NPC (National Provincial Championship)

Celebrations from Wellington Rugby NPC side

The party began seconds after the Wellington Rugby NPC side secured a well-earned, 18-26 win at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch. Claiming the province’s first National Provincial Championship (NPC) title since 2000, it was the culmination of a season that peaked to perfection. And reaching that zenith against the established pack leaders Canterbury must have made celebrations […]

2021 Bunnings NPC to revitalize Provincial Rugby

Rebranding it the 2021 Bunnings NPC (renamed from the Mitre 10 Cup) will help to revitalize Provincial Rugby this season in New Zealand. That is not due to any new trial laws, or some variation of the format – it is just the most logical reason. The NPC (National Provincial Union) is the traditional analogy […]

Sir Wayne Shelford celebrated for his ongoing services to Rugby & Community

The famed former All Blacks captain and community advocate Buck Shelford is now celebrated as Sir Wayne Shelford, in the 2021 New Zealand Queens birthday honours list. Honoured for what he contributed on the field for his beloved Navy club, North Harbour rugby, and the grassroots game, as well for all the work Shelford continues […]

Former All Black Dan Carter retires as record-holding Champion

As former All Black Dan Carter retires from first-class rugby, it is as a record-holding Champion. One who played at the elite level for his entire professional career, and he leaves a legacy of near-perfection. In a career that stretched from his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2002, his years as a professional footballer lasted […]

Ranfurly Shield on the move 'again'

On the move ‘again’ the Ranfurly Shield is capturing the attention of rugby fans for not only its quick transition but also, the quality of the matches. For the third time this season alone, the Ranfurly Shield has been taken away from the holder. To the delight of rugby followers – or to the torment […]

Golden point used in 'top of the table' Mitre 10 Cup match

While a winner must usually be found in sport, for the first time in the New Zealand national provincial championship, the Golden Point rule was used in ‘top of the table’ Mitre 10 Cup match. Wellington had traveled down to challenge Canterbury. In a spirited attempt, the match ended after 80 minutes at 26-all. A […]

Tell Us - do you read the Rugby Papers?

In these modern times, the good old Rugby Papers have appeared to become a second rate option. Compared to all the ‘rugby pods’ or independent websites available today, how does the average rugby reader actually consume content these days? Here at Last Word on Rugby, we decided to ask you ‘what is your preferred option?’ […]

Flying their Provincial Colours: North v South teams

All week, the anticipation of the North v South match has been building. Player’s have been flying the colours of the province where they made their debut in first-class rugby. It is still a conversation but, the All Blacks selectors chose that criteria, and the players have accepted it. On Saturday night in Wellington, the […]

Ian Foster can find 2020 All Blacks squad from North v South clash

With the 2020 All Blacks squad coming from the participants in the North v South trial game, head coach Ian Foster will select his players comprising that group on Sunday, September 6. The rescheduled fixture has been shifted to Wellington, so that players from Auckland can attend. Covid-19 restrictions limit the possibility of fans attending […]

Postponed North v South clash dependent on Covid-19 status

The squad announcement occurred on August 18 yet no sooner had the applause quietened down, has New Zealand Rugby (NZR) had to postpone the North v South clash as the ability for the match to continue is wholly dependent on Covid-19 alert level status. With the harsher restrictions surrounding the Auckland boundaries, and with a […]

Aaron Smith: star halfback 'passes' 150 Super Rugby caps

‘Passing’ 150 Super Rugby caps will see Aaron Smith join an exclusive club. He has been a one franchise man, who is maturing into one of the best halves in the modern game. At age 31, entering his premier stage of a Domestic and International career that has been crowned by a Super Rugby title […]

Andy Haden; the Headstrong All Black

The way he played and commented on the game, is how Andy Haden should be remembered, as a headstrong, yet proud and high-quality All Black lock and senior figure within the game. Compiling over 100 tests for New Zealand, as well as 100 games for Auckland and 100 for his club Ponsonby; it makes Haden […]

