Heritage and strength as adidas unveils All Blacks jersey for Rugby World Cup 2015

Heritage and strength as adidas unveils All Blacks jersey for Rugby World Cup 2015

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“To wear a jersey with a design that represents the nation’s proud rugby heritage and reflects the team’s success since 1905 is hugely significant to us.” – Richie McCaw

46188-all-blacks-2015-mens-rwc-supporter-jersey-pre-sale-740adidas and New Zealand Rugby have today unveiled the All Blacks Rugby World Cup jersey, combining the latest in sporting apparel technology with a homage to the most iconic of All Blacks teams, The Originals.

The jersey, unveiled at a function in Auckland, is the most technically advanced All Blacks jersey to date, but has undergone a subtle design change that pays respect to the legendary Originals team, which toured the United Kingdom, France and the USA in 1905-1906, losing just one match on their famous 35-match tour.

A patterned design across the shoulders and chest of the new jersey was inspired by the famous leather yoke which adorned The Originals jersey.  The design was developed with input from All Blacks management and senior players.

Simon Cartwright, Senior Director – adidas Rugby, says: “We wanted to pay respect in some small way to The Originals in the design of the new jersey and acknowledge the century-long success of the team, and we think we have done that with the subtle design around the chest.

“The players were enthusiastic about the design when we discussed it with them.  At the end of the day, they’re wearing a jersey that represents not only them as players but their country, so they need to be happy with what they wear.

“The Originals were really the first All Blacks team to capture the rugby world’s imagination, especially in the United Kingdom, so we think it’s fitting that the team is heading back to the UK this year with that on their chest.”

As with previous Rugby World Cup jerseys, the RWC trophy is embossed on the right sleeve of the jersey acknowledging the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup successes in 1987 and 2011.   Dedicated fans will no doubt also notice the movement of the logos, with the inclusion of the Rugby World Cup 2015 logo on the right, which sees the adidas badge move to the centre of the jersey. The All Blacks silver fern logo remains on the left hand side of the jersey.  The adidas and All Blacks logos, as well as the jersey numbers on the back, are a gun metal silver colour.

All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw, who was consulted over the design, says: “To wear a jersey with a design that represents the nation’s proud rugby heritage and reflects the team’s success since that iconic team of 1905-1906 is hugely significant to us. We’re ready to wear the Rugby World Cup jersey with pride.”

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew says: “The mana behind the jersey combines everything the country and our sport stands for. It’s an honour to provide our players with the opportunity to wear a jersey which pays respects to our rugby ancestors.”

The fabric and technological advances in the Rugby World Cup jersey were first unveiled in the “blackest” All Blacks jersey launched in England in November 2014.

Using ground breaking techniques usually reserved for the aerospace industry, a body mapping process called ‘Dynamic Stretch Analysis’ allowed adidas to measure bodies as they moved and how much strain was being applied to the skin.  Based on this research, adidas has developed two jerseys, tailored specifically to the needs of All Blacks forwards and backs – jerseys that replicate the movements of players’ skin.

Featuring fabric-weaving technology, which has a unique two-way stretch, Woven Carbon was developed by the team at adidas to ensure the use of a superior fabric that doesn’t compromise on strength, flexibility, weight or comfort, and can withstand the rigour of the game.

Along with an extensive range of All Blacks merchandise, adidas is offering three versions of the Rugby World Cup jersey: the cotton-based supporters’ version priced at $120 (RRP), the traditional replica version selling for $150 (RRP) and the performance version for $200 (RRP).


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Dates announced for 2016 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

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World Rugby announced new locations and dates for the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series today in Paris.  Hong Kong will again play a pivotal role on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule which has been expanded to ten locations for the upcoming season.

World Rugby announced new locations and dates for the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series today in Paris.  Hong Kong will again play a pivotal role on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule which has been expanded to ten locations for the upcoming season.

The 2016 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be the seventh round on the global circuit and will be played on the weekend of 8-10 April 2016.

New destinations on the Series include Sydney, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; Vancouver, Canada and Singapore.  The inaugural Singapore Sevens will be held the week following the Hong Kong tournament (16-17 April).

With rugby sevens achieving year-on year record attendance, viewership and engagement figures, and excitement building ahead of its Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016, World Rugby has also announced a four-year extension of its hugely-successful partnership with HSBC.

The record deal sees the banking giant extend its hugely-successful naming rights of the World Rugby Sevens Series and acquire naming rights to the Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the men’s and women’s series have been at the heart of the global sevens success story with their winning brand of high-octane, competitive and broadcast- friendly action, global locations and festival atmosphere.”

“HSBC has been central to the sevens success story and is totally aligned with our mission to attract and inspire new players and audiences. We are excited about this increased commitment and the opportunity we have over the next four years to grow our sport within existing and emerging rugby markets.”

Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship & Events, HSBC Holdings said: “HSBC became the first ever title of the men’s World Series back in 2010, and we are excited to not only be extending this partnership for another four years, but also to become the first ever title sponsor of the increasingly popular women’s World Series. The Olympic decision has served as a tremendous catalyst for the growth of Sevens around the world, not just in participation but also through the popularity of the HSBC Sevens World Series in recent years.”

“HSBC is committed to not only supporting the elite end of the sport during this historic period in the game’s growth, but will also continue with our long term, significant investment in helping to grow and develop rugby through our community programmes which have seen over 200,000 youngsters around the world introduced to the sport. HSBC Rugby Festivals and Coach Education programmes, as well as grassroots sponsorships such as the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens in England, have all helped to inspire even more children to get involved with rugby. We will continue to use the profile and interest in the World Series to help engage even more youngsters to the game over the coming years, and are excited by the addition of the women’s Series to our portfolio given the interest that women’s rugby is attracting around the world.”

The 2015-16 Series will kick-off after Rugby World Cup 2015 enabling the best fifteens players to participate across the whole Series ahead of rugby sevens Olympic Games debut.

2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule

Round 1: Dubai: 3-4 December
Round 2: Cape Town: 12-13 December
Round 3: Wellington: 30 – 31 January
Round 4: Sydney: 6-7 February
Round 5: Las Vegas: 4, 5, 6 March
Round 6: Vancouver: 12-13 March
Round 7: Hong Kong: 8-9-10 April
Round 8: Singapore: 16-17 April
Round 9: Paris: 14-15 May
Round 10: London: 20-22 May *TBC

Details of the locations and dates for the 2015/16 HSBC Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series will be announced shortly.

About the Hong Kong Sevens

Established in 1976 and organized annually by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, the Hong Kong Sevens is the world’s premier international sevens event, marking its 40th year in 2015. Since 1999, the Hong Kong Sevens has been a part of the International Rugby Board’s World Sevens Series. It is the largest HSBC Sevens World Series event with 28 international teams competing, and offers the biggest prize purse in international sevens (US$150,000). The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union is the only international rugby union to have hosted two Rugby World Cup Sevens, in 1997 and 2005.


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Māori All Blacks squad to play Fiji and NZ Barbarians named

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Māori All Blacks squad to play Fiji and New Zealand Barbarians named

The Māori All Blacks 2015 squad to play Fiji and the New Zealand Barbarians next month was named in Wellington today and features 10 new caps.

The squad will again be captained by Chiefs midfield back Charlie Ngatai.

The Māori All Blacks squad is:

FORWARDS
HOOKERS
Joe Royal ~ Te Arawa/Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei/Ngāpuhi – Bay of Plenty
Ash Dixon ~ Ngāti Tahinga – Hawke’s Bay
Quentin MacDonald* ~ Rangitāne – Tasman
PROPS
Chris Eves ~ Tainui – Manawatu
Brendon Edmonds ~ Ngāti Kahungunu – Hawke’s Bay
Josh Hohneck* ~ Ngāti Whātua/Ngāti Manuhiri – Waikato
Ben May ~ Ngāti Maniapoto – Wellington
LOCKS
Hayden Triggs ~ Ngāti Kahungunu Auckland
Jacob Skeen* ~ Ngāpuhi Waikato
Blade Thomson ~ Ngāpuhi Taranaki
LOOSE FORWARDS
Shane Christie ~ Te Atihaunui a Paparangi/Ngāti Kurawhatia – Tasman
Elliot Dixon ~ Ngāpuhi – Southland
Akira Ioane* ~ Te Whānau-ā-Apanui – Auckland
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis ~ Ngāpuhi – Manawatu
Mitchell Crosswell ~ Ngāti Porou – Taranaki
BACKS
HALFBACKS
Jamison Gibson-Park ~ Ngāti Porou/Ngā Tai – Taranaki
Brad Weber* ~ Ngāti Porou – Waikato
FIRST FIVE-EIGHTH
Damian McKenzie* ~ Ngāti Tūwharetoa – Waikato
Otere Black* ~ Ngāi Tuhoe/Te Whānau-ā-Apanui/Ngāti Tūwharetoa – Manawatu
MIDFIELD BACKS
Jason Emery ~ Ngāti Haua/Ngāti Maniapoto – Manawatu
Charlie Ngatai (c) ~ Ngāti Porou/Te Whanau-a-Apanui – Taranaki
Sean Wainui* ~ Ngāi Tuhoe/Ngāti Porou – Taranaki
OUTSIDE BACKS
Kurt Baker ~ Ngāpuhi – Taranaki
Rieko Ioane* ~ Te Whānau-ā-Apanui – Auckland
Marty McKenzie ~ Ngāti Tūwharetoa – Taranaki
Matt Proctor ~ Ngāi te Rangi/Ngāpuhi – Wellington
Codey Rei* ~ Ngā Ruahine/Te Ātiawa – Taranaki

*new cap

2014 Māori All Blacks squad members not available because of injury were; Tom Franklin, Mike Kainga, James Lowe, Sean Polwart, Dan Pryor and Joe Webber.

The 27-strong squad departs for Fiji on Wednesday 8 July.

Strong squad for 2015

Coach Colin Cooper said the 2015 squad was an exciting mix of experienced hands and promising young talent. It includes 13 players who took part in last year’s tour to Japan and three members of the successful New Zealand Under 20 team which won the recent World Championship title in Italy.

“This is a well-balanced side with some very experienced campaigners who have now played on several tours and know our systems well. I’ll be expecting them to lead by example and show the new boys the high standards we expect.

“We have a proud record of success to uphold and I am sure this side will work hard to honour the great legacy of the Māori All Blacks,” said Cooper.

Exciting young talent on display

“It is very pleasing to introduce some exciting new talent to the 2015 side. Akira Ioane has really impressed with the Blues this year and both he, Otere Black and Sean Wainui are coming off the great win for New Zealand Under 20 at the World Championship in Italy so I am sure they will want to carry on that form. Rieko Ioane will also provide great pace out wide and he’s hugely matured with the All Blacks Sevens this year despite still only being 18 years old.

“We’ve also seen how well Damian McKenzie has equipped himself in his first season at the Chiefs which is a huge test for any young man. He’s shown incredible maturity so he along with his brother Marty who toured with us last year, will strengthen the backline,” said Cooper.

Fans urged to support the Māori All Blacks at Eden Park

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“We’re really looking forward to this tour. These players have a great opportunity to test their skills against a tough international opponent in Fiji as it looks to build for the Rugby World Cup and the Barbarians match will also be a stiff contest.

“We hope fans come out and support the Māori All Blacks at home as we haven’t played in New Zealand since 2010. This is a top chance to see some of the best players in the country test their skills against what we expect to be a very strong Barbarians side.

“We know the Barbarians also have a proud reputation to uphold like us so I think fans will be in for a great display of attacking rugby. It’s also a huge opportunity for players to continue to press for selection for the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad so there will be a lot at stake. It should be a fantastic match.”


Māori All Blacks 2015 matches

  • Saturday 11 July v Fiji, ANZ National Stadium, Suva. Kickoff 3pm
  • Saturday 18 July v New Zealand Barbarians, Eden Park, Auckland. Kickoff 7.35pm

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Super Rugby SEMI-FINAL #2 Result : Waratahs 17 vs 35 Highlanders

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SEMI-FINAL #2 Result :

Waratahs 17 vs 35 Highlanders

#WARvHIG #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

The Highlanders will take on the Hurricanes in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby Final after they stunned the Waratahs 35-17 in Sydney on Saturday.

While being deserved winners, the game may well be remembered for a contentious call from referee Craig Joubert when the ‘Tahs were 17-20 down.

