with Sotutu rested after the Blues back-to-back wins in South Africa, Ioane has been given the number eight jersey for Saturday night's clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington.

The selection was one of several changes to a Blues side on a short week after only returning from their successful trip to South Africa on Tuesday.

Head coach Leon MacDonald said the decisions were based on a finding from last year.

Blues go back-to-back in SA

Backing up their 23-21 win over the Bulls last weekend, the Auckland-based side scored a convincing 33-14 win over the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday morning (NZ time).

The Blues led 27-14 at halftime, thanks to a brace of tries from English centre-turned-winger Joe Marchant and another from flanker Dalton Papali'i.

The second half wasn't so free-flowing, with the visitors defence shining as the kept the Stormers scoreless and ended their unbeaten start to the season.

Waratahs break win drought against Lions

The previously winless Tahs scored five tries to two on Friday night at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium to notch their first victory in six matches and also a first triumph in their past six clashes with the Lions.

The home team made their supporters sweat, however, missing six out of eight shots at goal.

But a 76th-minute try to replacement prop Tetera Faulkner sealed the win after skipper Rob Simmons had left the field with an ankle injury.

Crusaders match moved from Tokyo due to Coronavirus

The Sunwolves chief executive Yuji Watase told reporters in Japan that the Crusaders' match won't be held in the country.

"We are trying to relocate the Brumbies' match on 8th March in Osaka and the Crusaders' match on March 14th in Tokyo to overseas," Watase said.

"In the beginning, we tried to hold these matches in Japan behind closed doors, but when we thought about what is the best solution, we came to the conclusion to hold these games abroad."

SANZAAR yesterday announced next Friday's match between the Sunwolves and Brumbies in Osaka has also been postponed.

Sunwolves match with Brumbies likely to be cancelled due to coronavirus

SANZAAR announced this afternoon the March 6 match in Osaka has been cancelled due to multiple factors linked to Covid-19.

"The international cross-border nature of the Super Rugby tournament has led SANZAAR to review its playing schedule and to implement specific tournament protocols to minimise any risks of the ongoing effects of the corona [COVID-19] virus," SANZAAR said in a statement.

Highlanders name Manaaki Selby-Rickit in team to face Rebels

Selby-Rickit is poised to make his first Highlanders appearance off the bench alongside two other potential debutants, utility back Scott Gregory and tighthead prop Jeff Thwaites.

Selby-Rickit made his return to rugby for the Highlanders Bravehearts last weekend after serving a New Zealand Rugby ban following an assault conviction last year.

Brumbies beat Chiefs for the first time since 2007

Coming into Saturday night's match, the Chiefs were unbeaten in the 2020 season, while the Brumbies were coming off a narrow 23-22 loss to the Highlanders at home the week before.

That last minute loss may have spurred the Brumbies on in Hamilton, as it was the visitors who came out firing from the first whistle.

Fullback Tom Banks was the first to score for the Brumbies off a set piece move inside the Chiefs 22.

Blues snatch win in Pretoria

It's the Blues' second win of the season and lifts them to third in the New Zealand conference, four points behind the Chiefs and five behind the Crusaders.

"It's always hard to come to Africa. Coming to Loftus against a Bulls side against the wall, they pretty much fought to the end. We had to work hard for it and I'm pretty pleased," Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu told local broadcaster Supersport.

It's the Blues' first win in Pretoria in eight years.

Crusaders look ahead to well-earned bye after strong start to season

The Crusaders - for now - are currently top of the Super Rugby standings, after beating southern rivals the Highlanders 33-13 in Christchurch on Friday night. 

They're 3-1 this season with wins over the Waratahs, Blues and Highlanders, with their lone defeat coming against the unbeaten Chiefs a fortnight ago. 

Last year, the Crusaders had to wait until week 10 of the competition for a bye, but their first comes much earlier this season - and at a good time as well. 

Highlanders debut for Kuridrani against Crusaders

Kuridrani has been named as one of the starting wingers for the Highlanders replacing the suspended Patelesio Tomkinson.

This means the Highlanders will have Fijians playing on the wing as Jona Nareki will start once again.

Kuridrani, who is the brother of former Fiji and Crusaders superstar Nemani Nadolo, previously played Super Rugby for the Reds.

He has represented both Fijian and Australian age-grade sides and spent two seasons in Japan before suiting up for Counties Manukau in the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup.