Super Rugby

Former All Blacks great Tana Umaga unveiled as new coach of Moana Pasifika

Umaga has been unveiled as the new Moana Pasifika coach, taking over from Aaron Mauger. He has signed a three-year contract from 2024 to 2026.

The former All Blacks captain, who coached Moana Pasifika in their debut match against the Māori All Blacks in 2020, said: “I’ve always held a special place for Moana Pasifika since its inception, and I’m deeply honoured for this opportunity to take up the reins again as head coach.”

Cotter named Blues head coach, O'Halloran to assist

Cotter, who starts with the Blues this week, will be joined by new assistant coach, Jason O'Halloran, also on a two-year deal, working alongside members of the existing Blues coaching team.

Cotter is an experienced Head Coach at both domestic and international level and was most recently head coach of Fiji from 2020-22.

He was also Head Coach of Scotland from 2014-2017 - where he joined forces with O'Halloran - the pair taking the team from tenth to fifth in the World Rugby Rankings and credited with having a strong impact on the culture and performance of the team.

Blues look to end a dynasty

Blues coach Leon MacDonald is also looking for final bragging rights over his great mate Scott Robertson before the pair link up to lead the All Blacks.

The two will go head to head as the Crusaders and Blues square off in the Super Rugby semi final.

The Crusaders are unbeaten in Super Rugby play off games at home and MacDonald said his side will need to play close to the perfect game to end the dynasty in Christchurch.

"The challenge of going down there and potentially breaking that record, that's a big carrot and great motivation for us."

Chiefs outmuscle Hurricanes in Hamilton slogfest

All Blacks lock Tupou Vaa'i scored two of the Chiefs' three tries in miserable conditions in Hamilton to bounce back from last week's shock 25-22 loss to the Reds - their first defeat of the season.

Up 10-0 at halftime, the home side looked comfortably placed when Vaa'i then bagged his second try as the pouring rain grew in intensity reports RNZ.

However, tries to Hurricanes fullback Josh Moorby and No.8 Brayden within the space of 10 minutes closed the gap to eight points entering the closing stages.

Blues pip Moana Pasifika in heartbreaking fashion

Following nine straight losses, Moana Pasifika were pipped in the final seconds in the one point thriller, to remain winless for the season.

Down by six points with time up, the Blues were awarded a penalty try from a scrum in the last play of the game.

Blues captain Dalton Papali'i said it was a considerable effort to come away with the win, despite being below their best.

"There's a bit of mixed emotions, we knew Moana was going to come here and bring it to us," he said.

All Black returns for Crusaders’ clash with undefeated Chiefs

After losing the opening match of the season 31-10 to the Chiefs in Christchurch, the Crusaders have a chance to avenge that defeat in round 10.

Coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to the run-on XV, while Sam Whitelock has also been named for his 350th first-class appearance.

Replacement Quinten Strange is also in line for his 50th appearance in a Crusaders jersey, as he looks to provide some impact off the bench at FMG Stadium.

More home games 'would be awesome' says Moana Pasifika coach

This year the Drua have already played two home matches and won both, and they are due to play two more at home in the next month.

Moana Pasifika, on the other hand, had their first-ever local game on April 14 in Apia, Samoa, losing 40-28 to the Queensland Reds.

They are based this year at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.

A spokesperson for Moana Pasifika on asked if they were likely to more home games said: "We definitely would like to have more games in 2024 in our home nations and fixtures are still to be scheduled."

Blues sweating on fitness of Perofeta and Laulala

Fullback Perofeta was feeling his shoulder while Laulala incurred a calf problem during the 55-21 win at Eden Park on Saturday.

Coach Leon Macdonald is hoping the damage isn't too serious.

"Both look relatively significant," he told journalists.

"Stevey felt his shoulder move a little bit so we need to get a scan on that. I think he's done something to that shoulder in the past so he'll be sweating on that.

"And Nepo's calf doesn't look 100 percent great as well."

Poor starts again prove costly for Drua

The Drua went down 50-17 at FMG stadium in Hamilton on a wet and soggy night on Friday in their Super Rugby Pacific match.

RNZ reports it left Mick Byrne lamenting the poor start to the game.

"Obviously the scoreboard was disappointing tonight but when we get back, we have four of our last six games at home," he said.

"We`ve building nicely through the year but the boys are going to look forward to getting on the plane tomorrow and getting home.

Hurricanes face Super Rugby litmus test against Chiefs

The Hurricanes topped the table with a 29-14 win at the Highlanders last weekend while the Chiefs had a bye, setting up a blockbuster at Sky Stadium between the top two sides in the competition.

Jason Holland's Hurricanes will look to extend their winning streak to five for the first time since the 2020 season and shrug off any lingering doubts about their title credentials.

They have not defeated any of the major contenders this campaign but now have their chance against the unbeaten Chiefs in a match rescheduled to the afternoon due to a lighting problem at the venue.