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NZ Rugby World

NZ Rugby World February - March 2017

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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.

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New Zealand
Dark Horse Collective Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
editor’s letter

THE AUSTRALIAN, SOUTH AFRICAN, ARGENTINIAN AND JAPANESE TEAMS in Super Rugby will be wondering whether 2016 was an aberration. Was it some kind of perfect storm that saw the New Zealand teams dominate the competition the way they did? Four of the Kiwi teams made the playoffs and three made the semis. And to be honest, if the competition didn’t have this unfair and strange commitment to giving each of the respective conference winners a home quarterfinal, perhaps the last four teams would have been from New Zealand. And four teams in the playoffs was a fair representation. There’s no denying that the Chiefs, Hurricanes, Highlanders and Crusaders played consistently good rugby. Their individual skills were high across the board. All four teams – and the Blues by the end of the…

5 min.
an elephant-sized lion

THERE ALWAYS SEEMS to be an elephant in the room. Every four years it’s the World Cup, other years it might be a record win streak, an upcoming coaching appointment or a bunch of notable players about to make their next big move. Over there in the corner, balancing on a unicycle wearing a pointy hat and dark glasses, is this year’s elephant, and it’s called a Lions tour. They only come about every four years, 12 if you’re hosting one, and that makes them more special than anything else outside the World Cup. Four months out, the magnitude of the task has already been underpinned by the All Blacks coaching staff nudging the posts on their much touted commitment to player welfare and hosting a summer summit to get everyone in the…

4 min.
keeping an eye on the hospital ward

IT WAS THRILLING to see the consistent excellence of Beauden Barrett as he swooped from the All Black back-up benches to global salutes as the player of the year. Ben Smith and Dane Coles were others who brought their A games most weekends while Israel Dagg’s work was a redemptive statement about his quality. Rewards for persistence came to Matt Todd and Steven Luatua, while Owen Franks’ hard slog to 90 caps at tight-head prop might not be a thing of public beauty, his team knows his immense value. The ascension of Rieko Ioane and Scott Barrett illustrated the astonishing depth of talent and the uncanny ability of the All Black selectors to zero in on talent and get it sorted for test rugby. All those attributes glittered at the end-of-year awards evening and…

15 min.
a quick guide to

RECRUITMENT BALANCE Definitely been a good outcome on the recruitment front for the Blues. They have picked up three All Blacks, a bruising forward [Jimmy Tupou] who could turn out to be excellent and possibly in Stephen Perofeta, they have their new Carlos Spencer. Been the best haul they have had in years. Maybe ever. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TACTICALLY? To build on what they showed last year – which was improved solidity from the forwards in all areas and a more patient, structured attacking plan. With the backline they have assembled and the natural gifts within their forwards, they could play a high tempo, continuity game striking at the widest parts of the field. GUT FEEL – RISERS OR FALLERS? The Blues are a side on the way up. The question is not if…

3 min.
how it works

• There are 18 teams split into two groups • There is the NZ/AUS group and there is the SA group • The groups are split into four conferences • There is the AUS Conference and NZ Conference • There is South Africa One and South Africa Two • Each team will play 15 qualifying games • Each team will have two bye weeks • There are eight playoff spots • The winner of each conference will qualify for a home quarterfinal • The next three highest teams from the NZ/AUS group will pick up wild card places • The final wild card is open to the highest-placed non conference winner from SA • Conference winners will have home advantage. NOT SO QUICK GUIDE • There are five teams from New Zealand, five teams from Australia, six teams from South Africa, one team…

32 min.
super rugby 2017

is that we lucked out big time last year with our pre-season rambling about what might happen. As always we decided to just wing it, write with confidence and authority and hope that would disguise the fact we hadn’t even realised there were 18 teams in the new competition. And who knew, a few of the things we guessed would happen did. So like all good coaches, we have decided there is no reason to change a winning formula and have once again decided to produce this epic preview that is a classic triumph for style over substance. THE CHAMPIONS 1996 Blues 1997 Blues 1998 Crusaders 1999 Crusaders 2000 Crusaders 2001 Brumbies 2002 Crusaders 2003 Blues 2004 Brumbies 2005 Crusaders 2006 Crusaders 2007 Bulls 2008 Crusaders 2009 Bulls 2010 Bulls 2011 Reds 2012 Chiefs 2013 Chiefs 2014 Waratahs 2015 Highlanders 2016 Hurricanes FIVE BIG QUESTIONS 01 CAN THE BLUES KEEP CLIMBING? The Blues were a considerably…