NPC (National Provincial Championship)

Premiership New Zealand XV
James Barker, Editor - Apr 14, 2020

Following the selection of a Pacific Island XV of the best-imported players into the Premiership, James Barker now selects a Premiership New Zealand XV; the best Kiwis to have played in England. Premiership New Zealand XV 15. Charles Piutau – Wasps, Bristol Bears A fairly simple decision to begin with. The most highly paid player […]

Big week in New Zealand Rugby; new head coach and ASB Rugby Awards

As the details emerge, it has been a big week in New Zealand Rugby; there has been the announcement of a new head coach and the 2019 ASB Rugby Awards. Over the course of three days, the speculation over which man would helm the All Blacks direction over the next two years was finally decided. […]

Jacob Umaga
Charlie Hynes - Nov 28, 2019

Having only signed a senior contract at the start of the season, a string of exciting performances have earned young Wasps starlet Jacob Umaga a new upgraded contract. The new deal comes after a man of the match performance in last weekends 32-14 Challenge Cup victory over Agen. Umaga scored 12 points and produced a […]

Potential new All Blacks Coach selection process underway

When a list of names was put forward as potential candidates for the vacant All Blacks Coach position last week, the New Zealand Rugby administration was inundated with quality choices. From domestic title winners, to European and International rugby leaders. It all makes for an interesting selection process, and a widely anticipated appointment. Widely; well […]

Canterbury v Auckland final in 2019 Farah Palmer Cup

With the traditional ‘north versus south’ fixture of Canterbury v Auckland scheduled in the final of the 2019 Farah Palmer Cup, women’s rugby will hold the attention this weekend. With the two tiers, the Premiership cup final is scheduled to be played on Saturday, October 26 in Christchurch’s Rugby Park. The Auckland Storm will need […]

Ethan Roots and Harbour Rugby ready for Ranfurly Shield challenge

Along with his teammates, Ethan Roots and Harbour Rugby are ready for a ‘surprise’ Ranfurly Shield challenge, coinciding with Week 10 of the Mitre 10 Cup. A surprise, due to the recent victory by Canterbury over shield holders Otago. It then catapulted [North] Harbour into a key position. The final challenger of the 2019 season […]

2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach in Mitre10 Cup learning curve

Building his rugby knowledge ‘on the job’ is 2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach Sam Ward. Part of the leadership group in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship – it is one steep learning curve that the assistant coach is fully embracing. While 2019 has not yet been full of highs, a sweet victory over Manawatu on […]

Mitre 10 Cup Week 7: Halfway point passed in Domestic Rugby

Passed the halfway stage of the 10-week domestic rugby season, Mitre 10 Cup week 7 results ensured that several teams are still in contention for the playoffs. Fans attention may be distracted with the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but each week, the provincial unions around New Zealand do battle. Often fierce local […]

Mitre 10 Cup Week Two: CANvTAS Match of the Round

At the end of the Mitre 10 Cup Week Two schedule, one clash was more significant. The CANvTAS game was certainly the match of the round, with the victor taking a superior position on the table. While their provincial rivalry might be short-lived – played 17, from 2007-2018 – the Crusaders regional contest between Canterbury […]

Super Saturday with International rugby at the forefront

Knowing that the rugby-frequency is just about to wound up to full volume, fans welcome in another Super Saturday, with International rugby at the forefront. The selection has been limited thus far. The Rugby Championship entertaining an eager appetite; especially in the all-important Rugby World Cup calendar year. That was complemented perfectly by the Pacific […]

Sir Brian Lochore

The passing of New Zealand Rugby icon and senior figure Sir Brian Lochore, has illustrated that a player’s career is more than just what they achieve on-the-field. So it is with the utmost respect that Last Word on Rugby pays tribute to one of the All Blacks greats. Losing his fight with cancer on August […]

Domestic rugby distraction in Mitre 10 Cup 2019

When the focus shifted from Super Rugby towards International Rugby, many of the wider-rugby community were left with a limited selection. Down on options, to avoid the risk of some fans taking up with another code, there will soon be a ‘domestic rugby distraction’ in the form of the Mitre 10 Cup 2019 schedule. The […]

Ben Smith

For many fans of rugby union, few players gain respect from the majority. more than All Blacks and Highlanders player, Ben Smith. He is one of those few men who are recognized and praised by so many for his skill and his manner on-and-off the park. Playing in the last game of his career with […]

2018 Incredible Accomplishments, Key Moments and New Years 'Rugby resolutions'

As an organization, Last Word on Rugby looks forward to the New Year, as much as anyone. We too, like to review many of the incredible accomplishments that have occurred over the past 12 months, the key moments over the calendar before making any ‘rugby resolutions’ ahead of the next year. Fondly as we might […]

Women's Rugby 'rule the World' at ASB Rugby Awards

The theme is now more common. It happens more often. And after the ASB New Zealand Rugby Awards, the proof is that Women’s rugby is taking over the rugby world. Evidenced best last night, when Kendra Cocksedge claimed the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award at the ASB Awards evening, held in Auckland. […]

NZ Rugby Awards and Joe Schmidt receives Coach of the Year endorsement

Every December, the best and brightest of New Zealand (NZ) Rugby get together to celebrate. Whatever the accomplishments individually, the NZ Rugby Awards is the best time to celebrate the sport, as a group. For women and men, players and referees, coaches and administrators, they all sit back and acknowledge each other’s efforts. To highlight […]

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Ben Smith Nasi Manu 'championship combo' to inspire 2023 Highlanders

The Ben Smith Nasi Manu ‘championship combo’ who took the side to the franchise’s only Super Rugby title, have been assigned key management roles to inspire the 2023 Highlanders squad. Highlanders head coach Clarke Dermody will welcome the pair to both senior roles in the administration, but more likely in how they each work with […]

Autumn International Series
Charlie Inglefield - Dec 12, 2018

The Springboks have roared back into being one of the favorites for the World Cup next year. They utterly destroyed England at Twickenham on Saturday despite being at half-strength. They join Ireland and France as genuine contenders. There were upsets, led by Georgia’s memorable win over Wales, last-minute thrillers, and plenty of controversies. Charlie Inglefield […]

Doddie Weir 1970-2022

Over this weekend, the rugby world paid it’s last respects to Doddie Weir. The former Scotland and British and Irish Lions’ player succumbed to his debilitating motor neuron disease at the age of 52. From the personal tributes and obituaries, a sense of the man can be found. One who played with energy and pride, […]

Wallabies victory 'stolen' out of the arms of defeat against Wales

In a memorable revival, this weekend’s Wallabies victory was one ‘stripped out of the arms of defeat’ against Wales. Stolen because the Welsh side had stretched out to a 20-13 lead after a pair of Australian players were sanctioned with yellow cards. Yet from that poor position, the Wallabies would then add 26 unanswered points, […]

Autumn International Series
Charlie Inglefield - Dec 12, 2018

South Africa’s Autumn International Series 27-13 demolition of England on Saturday at Twickenham was a brutal reality check for English rugby. England were completely dominated in every department. To further compound what was one of the worst displays by an England rugby team in many a year, the Springboks were down to 14 men going […]

France's flanker Charles Ollivon celebrates win on November 12, 2022
Connor Dickins - Dec 12, 2018

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 - Dec 12, 2018

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 […]