Highlanders and All Blacks back Ben Smith could possibly play again before the end of the Super Rugby regular season before his departure to France.
Highlanders assistant coach Mark Hammett has confirmed that Smith could return to the match day squad for their game with the Waratahs next week, which would be a week earlier than expected.
“Bender [Smith] is close. He was pushing very hard to get to this week, this is week five and they always say it takes about six weeks for that injury,” he said.
Smith may have played his final game at the Forsyth Barr Stadium before his move to Top 14 side Pau. However, although Smith would be desperate to play at home again Hammett wants his star man to be fully fit to feature next week.
“He’s highly unlikely for this week, we’re not trying to play games. But that’s because we really want to have him there for the final week,” he added.
Highlanders fans will really want to see the 76-capped All Black before he goes and will hope their side can qualify for the play-offs.
In more good news for the franchise Josh McKay, Liam Squire, Jackson Hemopo and Tevita Li all look set to return for the team’s clash with the Bulls this week having missed the South African tour for different reasons.
Izzy shares the highs and lows of his career in a new series ‘Behind the Jersey’
Former Crusader and All Black Izzy Dagg has opened up on his career in a new series, “Behind the Jersey”.
New Zealand sports reporter Kirstie Stanway speaks in-depth to former All Black Israel (Izzy) Dagg. Izzy shares the highs and lows of his career, as well as his struggles off the field. Izzy wants people to know that while athletes can be portrayed as invincible, “we’re just like you.” This is the first time he has shared his story.
Check out Izzy’s story above.
Find Help Here – findahelpline.com or Call/ Text 1737. You don’t have to do this alone.
Waratahs 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific fixtures revealed
The NSW Waratahs’ fixtures for the 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season have been revealed.
Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific’s full potential will be unleashed in 2023 with the announcement of a schedule that will ignite trans-Tasman and Pasifika rivalries like never before.
The defending Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific Champion Crusaders will kick the competition off against the Chiefs during an opening round that focuses on traditional rivalries, while the NSW Waratahs open their tenure at Allianz Stadium in Sydney against the ACT Brumbies.
Opening weekend will also see Pasifika pride on the line as Moana Pasifika host the Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland in what will be the start of historic campaigns for last year’s two competition newcomers. The Drua will play six home matches in Fiji, while Moana Pasifika will take a home match to Apia in what will be the second Super Rugby game in Samoa and a first for Moana Pasifika.
The final fixtures of the opening weekend will see the Highlanders host the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, the Hurricanes travel to Brisbane to play the Reds, and the Force host the Rebels in Perth.
Round 2 is the previously announced Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne where all 12 teams will gather for a high-stakes festival of rugby.
The 2023 draw will see all 12 teams play 14 matches during the regular season, 11 round-robin fixtures, and three additional rivalry matches, which will see each team play a home and away series against three other teams.
Family friendly afternoon kick-offs are a feature of the draw with 24 daytime matches in total with all 91 matches live and exclusive on Stan Sport, including the eight-team finals series, which kicks off in the second weekend of June.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “Being able to play regularly in front of home fans, and to travel across the Tasman and around the Pacific is massive for the competition, especially for fans, who can support their teams through a full home schedule.”
“Everyone saw what Super Rugby Pacific had to offer in its first season and all 12 clubs have taken that excitement into the off-season and will be primed for a shot at the title in 2023.”
After spending the past four seasons playing out of multiple venues across Sydney and its greater metropolitan area, the Waratahs will return home to Allianz Stadium for all home matches in 2023.
Darren Coleman’s team is set to open their campaign at home in Round one with a blockbuster clash against traditional rivals the ACT Brumbies on Friday 24 February.
The Waratahs’ home fixtures then include the Chiefs (Round 5), Force (Round 8), Highlanders (Round 10), Rebels (Round 12), Fijian Drua (Round 13), before rounding out the season against Moana Pasifika (Round 15).
NSW Waratahs CEO Paul Doorn said, “We are finally home.”
“I’d like to thank our members, fans, partners, and Venues NSW for their continued support through the re-development of Allianz Stadium and cannot wait to usher in a new era for the Waratahs and NSW Rugby when we host the Brumbies in round one.
“Our home at Allianz Stadium is the envy of the competition, offering a game-day rugby experience like no other in the country.
“Alongside our new home, we are also launching a brand-new membership offering on sale this Wednesday – the NSW Rugby Waratahs Club, which allows the rugby community to connect and help grow the game while enjoying a range of world-class benefits which can be bundled with discounted ticket packages.”
In line with previous seasons all registered NSW junior rugby players aged 16 and under will be able to attend Waratah’s home matches free of charge.
For more information on Waratahs 2023 memberships click here
Law innovations announced for Queensland Rugby Challenger Series
The Queensland President’s XV and Queensland Reds Development squads have been announced ahead of next month’s Queensland Rugby Challenger Series, along with several law innovations for the two-match competition.
Recently crowned Alec Evans medallist and StoreLocal Hospital Cup premiership winner Connor Anderson will join the Reds Development squad, with fellow Wests standout Cooper Whiteside also part of the Reds outfit.
Sam Wallis and Conor Mitchell (UQ), Joey Fittock (Bond University), Paddy James (Brothers), Phransis Sula-Siaosi (Souths), Conor Chittenden (Norths), Taine Riori and Matt Smit (Easts) will also feature for the Queensland Development team in the two-game series.
