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Super Rugby Aotearoa, news: Super Rugby New Zealand, sport in NZ, Blues defeat Hurricanes, crowds, referees, results



The big-name players were back, along with swollen grandstands, but the referees were in no mood to celebrate as Super Rugby completed its return in stop-start fashion.

A 30-20 victory for the Blues over the Hurricanes at a sold-out Eden Park on Sunday rounded out the inaugural weekend of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

It was a second result to delight home supporters after the Highlanders pipped the Chiefs 28-27 in Dunedin a night earlier – the first match since the country emerged from its COVID-19 lockdown.

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While the national sport’s return and presence of crowds was widely heralded, the influence of match officials soured both games and may prompt administrators to rethink their approach.

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Swys reckons the outcome justified Rassie’s actions



Swys reckons the outcome justified Rassie’s actions | SuperSport – Africa’s source of sports video, fixtures, results and news

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‘Not a lot of things … are going to surprise us’



While the Wallabies may have had the tougher July test schedule, the All Blacks are confident they won’t be caught unawares by their trans-Tasman rivals in the opening Bledisloe Cup game of the year this weekend.

The All Blacks coasted to wins over Tonga and Fiji, racking up over 50 points in each of the three matches they played throughout July. Even in their test against Fiji in Dunedin, where they struggled with the breakdown work and physicality of their opposition in the early stages of the match, they still managed to record a 34-point win come the 80th minute of the game.

In contrast, the Wallabies fought tooth-and-nail to record a 2-1 series win over an admittedly understrength French side, sneaking over the line by 3 points in the first and third tests to nab the well-earned victory.

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The panel of Ross Karl, Bryn Hall and James Parsons run their eye over all the action from the past weekend of rugby.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash at Eden Park, however, senior All Blacks Anton Lienert-Brown and Brodie Retallick both noted that while they might not have been put under quite as much pressure in July as their neighbours, they’ve got plenty of players amongst their ranks who are well versed in close encounters.

“You could say [they have an advantage],” said Lienert-Brown. “They’ve played in close matches and I guess the three games we played weren’t as close but we’ve got a lot of experience in this group and a lot of boys have played big games, and that all counts as well.”

Retallick shared similar thoughts.

“Obviously those games went down to the 80th minute, if not a little bit later,” he said. “You can only mentally prepare for that.

“This team knows. It’s not new to any of these players, they’ve been there before so we know what’s coming and hopefully we can go out there and do our job and it doesn’t come to [shutting out a game in the dying stages], and we’re in control. Obviously you’ve got to be ready for it, but the plan is to go out there and front-foot it.”

Last year, the opening Bledisloe Cup match ended in a draw, with Wallabies utility Reece Hodge narrowly missing a long-range penalty that would have sealed the game for the visitors in Wellington.

While the All Blacks scored comfortable wins in the second and third games of the series, the Wallabies came back strongly to win the final battle between the two sides of 2020, prevailing 24-22 in Queensland.

Lienert-Brown suggested that he and his teammates took some important lessons from the matches where they struggled for ascendancy and they won’t again be caught by surprise by the men from Australia.

“Every time you play, you take lessons, whether you lose or you win,” he said. “If we think back to the first Bledisloe game last year, they definitely turned up. We’ll take our learnings from that and implement it into this week.

“Obviously they’ll be confident [because] they won the series [with France] and they played pretty well. We know they’re going to be physical and they’re going to want to outwork us so there’s not a lot of things that are going to surprise us, but we know that they’re going to be up for this game and we’ve got to match them physically.”

Retallick was on sabbatical last year and missed the entirety of the test season but the July tests have provided he and the rest of the All Blacks with plenty of insight as to how the Wallabies are continuing to develop their game under Dave Rennie – the man who first selected Lienert-Brown and Retallick for the Chiefs.

“I’ve only seen what they did against the French a few weeks back,” he admitted, “and obviously they had some big forward ball-carriers coming around the corner and then they’ve got some backs that like to run across the line and pick a defender and try and make a decision.

“They’re a good outfit. They’re no doubt going to come at us up front with those forwards like we talked about and I suppose that’s the challenge for us, that we don’t get caught out by what they bring like we maybe did against Fiji down in Dunedin.”

Both teams for Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup fixture at Eden Park will be announced tomorrow.


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Brumbies elevate promising prop Fred Kaihea to Super Rugby squad | Latest Rugby News



The Brumbies have elevated prop Fred Kaihea to their full-time squad for the 2022 Super Rugby season.

Kaihea made his Super Rugby debut for the club against the Force in round six following a raft of injuries and suspensions in the club’s front-row in Super Rugby AU.

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After impressing during his brief stints, the Brumbies has added him to their squad for next season, joining a front-row lathered with Wallabies such as Allan Alaalatoa, Scott Sio and James Slipper.

The call-up is well deserved for the 22-year-old, who has been plying his trade in the John I Dent Cup for Queanbeyan over the past five years.

“I’m extremely proud to be joining the Brumbies Super Rugby squad, full-time,” he said in a statement

“Living out my dream last season, getting to play Super Rugby was an incredible moment for me and my friends and family, and it only made me want to work harder to continue to pursue that dream.

“The Brumbies have supported me, pushed me to be better and they have shown a lot of faith in me, and my job is to repay that by improving everyday working with the world class props and coaches we have at the club.

“I also want to thank my family and friends at Queanbeyan Whites who have been incredibly supportive over the years, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”


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Brumbies coach Dan McKellar shared his excitement, with the Wallabies assistant proud to see his development and how he thrived when thrown into Super Rugby.

“We’re all delighted for Freddy and how far he has come to get to this point,” he added.

“We threw him in the deep end last season, but we were confident in him off the back of the work he had done with the group through preseason and he performed well. 

“Freddy has unique ability around the park for his position, a real point of difference in his ball carry and in the contact area, and continues to develop in his chore skills, his set-piece.

“He’s a very likeable kid, his teammates care for him and his journey makes this another one of those great Brumbies stories where someone earns a chance to live out their dream in the professional game.

“A special mention must go to the Queanbeyan Whites for the role they have played in Fred’s development as well.”

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