That decision came on 57 minutes when Highlanders wing Patrick Osborne was stopped agonisingly close to the line by Jacques Potgieter’s swinging arm, which meant a penalty try was given in combination with the South African official sending his countryman to the sin-bin. It was a big call.

However, it shouldn’t take anything away from the New Zealanders’ showing as they now travel to Wellington for what should be a thrilling final.

Their scorers were Aaron Smith, Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo, that penalty try and Osborne, with the ‘Tahs opening the try account through Rob Horne.

It was apparent that the ‘Tahs were struggling to return to top gear after their week off as it was the Highlanders enjoying the better opening. Such was the sloppiness in the home side’s game that a wild pass from scrum-half Nick Phipps put them under serious pressure early in the half.

The Highlanders took a deserved lead on five minutes when fly-half Lima Sopoaga landed a penalty after ‘Tahs lock Dave Dennis did not roll away.

But smartly the Waratahs found their physical edge and reverted to their strengths in creating space for right wing Taqele Naiyaravoro before a great cross-kick from fly-half Bernard Foley found wing Horne on the left sideline who finished well. Foley missed the conversion so it was 3-5.

The lead lasted eight minutes though in Sydney as Aaron Smith’s red hot form continued when he intercepted Wycliff Palu’s pass from the tail of the scrum to race over on the left wing. With Sopoaga off for a concussion test, full-back Ben Smith stepped up for the extras but was wayward.

Fortunately for the visitors, Sopoaga returned to the game on 23 minutes and was immediately into the thick of the drama with an attempted drop-goal that was unsuccessful. That was an example of how tight things were a contest and that a place in the final would go right down to the wire.

8-8 would become 8-11 to the Waratahs at the half-hour stage as the Highlanders went off their feet at ruck time, which allowed Foley to strike.

But back came the Highlanders three minutes later as inside centre Buckman capitalised on not being held in contact and promptly got up before getting to the line before Israel Folau could lay a hand on him. Sopoaga this time landed the conversion which made it 15-11 to the Kiwis.

Foley would respond on 37 minutes when Elliot Dixon was offside in defence but in truth the ‘Tahs were lucky to be just one point off the away side at the break as greediness from a penalty in their own half backfired. They were pinged at the ruck but Sopoaga hit the post with his kick.

The second half began just as the first for the Waratahs as sloppiness almost cost them dear, with a breakout from Michael Hooper relieving the sustained pressure on their try-line. They did appear rattled though, with Phipps’ decision to tap a kickable penalty resulting in zero points.

A few phases later they did manage to move back in front, with Aaron Smith diving off his feet at a ruck and Foley making it 17-15 to the hosts.

The Highlanders hit back though as their third try of the contest arrived in the 54th minute when brilliant work from wing Naholo saw him kick down the right touchline before grounding ahead of Phipps. Sopoaga again hit the upright so the lead was just three points.

Joubert would then take centre stage with his decision to award the Highlanders a penalty try for back-row Potgieter’s adjudged swinging arm on Osborne half a metre from the try-line. To make matters worse for the ‘Tahs at 27-17, the South African flanker was shown a yellow card.

The task proved too great for the Waratahs late on and with Sopoaga’s 76th minute drop-goal followed up by the fly-half finding Osborne for their fifth try, the result was secured as the Highlanders march on to Wellington.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Try: Horne
Pen: Foley 4
Yellow: Potgieter (swinging arm – 57 mins)

For Highlanders:
Tries: A Smith, Buckman, Naholo, Penalty, Osborne
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pen: Sopoaga
Drop: Sopoaga

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Carraro, 11 Rob Horne 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (c), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Peter Betham.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Shane Christie, 22 Fumiaki Tanaka, 23 Trent Renata.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees, James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

#WARvHIG #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED


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Super Rugby SEMI-FINAL #1 Result : Hurricanes 29 vs 09 Brumbies

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SEMI-FINAL #1 Result :

Hurricanes 29 vs 09 Brumbies

#HURvBRU #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

The Hurricanes progressed to their first Super Rugby Final since 2006 after beating the Brumbies 29-9 in Saturday’s semi-final in Wellington. 

