Chasing an incredible fifth straight title, the Crusaders again start favourites for Super Rugby Aotearoa. The competition didn't disappoint last year and, further COVID breakouts aside, it again promises to be something special -- Liam Napier reports.
Super Rugby Aoteroa have introduced two new law variations, including captain's call and goal line drop-outs, for the 2021 season kicking off in just over two weeks.
A "Super Round" highlights the creation of a crossover trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition for 2021, with one lucky city set to host five games on the one weekend in a similar concept to the NRL's Magic Round of 2019.
Highlanders will welcome defending champions Crusaders in the opening round of Super Rugby Aotearoa on Feb. 26 after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced the schedule for the second edition of the domestic competition on Tuesday.
Winger Will Jordan scored his second try of the game five minutes into extra time to give the South a 38-35 victory over the North in New Zealand's first inter-island match since 2012 on Saturday.
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has not been offered a new contract by the team and ended his tenure after three years in charge, the Super Rugby side said Thursday.
The 23-man squads for New Zealand's first North vs. South match in eight years are in and there are key match-ups right across the paddock.
Super Rugby Aotearoa returns to action this weekend, while Super Rugby AU is a week ahead and preparing for Round 2. Follow all the latest team news, match odds and verdicts here.
Right from the outset, Super Rugby Aotearoa established itself as the greatest domestic rugby competition the world had seen. But it remains unknown what shape the competition it could take in 2021, with several issues still to be sorted.
The Crusaders weren't at their best on Sunday, yet they underlined their status as a champion by fighting back to defeat the Highlanders and claim the inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy.
Finlay Christie scored an early try in each half as the Blues beat the Highlanders in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Dunedin to keep the race for the domestic title still alive.
Round 6 of Super Rugby Aotearoa produced two further gripping encounters, but it was the performance of Ngani Laumape that left a significant impact on several Blues players and certainly should silence some "disrespectful" critics.
Sio Tomkinson scored a try after the final siren as the Otago Highlanders rallied from an early 24-0 deficit and produced a storming second half to beat the Waikato Chiefs 33-31.
The Crusaders' blockbuster with the Blues certainly didn't disappoint, as Richie Mo'unga dominated from fly-half and gave Leon MacDonald something to ponder as a result. Catch up with all the weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa action here.
The Hurricanes established a strong lead and then held on to record their second win in Super Rugby Aotearoa with a 17-11 victory over the Highlanders.
The Crusaders relentlessly ground down the Highlanders to record a 40-20 victory in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Dunedin on Saturday, the hosts counting the cost of one golden opportunity blown.
Just how good do you have to be to beat the Crusaders right now? Well you have to take every opportunity that comes your way for a start. Meanwhile, something is just not quite right with the Chiefs.
The results in Round 3 of Super Rugby Aotearoa went to plan, but the games were closer than many thought they would be. It also showcased two rising talents in New Zealand rugby, and the importance of good decision-making.
The Highlanders could have brought on the first golden-point of Super Rugby Aotearoa, but they instead kicked for the corner and then turned the ball over from the lineout to let the Blues off the hook on Saturday night.
Former All Blacks hooker Mark Hammett will leave his role as assistant coaching at the Highlanders at the end of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
Australia's Super Rugby chief executives have been invited to be part of a conference call with their New Zealand counterparts as All Blacks great Justin Marshall says both nations need each other moving forward.
Melbourne Rebels prop Jermaine Ainsley has signed a two-year deal with the Highlanders that will see him return home from Australia and become ineligible for selection in Dave Rennie's Wallabies squad.
Penalties might have flowed freely, but that did little to diminish Super Rugby Aotearoa's opening weekend, the competition reaping the rewards as the public fell for the national sport again, Liam Napier writes.
New Zealand on Saturday became one of the first nations in the world to welcome hordes of fans back into a packed sports stadium.
Bryn Gatland slotted a 79th minute drop goal to give the Highlanders a 28-27 victory over the Chiefs as professional rugby union resumed after a three-month COVID-19 shutdown.