Super Rugby

Calls made for South Africa to be cut from Super Rugby

The Western Force is reportedly set to be the Australian franchise axed from next year's Super Rugby competition if SANZAAR pushes forward with a proposed restructure.

An announcement on the restructure is expected this week.

McGrath said the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) needs to protect its' five Super Rugby teams even if it means forging a new competition with sides from New Zealand and Asia.

McGrath oversaw the introduction of the Melbourne Rebels into Super Rugby in 2011, Australia's fifth side.

Chiefs lose Fa'auli for 4 weeks, Cane awaits clearance

Cane has been included in the 27-man squad to tour South Africa and Australia over the next three rounds however they won't be available for next weekend's match against the Stormers in Cape Town.

If cleared to tour, Cane will fly to South Africa on Thursday and begin preparing for the Chiefs' following match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The news was bleaker for prop Nepo Laulala who, like Cane, was forced from the field with a head knock suffered during the 28-12 defeat of the Bulls in Hamilton on Saturday.

Waratahs to put Crusaders to the sword

The Waratah host the unbeaten competition leaders in Sydney on Sunday with their finals hopes in the balance after a ho-hum two-from-five start.

But skipper Michael Hooper hopes last week's thrilling comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels, after trailing 25-6 at halftime, will prove the spark that revived the Tahs' 2017 fortunes.

"The comeback gave it that extra little bit for the viewers," the champion flanker said at Saturday's captain's run at Allianz Stadium.

"That's how we want to play. Look at our stats, it's sharing the workload. That's Waratahs footy.

Blues beat Western Force

The Force came out wanting to prove their worth as speculation around the club's future in Super Rugby surrounds the team.

The Force got on the scoreboard first with a penalty, before a try to Richie Arnold on debut had them leading the Blues 8-0.

The Blues lacked possession early in the game but started clicking into gear.

A couple of late tries at the end of the first half to Akira Ioane and Matt Duffie put the Blues ahead 12-8.

Messam to win 150th Chiefs cap

The Chiefs' most capped player will win his 150th cap for the franchise he's played for since 2006, when he starts at blindside flanker in round six of Super Rugby.

No 8 Michael Leitch returns from his one-match suspension to join Messam and Sam Cane in the back row; Siegfried Fisi'ihoi replaces Kane Hames (minor ankle knock) at loosehead prop as the forward pack shuffles for Saturday night's battle with the Bulls. 

Former NZ 20s midfielder TJ Faiane handed first start for Blues as Rieko Ioane rested

The former New Zealand under-20s midfielder made his Super Rugby debut off the bench two weeks ago against the Crusaders, an occasion that would have come much sooner but for successive season-ending knee injuries.

This week Tana Umaga has thrown Faiane the second five-eighth starting role for the Blues match against the Western Force at Eden Park on Saturday, pushing George Moala out to centre and spelling Rieko Ioane on the bench.

Smith admits he should have taken time off after toilet tryst

Smith will this week celebrate playing his 100th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders when they take on the Melbourne Rebels in Dunedin.

He received a formal warning and stood down from an All Blacks test in October after he was seen entering a toilet cubical with a woman at Christchurch Airport.

He later said he made a huge mistake and apologised to his partner, both his and her families, his teammates and New Zealand fans.

Smith struggled on the All Blacks end of year tour.

Blues bounce Bulls on North Shore

Playing away from their Eden Park fortress, the hosts outscored the South African visitors six tries to two at Albany's North Harbour Stadium.

The Blues captain James Parsons told Sky Sport he was pleased by the large crowd in Albany despite his side's recent results.

"We're extremely grateful. We obviously didn't get the result last week so gave them plenty of reason not to turn up," said Parsons.

"For them to turn up in numbers like this we're absolutely wrapped and also shows that bringing a game to QBE (stadium) is worthwhile."

Highlanders come back in Canberra

Trailing for most of a match that made up for a lack of quality with plenty of commitment, replacement Highlanders prop Aki Seiuli barrelled over under the posts in the 73rd minute for a converted try that proved to be the difference.

The Brumbies then set about utilising their favourite attacking ploy, the driving maul off a lineout, in a frantic finale, but the visitors held firm on three occasions to either draw a penalty or force a turnover to keep their lead intact.

Waratahs overturn 19-point halftime deficit

After losing their last three matches in their worst ever start to the season, Gibson revved up his troops, who were trailing 25-6 at AAMI Park, and they responded with four second-half tries to snatch the victory.

It was sealed in the 80th minute when the Waratahs took advantage of the Rebels losing Colby Fainga'a to a yellow card and Sefa Naivalu down with a dislocated shoulder.

Centre David Horwitz ran on to a Nick Phipps pass and threw a dummy before scooting through some skinny defence for the match-winner.