Blues

Super Rugby Aotearoa to extend if trans-tasman comp falls over

The tournament, in which the five New Zealand and Australian teams play cross over games in both countries, is scheduled to start in May.

However the competition is under threat due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, with a trans-tasman bubble needed to make the schedule work.

Currently anyone entering New Zealand or returning from overseas must quarantine for two weeks.

That would make the current Super Rugby Trans-Tasman schedule, which has the Chiefs playing in Perth on the opening round before returning to Hamilton for a home game the following week, unworkable.

Blues-Crusaders off again

The match was scheduled to be played on Saturday as part of the "Blues Footy Fest" event at Eden Park.

Blues CEO Andrew Hore says their priority is the safety and wellbeing of their players, staff and fans.

"We completely understand the situation and we support the directive from the New Zealand Government to reduce risk of any exposure and spread of this virus," Hore said.

"We all need to do our part to protect any spread of Covid-19 and at the current Level-3 Alert means we are unable to proceed with the game."

Hurricanes set to host Blues and Chiefs in game of three halves

It is the first time the venue has held a Super Rugby fixture, let alone a game of three halves – in which the three squads will all get to play each other for forty minutes.

Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, says the fixture will not only draw fans locally but from the Wairarapa as well.

“Upper Hutt is excited to host some of New Zealand’s biggest rugby stars. We’ll be coming along to show our support at our fortress, ‘The Stone’ (Maidstone Park).”

Hurricanes CEO, Avan Lee, says that excitement is mutual.

Leon MacDonald lifts lid on Dan Carter's playing future with the Blues

Carter signed for the Blues last season but didn’t end up getting any playing time thanks to the Covid-enforced cancellation of the final Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Crusaders, where he was set to make his debut.

While there was never really an expectation that Carter would return as a player to the franchise, it didn’t stop MacDonald from trying to persuade the 38-year-old to return once again.

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.

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.

Crusaders have huge amount of respect for the Blues

In a top of the table clash this Saturday, the Crusaders host the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa in Christchurch, a match which will give many older fans flashbacks to the glory days of the Auckland-Canterbury rivalry.

Both sides are unbeaten after three games, and with no finals to take place, Saturday could go a long way towards deciding which team will lift the trophy later this year.

Hansen says there is a huge amount of respect for the Blues.

Blues' blockbuster Hoskins Sotutu is eligible for England and Fiji

Witnessing the Blues’ continued resurgence during Super Rugby Aotearoa it is impossible to miss Sotutu’s blond-haired presence often leading the charge alongside captain Patrick Tuipulotu’s pink tips.

The 21-year-old, in his first full Super Rugby campaign after debuting late last season, has kept talented teammate Akira Ioane out of the No 8 role with a series of captivating performances, and now seems destined to crack the All Blacks squad later this year.