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NZ Rugby World

NZ Rugby World No 178 Super Rugby - Feb-Mar 2016

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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 ONE THING for which Sanzar can’t be faulted is the scale of their ambition. A competition that began life at the end of the amateur era with 10 teams, kicks off in February with a staggering 18 involved. Not only that, but these teams are stretched across the Southern Hemisphere and now also the North. Who ever thought it would be possible to run a competition where games would be played in Argentina, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and this year, Fiji? Super 18 is, if nothing else, breathtaking in scale. For the armchair fan, it could hardly be better. There will be endless games to watch. It will feel like rugby is played all weekend and that’s because under this new format, it pretty much will be. And for…

12 min.
a quick guide to super 18

ALL YOU NEE D TO KNOW HOW THEY LINE UP ARGENTINA Recruitment balance It was going to be a huge challenge to get the best out of Europe but they have managed to get the Pumas captain and playmaker as well as a few other superb performers such as Juan Martin Hernandez, Joaquin Tuculet and Pablo Matera. They look pretty much like Argentina. What can we expect tactically? They will no doubt play much like Argentina did at the World Cup – delivering this hugely enterprising continuity game. They have a high skill level, good fitness levels and good understanding of what they are trying to do. Where will they finish? They have enough depth and experience to hang in there but it will be tough being on the road so much. The grind may get to them…

4 min.
blackadder goes forth

THIS REVAMPED 2016 Super Rugby season will be the last in charge of the Crusaders for coach Todd Blackadder. Eight years at the helm of the competition’s most successful franchise is enough, Blackadder declaring his intentions, as far back as November of last year, to voluntarily leave when his contract is up. For a Hurricanes fan looking from the outside in, Todd’s tenure has been nothing short of stunning. Which other franchise wouldn’t want his record of four-time semifinalists and two-time runners-up i n just seven seasons since 2008? The answer to that question, as well we’ve heard, is “themselves” The drums have been beating for a while now down in Crusader-country, the voices of discontent unhappy with the team’s playing style, their almost obligatory slow starts, and most important, frustrating inability to…

5 min.
europe’s regeneration project

HAVING BEEN SAT on their collective backsides during the Rugby World Cup, Europe’s traditional powers will be looking to turn a new page over the coming weeks. The Six Nations and the business end of the European championships will provide a welcome change of focus away from the wounds of November. Most eyes will be on England, who start yet another new era full of hope, this time under the arching eyebrows of Eddie Jones. The Rugby Union, in keeping with its imperious title, has shown what it might lack in credibility on the field right now, can be more than made up for in the financial stakes, having flashed enough cash to easily persuade Jones out of his deal with the Stormers. Jones is a great buy, no question. He is one of…

4 min.
alive and kicking

SUPER RUGBY HAS been through its 20 year emerald celebration. That’s right, it’s been two decades since Super Rugby began its professional life with the blast of referee Paddy O’Brien’s whistle at the Palmerston North Showgrounds and Alama Ieremia scored the first five point try in world rugby. It was a Super 12 series, a roundrobin tournament beginning in March and all done and dusted by the end of May. It was brash and exciting as teams found another gear on the hard grounds usually reserved for summer sport. The Blues were the inaugural champions in a competition format we knew and understood for a decade. Two extra sides joined the series in 2006 before the third version in 2011, added another side and split the tournament into conferences. ‘Lomu’s public farewell was all…

22 min.
super rugby 2016

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 FIVE BIG QUESTIONS 1 Will the kids be okay? The Blues, having only appointed Tana Umaga as coach in late July, had no time to recruit senior and experienced figures. Instead Umaga had no choice but to sign up young men playing in the region. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – how many good youngsters have the Blues missed in the past, failing to be patient and discarding genuine superstars way too easily? It could be that their lack of experience is a blessing – that they play with no fear and take the competition as it comes. Or maybe they will freeze on the big stage and be totally out of their…