Super Rugby

Blues smash Cheetahs 50-32

In what was an end-to-end affair despite dour Eden Park conditions, a try-happy Blues outfit ran in eight five-pointers to four and appeared likely to cut through a meek Cheetahs defensive line at every opportunity.

All Blacks hopeful Rieko Ioane ran riot, scoring two tries and setting up another, while midfielder George Moala did his Test prospects no harm in a classy display.

Loose forward Steven Luatua also impressed as an all-action blindside.

Godwin boost timely for Brumbies

Godwin will play his first game in a month when the Brumbies take on the Lions, after breaking his hand against the Reds - the last ACT win.

While he laughed off the notion that he might be any sort of lucky charm for the Brumbies on his return, but coach Stephen Larkham said Godwin would take some of the burden off flyhalf Wharenui Hawera.

“(Hawera) has been doing the bulk of that over the last couple of weeks, so having Kyle back out there will certainly ease the pressure on ‘Fats’ a little bit,” he said.

Highlanders comeback stuns Cheetahs

All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo crossed after the fulltime whistle, sparking scenes of jubilation from the visiting team.

They had looked buried when the Cheetahs ran in three quick tries of their own midway through the second spell to lead 41-24.

However, reserve winger Tevita Li, fullback Matt Faddes and Naholo - who bagged two tries - capitalised on a Cheetahs defence, reduced to 14 men following a yellow card shown to Uzair Cassiem.

Blues outclass Brumbies 18-12 in Canberra

Despite being last in the New Zealand group, the Blues were too good for the conference-topping Brumbies in a stark illustration of the gulf between Kiwi outfits and their trans-Tasman rivals.

It was the Brumbies' third loss in a row and ninth consecutive defeat to New Zealand opposition.

The Blues dominated possession from the outset on Sunday but were unable to breach the Brumbies dogged defence for the opening half hour in front of 12,072 at GIO Stadium.

Winger Matt Duffie broke the deadlock, with a George Moala offload helping him to cross after 31 minutes.

Crusaders stick with tried and true

The forward pack remains from last weekend's win over the Stormers, while Bryn Hall will start at halfback, pushing Mitchell Drummond to the bench.

In the reserves, Andrew Makalio comes on to the bench, to cover Codie Taylor at hooker.

Openside Matt Todd will play his 100th Super Rugby game.

Coach Scott Robertson said he had no doubt that Todd would give his all on Saturday night.

"Matt is an absolute work horse who gives full energy and commitment every time he takes the field - it wouldn't matter if it was his first game or his 100th."

     

Matulino off to Tigers

The long serving 28-year-old made his 197th NRL appearance in his first outing of the season in last night's Anzac Day loss to the Storm in Melbourne.

The long-serving Matulino, who is returning from an injury lay-off following knee surgery, informed club management at the weekend that he had decided to take up an offer from Wests Tigers.

The 28-year-old has been inconsistent over the last several seasons and last year was one of five players dropped from the New Zealand Test team for taking a cocktail of prescription drugs and energy drinks.

Fumiaki Tanaka-Joe Wheeler enjoy some banter in middle of Super Rugby game

Not because the now Sunwolves halfback misses his former Highlanders team mates, but because someone pointed him towards the tribute song Highlanders lock Joe Wheeler did for him before the game.

Wheeler penned a song to the music of Adelle's hit song Hello as a comical tribute to Tanaka.

"Before the game I laughed so much. I was about to cry, I was almost in tears," Tanaka said after the 40-15 loss to the Highlanders.

Crusaders back on top after demolishing Stormers

The Crusaders ran in five tries in the opening 40 minutes, All Blacks skipper Kieran Read grabbing two, as they had the game won with a 36-3 lead at the break.

The win leaves the Crusaders atop the New Zealand conference and the overall standings, the only unbeaten team after eight weeks.

The Stormers, coming off a 29-16 loss last week to the Kings, sorely tested the Crusaders' defence early, but could only come away with a Robert du Preez penalty.

Highlanders cruise to victory against Sunwolves

The final result was never in doubt, although the Highlanders looked rusty coming off the bye and weren't always convincing, particularly in the first half.

Their scrum was generally efficient and the set piece solid despite the absence of All Blacks flanker Elliot Dixon, ruled out late by a knee infection.

It took just four minutes for the Highlanders to punish the Sunwolves' slow start, the visitors' poor handling gifting plenty of early possession.

Jordie Barrett ruled out of under-20 squad

Barrett was named in the side last month, but with the Hurricanes riddled with injuries he's been ruled out of the squad.

Blues first five eight Stephen Perofeta has also been ruled out due to an ankle injury.

Tana Umaga's nephew Thomas Umaga-Jensen and secondary school rep Ciarahn Matoe will join the squad for the Gold Coast tournament.

Under 20 head coach Craig Philpott said they've been following Umaga-Jensens return to rugby since his hip surgery in October.