The ‘Canes will now host the winner of the second semi-final between the Waratahs and Highlanders in next weekend’s final at Westpac Stadium and they deserve nothing less having been the standout team of the tournament this year.

The Hurricanes led 12-3 at the interval thanks to tries from wing Julian Savea and scrum-half TJ Perenara, who moved level with Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo as the season’s top try scorer.

Flanker Ardie Savea followed his brother’s example by crossing early in the second period before replacement back Matt Proctor added the fourth unanswered try in the closing stages.

The Brumbies hardly had a sniff of the ball in a high-paced first-half and could have considered themselves lucky to not be trailing by a lot more.

The Hurricanes’ ruthless counter-attacking ability, a hallmark of their brilliant season, was once again on display with All Black-in-waiting Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma’a Nonu leading the charge.

The ‘Canes pack was also on top to ensure their deadly backs had quality possession from the breakdown and line-outs.

The Brumbies briefly got some momentum in the middle of the second-half but they never realistically looked like threatening to cause an upset as their hosts dominated in almost every facet.

The Brumbies did a sterling job on defence to keep the scores will locked at 0-0 at the end of the first quarter in the face of numerous attacks from the home side, but the damn wall couldn’t hold forever.

Eventually it took the power of Julian Savea to produce the first try as he bumped off Nic White to go over in the corner following Nonu’s quick hands to get it wide.

Having struck the post with an earlier penalty, Beauden Barrett sent his conversion effort wide and the fly-half was a touch lucky to escape more serious punishment than a penalty for some overzealous use of his boot on Rory Arnold’s back as the Brumbies lock lay on the wrong side of a ruck with the ‘Canes pushing for another try.

The TMO couldn’t find evidence of Reggie Goodes getting the ball down in that incident but the hosts’ second try wasn’t long in coming as Milner-Skudder drew three defenders out wide before James Marshall provided the link for Perenara to scamper home on the counter attack.

This time Barrett did hit the target to put the ‘Canes 12-0 up approaching the half-hour mark.

With Christian Lealiifano in the blood bin, it was left to Jesse Mogg to open the Brumbies account with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The writing was on the wall as Ardie Savea crashed over at the back of a maul early in the second-half, with Marshall’s conversion stretching the lead to 16 points.

Mogg fluffed a chance to score as he knocked on with the try-line begging and the Brumbies pack grafted hard to allow Lealiifano to slot two penalties to drag the visitors back into contention.

But the men in yellow quickly took control of the game back with a penalty from Marshall keeping the Brumbies at arm’s length before a break from Nonu set up the opportunity for Proctor to charge over.

Marshall’s second conversion meant the home side had a 20-point gap in the dying minutes, which was a fair reflection of their dominance in another impressive display.

A maiden Super Rugby title beckons.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: J. Savea, Perenara, A. Savea, Proctor
Cons: Barrett, Marshall 2
Pen: Marshall

For Brumbies:
Pens: Mogg, Lealiifano 2

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 Matt Proctor.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Lausii Taliauli, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano,9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Nigel Ah Wong, 23 Robbie Coleman.

Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock, Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen

 

#HURvBRU #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED


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Super Rugby SEMI-FINAL #2 Preview : Waratahs vs Highlanders

waratahs2015xsup15highlanders2015

SEMI-FINAL #2 Preview :

Waratahs vs Highlanders

19 Matches played …

Average Score 25.68 vs 19.32

#WARvHIG #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

The Waratahs could host a second straight Super Rugby Final in Sydney if results go their way in the semi-finals on Saturday.

If the Brumbies succeed away in Wellington against the Hurricanes and the Waratahs hold off the Highlanders then the defending champions will get the chance to win it all again in front of their home fans. If only the path to that outcome were so simple.

Michael Cheika’s team have overcome patchy form and a narrow conference battle with the Brumbies to earn their home semi-final, while arguably never quite matching their brilliant form of 2014.

The Waratahs finished the year with three wins fewer than the year before, when they tied the record for most victories in the regular season at 14, but it’s appropriate that these two sides should meet in the semi-final given the Highlanders finished with 53 points and the Waratahs with 52 – a single try-bonus point separating their totals.

Yet the Waratahs are in their house, something that has proved crucial in recent clashes between these two given the home side has won each of the last six encounters.

