Super Rugby

Sunwolves match with Brumbies likely to be cancelled due to coronavirus

SANZAAR announced this afternoon the March 6 match in Osaka has been cancelled due to multiple factors linked to Covid-19.

"The international cross-border nature of the Super Rugby tournament has led SANZAAR to review its playing schedule and to implement specific tournament protocols to minimise any risks of the ongoing effects of the corona [COVID-19] virus," SANZAAR said in a statement.

Seven changes to Chiefs lineup

Due to All Blacks commitments Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Leinert-Brown and Nathan Harris have returned to New Zealand following last week's win over the Stormers in Cape Town.

Add to that the injury toll the chiefs have suffered and they're without a total of 20 players for the match.

In the forwards, Liam Polwart starts at hooker for Harris, Tyler Ardron moves to lock in place of Retallick and Pita Gus Sowakula gets a start in the number eight jersey.

Sam Whitelock to miss Blues game

Vice-captain Crotty will link with Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

The Crusaders have made six changes and one positional switch from the side that beat the Waratahs last week.

In the front row, Tim Perry makes his return from a hamstring injury and will start at loosehead prop. All Black Owen Franks also returns to the starting side this week, and Mike Alaalatoa moves to the reserves.

'Millions of pounds' on offer for South African sides

Media reports in Britain yesterday claimed the Johannesburg based Lions, the Durban-based Sharks and Capetown franchise the Stormers are planning to move out of Super rugby.

Super rugby's governing body SANZAAR dismissed the report as simply wrong. But the president of the Lions franchise Kevin de Klerk, isn't ruling out the possibility saying there are 'millions of pounds on offer in Europe'.

He's told the Daily Telegraph that market forces could force a move to the northern hemisphere when the current Super Rugby broadcasting deal expires in 2020.

'Simply wrong' that South African teams are leaving Super Rugby

Wales Online says the Durban-based Sharks are set to leave the competition to join the European PRO14 competition for 2019-20.

The Cheetahs and Kings, who were cut from the down-sized Super Rugby last year, already play in the competition which includes teams form Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

The report said that the Lions and Stormers would likely follow suit.

Despite the Lions making the Super Rugby final last year South Africa's franchises feel they are handicapped due to the different time zones.

Umaga changes Blues backline

Bryn Gatland returns to start at first five, with Stephen Perofeta dropping back to fullback.

Rieko Ioane moves back to his accustomed left wing with TJ Faiane and Orbyn Leger paired in the midfield.

Jimmy Tupou moves to lock, with Dalton Papalii starting on the flank.

Blues: 1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Jimmy Tupou, 6. Dalton Papalii, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Bryn Gatland, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Orbyn Leger, 14. Jordan Hyland,15. Stephen Perofeta.

Sharks too good for the Blues

Coming off the bye, the Blues were comprehensively outplayed, with poor tackling and an inability to secure quality ball allowing the Sharks to open out a 26-7 halftime lead.

The Aucklanders hit back in the second spell with three tries in the space of eight minutes but could find no answer to a masterful display from Sharks fly- half Robert du Preez.

The 24-year-old playmaker kicked flawlessly, nailing seven penalties and six conversions as well as scoring a try of his own to total 38 points for the match.

Wainui try secures tight Chiefs win over Highlanders

Wainui gave his side the lead for good after a topsy-turvy encounter on the scoreboard even though the home side had dominated much of the possession and territory.

Fullback Solomon Alaimalo and hooker Nathan Harris had scored either side of half time to give the home side a 20-7 lead only for the visitors to come storming back with tries to Tevita Li and Sio Tomkinson and take a two-point lead with about 20 minutes remaining.

Hurricanes romp past Rebels in Melbourne

First-five Beauden Barrett, number eight Gareth Evans and inside centre Ngani Laumape also crossed for the Hurricanes, who trailed 19-8 after 30 minutes before running over the top of the tiring home side.

The result takes the Hurricanes to the top of the New Zealand Conference.

The Rebels' only try was scored by lock Matt Philip and flyhalf Jack Debreczeni added four penalties.

Highlanders beat Stormers in Dunedin

The Stormers have lost their past 10 games in New Zealand, and have just one win from four matches this season.

The late loss of hooker Ash Dixon, ruled out after a head knock at training, had little effect on the Highlanders, with Liam Coltman slotting in efficiently.

Coming off the bye, their scrum was solid and their work at the breakdown was relentless. While handling errors meant second-half tries went begging, the Highlanders always looked in control.