Auckland Blues

Head injury forces Blues veteran to quit rugby

Parsons,34, has played 115 games for the Auckland based franchise and sits behind only Keven Mealaumu, Jerome Kaino and Tony Woodcock on the list of most capped players for the franchise.

He made his debut against the Highlanders in 2012 and play 106 matches for North Harbour.

Parsons made his international debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2014 and was recalled for a second test against Australia in Wellington two years later.

Parsons, said he's retiring on medical advice, after being out of the game for several months due to a head injury.

Blues star nearly beats Beauden Barrett's fitness record as Super Rugby pre-season training kicks-off

Looking to build on their second-place finish in Super Rugby Aotearoa last year, the Blues congregated at their Alexandra Park training base on Thursday and were put through their paces with their annual Bronco test that takes place on the first day of each pre-season.

It was that fitness drill that saw All Blacks star Beauden Barrett‘s name dominate headlines seven months ago as he crushed the Auckland franchise’s test record upon return to training from last year’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Leon MacDonald hints that talented 20-year-old could take Beauden Barrett's spot at the Blues

Since the 2003 title win, the Blues have managed just one finals appearance, despite boasting the largest catchment area in New Zealand. Much of their lack of success has been rightly or wrongly attributed to the side not possessing a world-class flyhalf and Barrett’s injection into the side late in 2020 coincided with a rich vein of form for the Aucklanders, with the Blues eventually finishing the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in second place.

Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu: 'We can't be content — we have to get even better'

For Tuipulotu, more than most, it’s been a major mission, given the uncertainty, the changing goalposts and the personal investment he had in the great Blues Super Rugby turnaround which in 2020 finally stopped being an empty promise and morphed into a glorious overdue reality.

Blues bring back their coaching group for another crack in 2021

The franchise confirmed ahead of this week's squad announcement for 2021 (7am Thursday) that their entire coaching group had reupped for next season at least as they look to make further ground in the wake of their 2020 breakthrough.

Defence coach Tana Umaga, who is closely linked with the Moana Pasifika group seeking to come into Super Rugby for 2022, had already announced his one-season extension at the Blues to join head coach Leon MacDonald, while forwards coach Tom Coventry and back attack/skills guru Dan Halangahu have confirmed they will remain on board “until 2022”.

'It took a bit of convincing': Dan Carter sheds light on decision to join Blues

Carter, 38, bowed out of international rugby after leading the All Blacks to victory at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the three-time World Rugby Player of the Year then spent three seasons in Paris with Racing 92 before joining the Kobelco Steelers in Japan in 2018.

However, the global Covid-19 pandemic put an early end to domestic rugby in Japan in 2020 and Carter decided to return to New Zealand to take up a role with the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

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.