The Blues captured their first Super Rugby title in 18 years by beating the Highlanders 23-15 in an all-New Zealand final of this season's trans-Tasman tournament.Blake Gibson's try three minutes from the end clinched the win after the Highlanders, trailing 13-6 at halftime, rallied with three penalties in seven minutes to lead 15-13 after 66 minutes.
Captain Michael Hooper believes new Wallabies forwards coach Dan McKellar will be "licking his lips" at the size of some of his players as he looks to bring a harder edge to the squad.Brumbies coach McKellar is preparing for his first Test series, with the Wallabies taking on France over three games early next month starting at the SCG on July 7.
Firebrand flanker Lachie Swinton is free for Wallabies selection to face France after escaping a further ban after his send-off in the final round of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.Swinton received a red card for an allegedly dangerous cleanout on the Chiefs' Lachlan Boshier late in the NSW Waratahs' 40-7 loss last Saturday night.
Lalakai Foketi could be forgiven for wanting to erase the Waratahs' Super Rugby season of misery from his mind.Instead Foketi is already thinking about what he can bring to the Waratahs from his experience as a new member of the Wallabies squad for next month's Test series against France.
Former Wallabies star Samu Kerevi has hit the ground running - literally - in his quest to earn a place in Australia's men's sevens team for the Tokyo Olympics.Kerevi arrived back into Australia late last month from his Japan club rugby stint to make a late bid for selection.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been held up as the inspiration for England's new rugby generation as national coach Eddie Jones outlines the possible futures available to his young prospects.Twenty-one uncapped players have been selected in a provisional squad that has begun preparations for a summer series consisting of a second string fixture against Scotland 'A' on June 27 and July Tests against the United States and Canada.
Michael Wells can thank the Waratahs for a low-ball contract that changed his rugby mindset and helped him earn selection in the Wallabies squad for next month's France series.Wells won NSW forward of the year in 2018 but rather than a contract upgrade the Waratahs offered him a base-level deal, which the loose forward said was a "sting".
Plans have been unveiled for a new United Rugby Championship next season, featuring northern and southern hemisphere teams.The 16-team league, forged from an agreement between PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby, will start in September.
The Western Force's raid on the Brumbies' playing stocks has continued, with the Perth-based franchise snaring three more players on Tuesday.Just 24 hours after signing Perth-raised flyhalf Reesjan Pasitoa from the Brumbies, the Force announced they have also lured Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Bayley Kuenzle and Reece Tapine on two-year deals.
9 Mosese Sorovi and Crusaders winger Manasa Mataele have been named in Fiji's squad for a two-Test series against the All Blacks but there is no Semi Radrara.Backline star Semi Radradra is unavailable because of commitments with his English club Bristol and his preparations for the rugby sevens tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.
Coach Dave Rennie wants to see a "dark side" from his Wallabies after including 11 uncapped players in his 38-man squad to take on France next month.Michael Hooper has returned from Japan to captain the side, with the first Test to be played in Sydney on July 7, followed by Melbourne and Brisbane - the entire series to be completed in 11 days.
Proud club man Morgan Turinui has laid the blame for the NSW Waratahs' season from hell squarely on the front office, not the rookie players.The rampant Chiefs consigned the Waratahs to an historic winless campaign with a 40-7 beating at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night.
The Blues have secured their place in the inaugural Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final with a 31-21 victory over the Western Force in Auckland.But the win wasn't as pretty as it could have been ahead of next week's title decider against the Highlanders back at Eden Park.
Plucky Melbourne have spoiled the Crusaders' Super Rugby Trans-Tasman party despite going down 52-26 in their final round clash at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon.Playing for a spot in the two-team final, the New Zealand champions needed to beat undermanned Melbourne by at least 33 points and pick up a bonus point to overtake the Highlanders on points differential.
The Brumbies have failed to take a second Kiwi scalp, disappointingly falling to the Highlanders in their Friday night Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash in Canberra.The Australian heavyweights were hopeful of backing up last week's win over the high-flying Hurricanes, but were outplayed 33-12.
Queensland Reds halfback Tate McDermott has put his hand up for a Wallabies start but couldn't help his side to a win over the Hurricanes in their final Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash.9 was among the Reds' best in their 43-14 loss at Sky Stadium in Wellington, staking a claim for the Test jersey for next month's series against France.
South Africa's Lions franchise have been forced to cancel their final fixture in the rugby Rainbow Cup due to COVID-19 infections in their squad, just three weeks before they host the British & Irish Lions in Johannesburg.The side were due to play the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, but a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in their Gauteng province home over the last week has now hit the team.
Kevin Foote has faced some huge challenges in his time as interim Melbourne Rebels coach - but the biggest looms on Saturday against the Crusaders.A former assistant at the Rebels, Foote took over for the five-week Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition when coach Dave Wessels quit after they missed the Super Rugby AU finals.
The Western Force aim to play the role of party poopers on Saturday when they take on the ladder-leading Blues at a venue that shall not be named.A win for the Blues will almost certainly be enough for them to secure a spot in the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby final, but they may need a bonus point to earn hosting rights.
Eddie Jones will tune into soccer's European Championship in search of ideas to strengthen his own performance as England rugby coach.The Australian has struck up a good relationship with England soccer boss Gareth Southgate and has taken part in regular virtual chats with the Three Lions boss, David Moyes, Arsene Wenger and coaches from the NBA and NFL to discuss the challenges of working in sport during the COVID era.
The Highlanders should brace for a frosty reception as the Brumbies plot to eliminate New Zealand's unbeaten high-flyers from the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title race on Friday night.The Highlanders enter the last-round fixture in second spot and on track for a place in next week's grand final.
A Wallabies debut for ex-NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu will have to wait with the winger to miss the upcoming Tests against France with a hamstring injury.Vunivalu hobbled off the field in Queensland's 31-24 Super Rugby Trans-Tasman loss to the Blues last weekend and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie says the injury is significant enough to rule him out of the three-Test series against the French next month.
Melbourne are set to take on New Zealand champions, the Crusaders, without Wallabies star Matt Toomua as they bring a trying Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season to a close in Sydney on Saturday.A neck injury means the Rebels' talismanic leader is racing the clock to avoid joining fellow Test backs Dane Haylett-Petty (head) and Reece Hodge (knee) on the sidelines.
The NSW Waratahs will limp to the finish line of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, with interim coach Chris Whitaker revealing they barely have enough players for their final round clash with the Chiefs.NSW have one final chance to bank their first win of a horror year but will be undermanned with more players joining the casualty ward ahead of the Brookvale Oval match.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says he sought the opinion of Stephen Larkham, the last man to hold down both a Super Rugby job and Wallabies assistant, before accepting the Test position.McKellar will join the Wallabies set-up as forwards coach at the end of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, a year after he was sounded out for the role.