Super Rugby

Julian Savea dropped for Canes' quarter-final

RNZ reports Savea has been named on the bench for Saturday night's match in Wellington, with Jason Woodward preferred to start on the left wing.

Woodward moves from centre, with Matt Proctor returning to start after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Props Loni Uhila and Ben May come into the front row.

Uhila starts at loosehead prop in place of Reggie Goodes, who was unavailable for selection after leaving the field with concussion during the final match of the regular season against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.

Blues finish season on winning note

RNZI reports the Blues are the only New Zealand side not to have qualified for next week's playoffs but they have finished the season on a high with wins over the top two Australian sides, the Waratahs and the ACT Brumbies.

In a see-sawing battle at Eden Park the Blues outscored the Waratahs five tries to four.

Lousi signs with Hurricanes

Lousi, who moved from New Zealand and the NRL to play for the Waratahs, is set to return across the ditch to join the 2015 Super Rugby grand finalists.

The 24-year-old will join the Lions in the New Zealand provincial competition after the Super Rugby season, before starting with the Hurricanes ahead of the 2017 season.

Hurricanes call up Eves and Halaholo

Eves comes into the starting team for Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, who broke his arm during last week's win over the Blues, while Halaholo earns a promotion from the reserves after Vince Aso was ruled out with a calf strain.

Prop Ben May and midfielder Ngani Laumape, who has recovered from a groin strain, come into the reserves, while openside Callum Gibbins returns to the squad after skipping the Blues match due to concussion.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said it was a great opportunity for the players who had been called up to the starting side.

Waratahs hunt bonus points in last two Super Rugby games: Tatafu Polota-Nau

And Polota-Nau has revealed the premature retirement of Benn Robinson makes him prepare even more thoroughly now he has adopted the mindset that every game could be his last.

Highlanders end Blues' hopes

RNZI reports the Highlanders ran in seven tries to two, including a hat-trick to utility back Matt Faddes, to knock the Blues out of finals contention with two rounds remaining.

The Lions lead the standings, after thrashing fellow South Africans the Sharks 37-10 earlier on Sunday morning in Johannesburg.

But just four points separate the Lions, Chiefs, Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders at the top of the table.

On Saturday night the Hurricanes beat the Blues 37-27 in Wellington.


Highlanders wing Patrick Osborne Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Chiefs beat Crusaders in historic Super Rugby clash in Fiji

Fiji born and All Blacks center Setareki Tamanivalu set up the first try for winger James Lowe after putting a kick behind fullback Israel Dagg.

Fijivillage reports the Chiefs continued the high tempo game and scored their second try which started from a fake kick from fullback Damian McKenzie.

The home side never disappointed their fans in their historic clash in Suva as they lit up the sell-out crowd despite the rain.

The Chiefs now go to the top of the New Zealand Conference with 46 points while the Crusaders have 45.

Super Rugby needs the Pacific Islands

Today more history will be made when the Chiefs clash with the Crusaders in Suva in what will be the first Super Rugby game played in Fiji.                

Given the historical reluctance of major nations to play big matches in the Pacific Islands, this is welcome progress.

But while these one off fixtures suggest a new era of inclusion, they do more to highlight the continued exclusion of the Pacific Islands.

Occasionally the Pacific Islands are invited to sit down, but they don't have a seat at the table.

Teams named for clash between Crusaders and Chiefs

Coaches Dave Rennie (Chiefs) and Todd Blackadder (Crusaders) have listed the Fijian stars to play for their home crowd in Super Rugby's round 15 opener.

The top of the table clash could determine who hosts the semi-final in the New Zealand Conference. Nadolo and Macilai pair as wingers while Tamanivalu will feature at outside centre.                               

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has named a near full strength side with seven returning All Blacks in his 23-member touring party. The only omissions are Ryan Crotty and Luke Romano, who are injured.

Highlanders have reason to celebrate

That generosity, however, will be limited to their being happy to give away possession via a barrage of high kicks to the visiting outside backs Johnny McNichol, Israel Dagg and Jone Macilai.