Auckland Blues

Blues assistant coach Tana Umaga puts pen to paper in new deal with franchise

This brings Umaga into line with the rest of the Blues coaching group of head coach Leon MacDonald, forwards coach Tom Coventry and backs/skills coach Daniel Halangahu.

Umaga joined the Blues as head coach in 2016 before stepping into the defence coaching role for a two-year deal in 2019, with the additional year ensuring his contract comes up for renewal alongside the rest of the Blues coaching team after the 2021 season.

Eklund glad to be out of isolation

Eklund was named in the 'North' squad for Saturday's match, but has not been able to do any real training for more than two weeks.

New Zealand's largest city was placed into lockdown on Aug. 12 after a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus, while social distancing measures were also introduced for the rest of the country.

The lockdown was lifted on Sunday, allowing Auckland-based players to travel to Wellington, although social distancing measures remain in place until Sept. 6, ensuring the match will be played without a crowd.

Inter-island rugby match postponed

The match was originally due to be played at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday week but when Auckland went into level three lockdown New Zealand rugby made contingency plans for Wellington.

NZR exemptions from the Ministry of Health for 14 players and five support staff but these have been denied.

Bay of Plenty Steamers sign Blues first five

The 25-year-old is having a steller Super Rugby Aotearoa season with the Blues and despite the fact he is competing with a current and a former All Blacks first-five; Beauden Barrett and Daniel Carter, Black’s form has justifiably kept him in the starting 15.

Black says becoming a first-time dad and getting to be near his whanau was a major reason for signing with the Bay.

Super Rugby matches still up in air

  

The country's shift back up the Covid-19 alert levels until at least midnight Friday has put both matches in serious doubt.

As it stands, Sunday's sold-out Blues-Crusaders match in Auckland could not go ahead, while Saturday's Highlanders-Hurricanes game in Dunedin could but without fans.

NZR general manager for professional rugby & performance Chris Lendrum said all their decision-making would be guided by government advice and they were awaiting the government update on Friday with interest.

The Blues make official statement around the New Zealand Government's decision to lockdown Auckland

With the Blues scheduled to host the Crusaders in front of a sellout crowd on Sunday in the final round of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Blues are awaiting further correspondence.

“The Blues along with fellow Super Rugby Aotearoa partners and NZR are currently assessing the impact of both the Blues-Crusaders and Highlanders-Hurricanes games with the move to Covid-19 Level 3 in Auckland and the rest of the country to Level 2,” a statement read.

“NZR is in close and constant dialogue with Government and we will pass on more information when we have it.

Dan Carter recognises 'old-man calves' may prevent Blues appearance

The 112-test former All Blacks first five, 38, signed for the Blues as injury cover and had been pencilled in on their bench for a 18 July match with the Wellington Hurricanes. Carter, however, suffered a calf strain and was forced to withdraw from the matchday squad.

In a social media Q&A session, he said his expectations of getting game time had been low in any case before the injury.

"I wasn't really expecting to (play) to be honest, unless there was an injury to Beauden (Barrett) or Otere (Black)," Carter said.

Blues keep Super Rugby Aotearoa title race alive

The Blues' victory moved them to 22 points, two behind the table-topping Crusaders.

Leon Macdonald's side, however, have just one fixture remaining - the final match of the domestic competition which is against the Crusaders on 16 August at Eden Park.

The Crusaders host the Highlanders next Sunday.

The Blues had not won in Dunedin since 2011 and they raced to an early 12-0 lead with tries to number eight Akira Ioane and halfback Christie.

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.

All Black jersey awaits Hoskins Sotutu

The 21-year-old No 8 has been a standout performer in Super Rugby this year, his rapid rise thrusting him into conversations

concerning the selection of the next New Zealand squad.

Sotutu is not only eligible for the All Blacks but also Fiji through his dad, former Blues and Auckland utility Waisake, and England through his mother.