NZ Rugby World

NZ Rugby World February - March 2020

New Zealand Rugby World is the premier authority on our national game; with sharp analysis and irreverent humour the two key components. In both style and content the writing is award winning and provides an unparalleled depth of insight into the people who play the game and the issues that matter to the fans. The cast of contributors is world class as is the photography and lay-out. Pick this magazine up and you won't want to put it down - rugby has never been so much fun.

New Zealand
Langhills Publishing Ltd
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
editor’s letter

SOMEHOW, PROBABLY AGAINST THE ODDS, Super Rugby will celebrate its 25th season in 2020. Against the odds because who really thought that a cross-border competition originally spanning 10 time zones and two continents would survive as long as it has? The logistics of Super Rugby have always bordered on impossible. In the beginning there were 12 teams split across New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and while the competition was short and sweet, it was still prohibitively expensive. It was still a nightmare trying to get teams back and forth across the Pacific and Indian Oceans and find kick-off times that worked for the three respective audiences. However hard it was in the beginning it became harder again when the Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan joined, meaning the competition now spans…

1 min.
breaking new ground

The Blues didn’t start the inaugural Super Rugby competition in 1996 as favourites but after they sneaked an unexpected victory against Natal in their last game, they jumped to second and had a home semifinal against Northern Transvaal. They won that which earned them a home final as the Sharks had beaten the Queensland Reds in Brisbane. An afternoon kick off at a full Eden Park saw the Blues, inspired by Carlos Spencer, run riot with the giant Jonah Lomu scoring the last try of the game to complete the 45-21 victory.…

11 min.
panning for super rugby gold

Selectors will say their eyes and minds are always open. They are, that's true, but the year after a World Cup is always a little different and 2020 will see a new All Blacks selection group scour Super Rugby particularly har There's a number of reasons for that. Firstly, the All Blacks, like most other countries, saw a reasonable cleanout of senior personnel after the last World Cup. Kieran Read, Ben Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd who were all in Japan at the World Cup, have gone offshore. So too have Owen Franks and Jackson Hemopo who were in the test squad last year prior to the World Cup cull being made. Others such as Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Matt Proctor who were regular All Blacks…

13 min.
leading lights

There hasn't been much mystery about the next All Blacks captain in recent years. The last appointment that had genuine intrigue was Tana Umaga in 2004. He was the initial choice to lead the team when Graham Henry took over after the failed World Cup campaign in 2003. Reuben Thorne had been captain at the tournament, a role he had held since 2002, but was far from a popular choice. Henry had hinted that he wasn't a huge fan of Thorne as player or captain when he first came into the job, but didn't allude to who he had his eye on. So come late May when the first squad was picked, there was no inside knowledge as to who was going to be captain: there was no obvious candidate that everyone knew made…

10 min.
the perfect storm

There have been ample predictions in the last decade which have claimed Super Rugby is doomed. The portents of doom have been such that every year since 2016, Super Rugby has kicked off with a strong sense that it could be the last competition. Yet, here we are, starting another competition in 2020 and however much it may seem like Super Rugby is on the ropes and likely to tumble at any time, it continually finds a way to roll with the punches and survive. But the pressure is intensifying and the problems are mounting to the extent that no one should be flippant about how things are poised. Yes there have been difficult periods that Super Rugby has weathered but this time it may be different. This time there may not be…

16 min.
quick guide to super 20 rugby 20

BLUES Our Prediction 8th12th Beaten Quarterfinalist RECRUITMENT BALANCE One of the most obvious and longest standing problems at the Blues has been their lack of a high quality No 10. Since Carlos Spencer left in 2005, they have had a series of hopefuls come and go without ever threatening to give the Blues the tactical control and direction they need. So quite obviously the signature of Beauden Barrett is a game-changer for them. They have snared the best attacking player in the world and a No 10 with the proven ability to win titles and that fact alone means they have to be happy about their recruitment. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TACTICALLY? This is hard to answer because we don't actually know when Barrett will be available. Once he's on board, though, expect the Blues to try…