Experience too is crucial – this is the first time the Highlanders have played in the semi-finals since 2002, with the Waratahs reaching the knockout stages eight times since then.

Jamie Joseph’s group have thrived off a tight bond with their lesser-known players shining through. Richard Buckman’s progression at inside centre typifies that success, while Elliot Dixon, Mark Reddish and 33-year-old Alex Ainley, who only made his debut at this level a few months ago, have surpassed all expectations.

Those forwards have created the platform for Aaron Smith to hit the form of his life with those uncontainable bursts from close range, and for Lima Sopoaga to make the leap into being one of Super Rugby’s top fly-halves.

The Highlanders have created a reliable spine, but the Waratahs have thrived off that over the last couple of years.

Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau give them security and confidence, although the absence of Kurtley Beale in midfield will be felt however reliable Matt Carraro can be.

Hooper has an enormous role to play given the Highlanders have made the most turnovers in Super Rugby this year (168) and the Waratahs the fewest (94). The sides have scored over 100 tries between them but both hold low tackle success percentages, meaning there should be plenty of points.

Watching two of Super Rugby’s most entertaining teams clash at this stage is a dream fixture, and one that we cannot wait to get started.

#WARvHIG #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

Last 10 Games played between the Waratahs and Highlanders
14-Mar-15 Highlanders 26 – 19 Waratahs
6-Jul-14 Waratahs 44 – 16 Highlanders
10-Mar-12 Highlanders 18 – 17 Waratahs
11-Jun-11 Waratahs 33 – 07 Highlanders
30-Apr-10 Highlanders 26 – 10 Waratahs
27-Feb-09 Waratahs 34 – 16 Highlanders
1-Mar-08 Highlanders 12 – 15 Waratahs
21-Apr-07 Waratahs 25 – 26 Highlanders
28-Apr-06 Highlanders 03 – 20 Waratahs
30-Apr-05 Highlanders 20 – 41 Waratahs
Overall Stats Waratahs Overall Stats Highlanders
waratahs2015 highlanders2014
Games Played 19 Games Played 19
*Games Won 13 *Games Won 6
*Games Lost 6 *Games Lost 13
Games Drawn 0 Games Drawn 0
*Longest.Winning.Streak 5 *Longest.Winning.Streak 1
*Longest Losing Streak 1 *Longest Losing Streak 5
*Largest Points For 44 *Largest Points For 39
*Largest Points Against 39 *Largest Points Against 44
*Largest.Winning.Margin 28 *Largest.Winning.Margin 19
*Largest Losing Margin -19 *Largest Losing Margin -28
*Total Points For 488 *Total Points For 367
*Avg Points For 25.68 *Avg Points For 19.32
*Total Points Against 367 *Total Points Against 488
*Avg Points Against 19.32 *Avg Points Against 25.68
*Total Points Difference 121 *Total Points Difference -121
*Avg Points Difference 6.37 *Avg Points Difference -6.37
* = By Waratahs * = By Highlanders

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Carraro, 11 Rob Horne 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (c), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Patrick McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Jono Lance, 24 Peter Betham

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Shaun Treeby.

Date: Saturday, June 27
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19:55 local (09:55 GMT, 11:55 SAST, 21:55 NZST)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees, James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

#WARvHIG #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED


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Super Rugby SEMI-FINAL #1 Preview : Hurricanes vs Brumbies

hurricanes2015sup15brumbies2015

SEMI-FINAL #1 Preview :

Hurricanes vs Brumbies

20 Matches played …

Average Score 26.45 vs 26.45

Our first “ZERO” *Total Points Difference / *Avg Points Difference

sf2015hurbrum#HURvBRU #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

The Hurricanes will have to end a five-year losing streak against the Brumbies on Saturday if they hope to book a place in their first Super Rugby Final since 2006.

What’s that? Losing streak? The Hurricanes? Surely not?!

Yes. Would you believe the ‘Canes last win over the Brumbies dates back to 2010…

The ever-contentious Super Rugby fixture system has resulted in Australia’s second-best team not facing the tournament table-toppers this year, so it’s hard to say if the Hurricanes’ poor record against the men from Canberra is really relevant.

