Super Rugby

Crusaders' Jason Ryan stoked with Fiji Drua's first win

Ryan is also assistant coach of the Flying Fijians - Fiji's national team.

His input has seen a huge improvement in Fiji's forward play.

This was put on show last year when Fiji's loose forwards embarrassed the All Blacks at the ruck in Dunedin, the All Blacks of course won the encounter 57-23 and the second test 60-13.

Ryan was called on by Fiji coach Vern Cotter in 2020 and will stay with Fiji until the 2023 World Cup in France.

He said he was stoked about the Fiji Drua's maiden victory at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Covid strikes Super Rugby Pacific again

It's been a tough week for the franchise, with Hurricanes Poua also forced to withdraw from their inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki match also because of Covid-19.

"We obviously wanted to play, and I really feel for the staff and players," Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee said.

"We are also disappointed for Moana Pasifika who have already had to deal with this situation twice this season."

Leali'ifano promises more to come from Moana Pasifika

The 34-year-old was proud of being part of a Moana Pasifika's performance against the Crusaders that was far better than many had expected, albeit rueful that friends and family couldn't be on hand to see it.

He was delighted that Moana Pasifika could be a platform to showcase Pasifika culture to the world. And, he was certain that they had a lot more up their sleeve as they quickly shifted focus to the Hurricanes in Wellington next Saturday.

Hurricanes win error-strewn game

The three tries to two win was a gutsy effort from the home side, but the visiting Highlanders now sit winless after three games.

The Hurricanes were strong on defence in Wellington and their bench players made an impact when they came on the field.

Both teams made plenty of errors, but the Hurricanes endured for their second straight win, after last week beating the Blues in a stunning finish.

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea said Covid-19 was going through the team.

"With omicron, there were some late changes," Savea said.

Drua notch a win, and Moana Pasifika plays first game

The tournament newcomers went into Friday night's match as underdogs following heavy defeats to the Waratahs and Brumbies in the opening two rounds.

Following the game, the Drua head coach Mick Byrne said he was pleased the team stuck with their plan.

"I said it last week, and we have been training well, we have been training our game well, and I think just getting use to the fact that the physical nature of Super Rugby and as I've said, I'm pretty much repeating myself again, I'm proud about the boys went about their task," Byrne said

Papalii back as Blues captain

The team, returned to Auckland on Thursday from its temporary base in Queenstown, is almost the same combination that was pipped 33-32 in the first outing against the Hurricanes.

The only changes to the starting line-up sees Papalii back to full fitness on the openside flank, and NPC player of the year, Stephen Perofeta to start at fullback.

The pack has a strong look with Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Hoskins Sotutu and Papalii all having worn the All Black jersey.

Crusaders are expecting nothing but the best from Moana Pasifika

It will be Moana Pasifika's first game in the competition after they had the first two games, against the Blues and the Chiefs, postponed because of Covid-19 within the ranks.

Moana Pasifika continue to be based in Queenstown while some of the other teams have left for home.

Coach of the Crusaders Scott Robertson said he expects Moana Pasifika to play with passion in their debut game.

Moana Pasifika look forward to Crusaders game

The team has yet to play a game in the competition, after they missed the first two rounds when several players tested positive for Covid-19.

Both players and management spent ten days in self-isolation at a Queenstown hotel.

Moana Pasifika halfback Ereatara Enari said the last two weeks have been a challenging time for the team as they recover from physical inactivity.

Highlanders told by referees that Pita Gus Sowakula's try was illegal

That’s the verdict reached by New Zealand Rugby’s [NZR’s] referees, who have informed Highlanders head coach Tony Brown that the try was an illegal act that should have been classified as dangerous play.

Brown confirmed on Wednesday that the try, which saw Sowakula hurdle Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith to score in the left-hand corner, was now deemed by NZR as illegal after confusion reigned over whether the try should have been awarded.

Chiefs given all clear to leave Super Rugby bubble, other teams set to head home

The Chiefs will be the first to leave on Wednesday after their match against Moana Pasifika this weekend was called off due to the lingering affects of the Covid outbreak in the new team's squad.

Chiefs CEO Michael Collins said it made sense to get their squad home.

"We knew there was always an end date to when they would leave.

"With no game this weekend we thought best to try and get the team home to families to spend some time with them, which they haven't done in the past few weeks."