Presidents XV head coach Simon Craig has selected a strong 24-man squad, with Wests’ Ethan Dobbins, Latu Talakai and Ben Navosailagi named as a three-pronged contingent from the premiership winners.
GPS stalwart Michael Richards has been named in the backrow, while the likes of Eli Pilz (Easts), Tyler Campbell (Bond University), Brad Twidale (UQ), Tom Lucas (Sunnybank) and Tayler Adams (Brothers) will also have the opportunity to test themselves at the next level.
Craig said: “We’re excited about the group we’ve put together.
“All have earned their opportunity with their performances in club Rugby, and we’re looking forward to seeing them come together as a group.
“It’s a great initiative by the QRU to provide these players the opportunity to take the next step in the Queensland Rugby pathway.”
28 of the 50 players selected (56%) have Queensland country roots, including Kye Oates (Darling Downs), Lucas (Central Queensland), Pat Morrey (Far North Queensland), Louis Werchon (Sunshine Coast) and Joey Fittock (Gold Coast).
A number of law innovations for the series have also been confirmed by World Rugby to speed up the game and increase ball-in-play time.
Changes to how the set-piece and ruck is time-managed and officiated will be trialled, as well as improved clarifications to deliberate knock-downs and advantage laws.
The series will kick off at Sunnybank Rugby Union Club on Sunday 9 October, in what shapes as a festival of Representative Rugby for Queensland fans.
The Queensland U16s and U19s teams will face their New South Wales counterparts in the opening round of the newly announced National Championships, while the Queensland U15s team will go up against the Waratahs after last week’s Buildcorp Emerging Reds Cup.
The following weekend will see Easts Rugby Union Club play host to the second and final game of the Challenger Series, with the squad for Queensland’s Japan Tour announced the week after.
Queensland will play sister-state club Panasonic Saitama Wild Knights in Saitama on Friday 4 November, as well as a non-capped warm-up match against the Kubota Spears the week prior. Both matches will be played at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.
Sunday 9 October – Sunnybank Rugby Club
11.30am – Queensland Reds U15s v New South Wales Waratahs U15s
1.00pm – Queensland Reds U16s v New South Wales Waratahs U16s
2.30pm – Queensland Reds U19s v New South Wales Waratahs U19s
4.00pm – Queensland Reds Development v Queensland President’s XV
Saturday 15 October – Easts Rugby Union Club
3.00pm – Queensland Reds Development Vs Queensland President’s XV
Queensland President’s XV Squad
- Alex Smit – Easts – Far North Queensland
- Connor Pritchard – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Ethan Dobbins – Wests
- Jake Upfield – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Jonte Connolly – Brothers – Caboolture
- JP Tominiko – Easts – Gold Coast
- Latu Talakai – Wests
- Levi Samuela – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Maile Ngauamo – GPS
- Michael Richards – GPS
- Pat Morrey – University of Queensland – Far North Queensland
- Rhys Sheriff – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Zac Shepherd – Easts
- Ben Navosailagi – Wests
- Brad Twidale – University of Queensland – Darling Downs
- Dan Boardman – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Eli Pilz – Easts – Sunshine Coast
- Jordan Carriera – Easts
- Kye Oates – University of Queensland – Darling Downs
- Louis Werchon – Brothers – Sunshine Coast
- Meli Dreu – Easts
- Sam Hyne – Brothers
- Tayler Adams – Brothers
- Tom Lucas – Sunnybank – Central Queensland
- Tyler Campbell – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Queensland Reds Development Squad
- Angus Blyth – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Connor Anderson – Wests
- Conor Mitchell – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast
- Dane Zander – University of Queensland
- George Blake – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Keynan Tauakipulu – Wests
- Matt Faessler – Brothers – Darling Downs
- Phransis Sula-Siaosi – Souths – Gold Coast
- Sam Wallis – University of Queensland
- Sef Fa’agase – University of Queensland – Beaudesert
- Taine Riori – Easts
- Wilson Blyth – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Floyd Aubrey – GPS – Cherbourg
- Conor Chittenden – Norths
- Cooper Whiteside – Wests
- Joey Fittock – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Josh Flook – Brothers
- Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland
- Lawson Creighton – Brothers
- Mac Grealy – University of Queensland – Darling Downs
- Matt Smit – Easts – Far North Queensland
- Paddy James – Brothers
- Spencer Jeans – Bond University – Gold Coast
- Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland
Queensland Rugby Challenger Series Law Innovations
- Five-second ruck (strict compliance from use it call)
- 30-second scrum call from when mark is set
- Penalty kicks (60-seconds)/conversions (90-seconds)
- Lineouts 30-seconds from when mark is set
- 30-seconds to restart after conversion
- Infringement against non-compliant team will result in a tap only option
Eg. No scrum option
- Infringement against non-compliant team will result in a tap only option
- 1st collapse – re-set if no clear sanction
- 2nd collapse – if no clear sanction, free kick to feeding team (tap only)
- Defending scrumhalf can’t go beyond midline of scrum (tap only)
- Only contested throws to lineout can be adjudicated as not straight
- Only players within the lineout formation can join a maul formed at a lineout (penalty kick)
- Focus on tackler not rolling, must make effort to roll immediately towards sideline
Deliberate knock down
- To be refereed as either a ‘deliberate attempt to catch’, or a ‘deliberate attempt to knock down’ which will result in a penalty kick only
- Three phases and then advantage over (territorial and tactical advantage consideration remains at referees’ discretion)
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