What is perhaps of more importance in the hosts’ record at home, where they’ve been outstanding. Since suffering defeat to the Brumbies in their first home game of the 2014 season, the Hurricanes have lost just twice in 15 games at Westpac Stadium.

After such a dominant season, it’s easy to forget that this ‘Canes side is in unchartered waters. The franchise’s last semi-final appearance came six years ago and there are just four survivors of the team that lost to the Chiefs in 2009, one of five semi-final defeats in the Wellington team’s unhappy history in knock-out rugby.

Nevertheless, the ‘Canes have without doubt been the best team in the competition this year and considering the fact that the Brumbies have crossed the Indian Ocean twice in the past fortnight, Saturday’s hosts must be considered overwhelming favourites.

Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore wore a look a steely determination when he addressed the press after their win at Newlands last week, insisting that he believed his team could do what not team has done before.

No foreign side has ever won a knock-out fixture in New Zealand and the Brumbies will be all-to-familiar with the perils of backing up a trip to South Africa with another in the opposite direction having lost to the Chiefs in the 2013 Final a week after upsetting the Bulls in Pretoria.

And the stats don’t paint an optimistic picture for Stephen Larkham’s side.

The Hurricanes lead the way for tries scored after the hour mark this season (18), which is not good news for a Brumbies team that will surely be running out of legs in the latter stages after all that travelling.

Some might also point to the scrum as a problem area for the visitors. The Hurricanes boast the best scrum in terms of ball retention (95 percent) this season, while the Brumbies’ figure is the second-worst (82 percent), yet they managed to overcome that hurdle against the Stormers last week in a marked improvement from their set piece horror show of earlier in the year.

The Brumbies will instead look to their excellent lineout, the second best in the competition, to punish the Hurricanes, who have had an average of 2.8 per game pinched off them.

The ‘Canes have topped the charts for metres gained and line breaks made this season but opponents of the Brumbies gain fewer metres per game than any other side.

Indeed, the key to the whole puzzle may be the Brumbies’ defence, since they are the only side to have conceded fewer points than the Hurricanes this year.

Last 10 Games played between the Hurricanes and Brumbies
7-Mar-14 Hurricanes 21 – 29 Brumbies
31-May-13 Brumbies 30 – 23 Hurricanes
18-May-12 Hurricanes 25 – 37 Brumbies
9-Apr-11 Brumbies 17 – 16 Hurricanes
16-Apr-10 Brumbies 13 – 23 Hurricanes
25-Apr-09 Hurricanes 56 – 07 Brumbies
14-Mar-08 Brumbies 15 – 33 Hurricanes
23-Feb-07 Hurricanes 11 – 10 Brumbies
22-Apr-06 Brumbies 21 – 16 Hurricanes
30-Apr-05 Hurricanes 49 – 37 Brumbies
20 Matches played …Average Score 26.45 vs 26.45

Our first “ZERO” *Total Points Difference / *Avg Points Difference

Overall Stats Hurricanes Overall Stats Brumbies
hurricanes2014 brumbies2105a
Games Played 20 Games Played 20
*Games Won 8 *Games Won 12
*Games Lost 12 *Games Lost 8
Games Drawn 0 Games Drawn 0
*Longest.Winning.Streak 4 *Longest.Winning.Streak 4
*Longest Losing Streak 4 *Longest Losing Streak 4
*Largest Points For 56 *Largest Points For 47
*Largest Points Against 47 *Largest Points Against 56
*Largest.Winning.Margin 49 *Largest.Winning.Margin 21
*Largest Losing Margin -21 *Largest Losing Margin -49
*Total Points For 529 *Total Points For 529
*Avg Points For 26.45 *Avg Points For 26.45
*Total Points Against 529 *Total Points Against 529
*Avg Points Against 26.45 *Avg Points Against 26.45
*Total.Points.Difference 0 *Total.Points.Difference 0
*Avg Points Difference 0.00 *Avg Points Difference 0.00
* = By Hurricanes * = By Brumbies

#HURvBRU #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 Matt Proctor.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Lausii Taliauli, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano,9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Nigel Ah Wong, 23 Robbie Coleman.

Date: Saturday, June 27
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT, 09:35 SAST, 17:35 AEST)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock, Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen

#HURvBRU #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED


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