Super Rugby

Crusaders move to top of the table

Barrett, who played four tests for the All Blacks at lock last year, scored a try and impressed with his work rate on attack and defence in the No. 6 jersey as the Crusaders won their fifth successive game.

Digby Ioane, Matt Todd, Luke Romano, Codie Taylor, David Havili and Ben Funnell also crossed for the home side with flyhalf Mitch Hunt slotting four conversions, while replacement Marty McKenzie added another.

RNZ reports wingers Alex Newsome and Chance Peni crossed for the Force with flyhalf Jonno Lance converting both tries and adding a penalty.

Crusaders come from behind to pip Reds

Trailing 20-7 at halftime after losing three players to injury early at Lang Park, the Crusaders rallied brilliantly to keep the Reds scoreless after the break and maintain their perfect record after three rounds of the season.

The Crusaders were down to 14 men in the 68th minute after loose forward Jordan Taufua was sin-binned for a light punch on Reds lock Rob Simmons but replacement scrumhalf Bryn Hall's second try gave the visitors hope with four minutes to play.

Hunt converted Hall's try to bring the Crusaders within a point and the Reds duly crumbled under pressure.

Chiefs too good for defending champs

Tries from lock Brodie Retallick and winger Toni Pulu in the first half as well as 16 points from the faultless boot of fullback Damian McKenzie kept intact the 100 percent record of the twice former champions after three matches.

The Hurricanes had scored in 24 tries and 154 points in their first two outings of the campaign but were unable to reproduce their high-intensity attack in such poor conditions against New Zealand opposition.

Ioane eager for action

Nestled below his right ear the letter K is positioned above a small love heart, and further down a couple of feathers poke out above his collar. Look on the other side of his neck and there are a pair of hands clamped around some rosary beads.

This leads to his arms, both heavily tattooed - as are sections of his ribcage. On his back rest a set of angels' wings, hanging down almost as far as his hips.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd tips the Lions to top the Super Rugby standings this year

That's the assessment of Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd, whose side defeated the Lions in last year's decider.

Boyd doesn't base this year's verdict on a belief that the Lions are far and away the best team in the competition. More that the South African side's soft draw means they should enjoy a home playoff run in Johannesburg.

The Stormers burgled their way into a home quarterfinal, thanks in part to no clashes with any New Zealand franchises. Now it's the Lions' turn.

Rieko Ioane scores a hat-trick as Blues thump Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby opener

Keeping a lid on hype might be Tana Umaga's biggest challenge after his Blues team opened the Super Rugby season with a performance befitting the competition's "boom, boom" slogan. The Melbourne Rebels were certainly left stunned by the 56-18 pounding.

The Blues have long struggled away from home but, in Melbourne on Thursday night, they took apart the battling Rebels to record their first victory at AAMI Park. Cracking the half century wasn't a bad way to celebrate.

Clash of the coaches adds to Super rugby intrigue

As always New Zealand sides are favourites and bear the burden of some lofty external expectations.

Rugby reporter Joe Porter looks at what should be a watershed year for the new and old hands at the Super Rugby helm.

The Hurricanes are a stable unit, with an improved culture and record of success, their biggest challenge will be weathering the storm that comes with being defending champions.

Captain Dane Coles knows other teams will be out for retribution.

Chiefs call in replacements for Super Rugby after Mitchell Graham and Brad Weber injuries

Bay of Plenty prop Aidan Ross and Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine come into the Super Rugby squad, after Graham (fractured tibia and fibula) and Weber (fractured femur [thigh bone]) were ruled out for six months after both picking up leg injuries at last weekend's Brisbane Global Tens.

Chiefs count cost as Brad Weber, Mitchell Graham ruled out of Super Rugby season

Halfback Brad Weber and prop Mitchell Graham will miss the entire 2017 Super Rugby season with respective broken legs.

It's understood Weber has undergone surgery after fracturing his femur (thigh bone) in his side's 12-5 win over the Crusaders in the final on Sunday evening and his estimated recovery time is a minimum of six months. Graham was also been sidelined for a similar period after fracturing his tibia and fibula, which requires surgery.

Blues to host Super Rugby match in Samoa

The match on 2 June was announced this morning by Blues Chief Executive Michael Redman and Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at Samoa House in Auckland.

It's the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa and coincides with Samoa's 55th Independence Celebrations.

Redman said the Blues region was home to around 150,000 Samoans and 15 players in the team have Samoan heritage, along with head coach Tana Umaga.