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Super Rugby

All Blacks lock in key duo post RWC.

Good news for NZ Rugby.

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Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Bucking the trend of All Blacks heading North post RWC, NZR today announced that 2 players would be remaining on NZ shores post RWC 2019.

Blues & All Black duo., Dalton Papalii and Patrick Tuipulotu comitted their immediate futures to the Super Rugby side and NZR.

21-year-old back-rower Papalii has signed on with the Blues for at 2 seasons, while Blues co-captain and second-rower Tuipulotu has committed for one additional season.

“It’s great news for the Blues and for us that both Paddy and Dalton have re-signed with New Zealand Rugby,” All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said.

“Patrick has been in our environment for several years now and has all the natural attributes required to keep developing into a truly international lock. He has speed and agility for a big man and is strong in his core roles.

“Dalton has shown us all just what kind of impact he has on a game. He brings size to the loose forward role and also a huge work rate to his game, especially on defence and in the breakdown. He has a huge future in our game which is exciting and we congratulate him and Paddy on their commitment to New Zealand Rugby,”

Papalii, debuted for the Blues last season but has already become a key member of the team. He has picked up the Development Player of the Year on 2 occasions and was Rookie of the Year and Club Person of the Year in his debut season.

Papalii was the only uncapped player in the All Blacks squad on last year’s Northern Tour where he picked up 2 caps. Starting in the All Blacks 69-31 win over Japan and then off the bench against Italy in Rome.

“Dalton is a product of our system, part of our development programme and we earmarked him as a future Blues player from a young age,” said Blues general manager performance, Tony Hanks.

“He has played (and captained) our Under-18s and Under-20s, successfully transitioned to the Blues and earned selection to the All Blacks following an outstanding Mitre 10 Cup for Auckland.

“He is not only an outstanding prospect on the field, he is a natural leader off it. He is already developing into a superb professional and we are thrilled he will be with us for a further three years.”

Tuipulotu, 26, has ran out for the All Blacks on 21 occasions since making his debut in 2014. He’s racked up 50 games for the Blues and has taken on the co-captaincy with Blake Gibson.

“Patrick is clearly an immense figure in the game and possesses tremendous speed and skill for such a big man. We think New Zealand is still to see the best of him,” said Hanks.

Super Rugby

Hurricanes Sign Two Scrum-Halves from Rivals

The Hurricanes have confirmed the arrival of not one but two scrum-halves from Super Rugby rival sides

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have announced the signings of scrum-halves Jamie Booth and Jonathan Taumateine ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Both have agreed two-year contracts with the franchise as they look to replace Richard Judd and Finlay Christie, who have left for Japan and the Blues respectively.

Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree is delighted to have both in the squad ahead of next season and believes they will both add quality to the side.

“We’ve seen Jamie continue to develop his game while he has been in Japan and he performed really well under some trying circumstances at times. Jonathan is a player who we think has real potential to develop at a fast pace. He’s a young player who has already shown considerable talent,” he said.

Booth joins from the Sunwolves however, he is no stranger to the Hurricanes set-up having previously been a member of their wider training squad in 2016 and making eight appearances for them in 2018.

The 24-year-old has returned to New Zealand and is currently playing for Manawatu in the Mitre 10 Cup.

Meanwhile Taumateine comes in have previously represented fellow New Zealand based franchise the Chiefs before going on to impress in the Counties Manukau team.

He has also represented both Samoa and New Zealand at U20’s level and at only 22 his rise will surely continue.

Both signings are made all the more impressive by the fact that they have taken them from other Super Rugby franchises meaning they have not only strengthened their team but weakened others.

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Super Rugby

Brumbies Sign Pocock Replacement

The Brumbies are preparing for life after David Pocock and have announced a man they hope can replace him

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Australian Super Rugby side the Brumbies have confirmed the signing of flanker Will Miller from the NSW Waratahs on a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old made his Super Rugby debut in 2017 for the Melbourne Rebels before a switch to the Waratahs and now the Brumbies and is looking forward to joining his new club.

“I’m really excited to get down to Canberra and rip in. The Brumbies have had a spectacular year in 2019 and I look forward to helping build on that moving forward,” he said.

Brumbies loose forward David Pocock confirmed his retirement from Australian Rugby near the end of this years’ Super Rugby season and is currently trying to prove his fitness ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan next month.

His departure was hard on the Canberra side however, head coach Dan McKellar believes that Miller will provide a good fit for the void Pocock has left.

“With the departure of David Pocock, we wanted to bring in a backrower who has an on-ball presence and Will certainly will bring that. He is a very skilful player and a good link between the backs and forwards. He has the ability to play on an edge and he can be very creative in attack. Will has played a lot of rugby over the past few years and he’s played a significant role in the development of his club side Norths, helping them to a Premiership in the Shute Shield in 2016. He’s a good country boy who’s worked hard at club rugby to get his opportunity at Super Rugby level and has proven that he belongs at this level,” he said.

Miller will be hoping to continue his rise at the top level where he has impressed but has been stuck behind the likes of Michael Hooper in the Waratahs line for two years and this could be his chance to show what he’s got.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Highlanders Sign All Blacks Youngster

The Highlanders have confirmed their first signing for the 2020 Super Rugby season

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(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have announced their first signing ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season with All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand U20 star Scott Gregory.

The 20-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the franchise and is so far only one of two confirmed outside backs in the squad for next season along with Josh McKay.

He has been a part of the New Zealand U20 World Championship squad for the past two years and played a vital role in the nations Sevens team during the 2018/19 World Series.

Having debuted for in the Mitre 10 Cup in 2018 for Northland and has become known for his speed and will be a welcome addition to the Highlanders following the mass exodus of players at the end of last season.

Come the end of the season the franchise confirmed that a total of 12 players would be departing them including All Blacks Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock and Jackson Hemopo.

As well as them there is a huge loss of Super Rugby experience in Matt Faddes who is set to join Ulster for the 2019/20 season.

Most of the players are heading overseas in order to receive improved contracts in what is becoming an increasing problem for Southern Hemisphere nations.

The Highlanders finished the 2019 season with a quarter-final loss to eventual winners the Crusaders and with all the departures it is expected that Gregory will be the first of many new faces through the door.

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