2020 Mitre 10 Cup draw announced for Premiership/Championship

A revised 2020 Mitre 10 Cup draw has been announced, with a new schedule for the Premiership and Championship conferences, that starts on September 11. Across New Zealand, the 14 unions are committed to commencing the national provincial championship, as the country overcomes the Coronavirus pandemic. With Super Rugby being played, the Mitre 10 Cup […]

Covid-19 health/family focus now switches back to rugby training mode

From the intense Covid-19 personal health and family focus of the last few months, it now switches back to one of a ‘rugby training mode’ for both men and women across the rugby-globe. Moving from the life-affecting changes to society and to the state of rugby worldwide was monumental for all. One which the Coronavirus […]

Women's rugby and Schools/Clubs given green light in NZ

After an age of postponement, Women’s rugby and Schools and Clubs have been given the green light in New Zealand, to resume training ahead of a June return. The phased reintroduction of team sports across rugby union, football, and other sports like Hockey, Netball/Basketball, will see many smiling faces. Player’s have had to bide their […]

Southern hemisphere rugby

Southern Hemisphere rugby has had to endure a period of change in the last month. Not battered to the same degree as Europe has, yet wage cuts, fans and players’ seasons disrupted, and unease for what the future may hold is certainly is disarming. While still well mannered and constructive, everything has been spoken of, […]

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France's flanker Charles Ollivon celebrates win on November 12, 2022
Connor Dickins - Apr 22, 2020

Are ‘rugby values’ truly superior to those of other sports? Not according to Rugby analyst Robbie Owen (or Squidge Rugby, as preferably known). According to Owen, rugby often pats itself on the back for actions that “other sports can do without needing a round of applause”. Some fans may not like it, but he is […]

England's 'finishers' provide blueprint to beat the Springboks
Charlie Inglefield - Apr 22, 2020

Sir Clive Woodward is not a fan of the expression ‘Finishers’. His understandable argument is that all players should be capable of playing 80 minutes. But with all due respect to Sir Clive, England’s finishers nearly pulled off a remarkable victory over the All Blacks on Saturday. Messrs. Dave Ribbans, Mako Vunipola, Will Stuart, Freddie […]

Suspensions to Antoine DuPont/Pieter-Steph du Toit for red cards

With suspensions announced for star players Antoine DuPont and Pieter-Steph du Toit, it comes at the wrong time for World Rugby. The last fully contested weekend of the Autumn Nations Series was bereft of two superstars that are both former recipients of World Rugby men’s Player of the Year. It is bad timing, especially for […]

Russell and Townsend
Thomas Booth - Apr 22, 2020

Russell and Townsend, “Strange bedfellows?” At the time of writing this, Finn Russell is tearing it up at Murrayfield against Argentina. Admittedly, Los Pumas are depleted in numbers due to ill-discipline. Having said that, the players (Russell included) can only play against what they are presented with on the day. Darcy's at the double šŸ¤© […]

England can beat the All Blacks with a bit of unpredictability
Charlie Inglefield - Apr 22, 2020

England put on a much-improved performance against Japan after their limp display over the Pumas. An error-ridden Japan were poor, allowing England to rediscover their confidence ahead of this Saturday’s huge clash where they intend to beat the All Blacks. New Zealand, by contrast, was taken all the way by a brave Scottish team before […]

France Wins Bronze Medal over Rugby Canada in Auckland, New Zealand

This Saturday on the last day of the World Cup, France wins bronze medal at Eden Park. This was Franceā€™s third-straight bronze medal, and while disappointing not to appear in the Cup final, they completed a confidence-boosting win. Rugby Canada finished in fourth place [for the fourth time] and must look closely at this result. […]

RWC2023 headquarters staff under investigation by French authorities

Staff at the French Rugby RWC2023 headquarters are under investigation by authorities, with news that the France 2023 Ethics Committee was continuing its inquiry into the operation. Reuters stated that ‘Claude Atcher, the chief executive officer of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France [organization], has been sacked after a report by the French Labour […]

USA Eagles/Portugal RWC Playoff qualification match

After two rounds of RWC playoff qualification matches completed, two out of the four sides in this knockout tournament remain; the USA Eagles and Portugal. And one last game is scheduled forĀ  Friday, November 18. Qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) is limited to 24 sides, and just one place remains in Pool […]