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Blues tie down 7 players.

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Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Seven Blues players, with 218 Super caps between them, will extend their stay at the Auckland Blues.

The ‘Super Seven’ comprise James Parsons, TJ Faiane, Sione Mafileo, Otere Black, Tom Robinson and Stephen Perofeta, who will continue at the Blues until 2021, while young star Caleb Clarke has signed until 2022.

“This is a core group of key players who are an important cog to the Blues wheel both on and off the field,” said Tony Hanks, Blues General Manager High Performance.

“Five of them are players that are born and bred in our region and have come through our system at the Blues. They have been committed to our Blues family since they were age group players and aspired to be part of a successful Blues club. “

“With the retention of top players always challenging in New Zealand, the commitment of this core group, along with the recent extensions of Patrick Tuipulotu and Dalton Papalii, is a significant statement to the commitment, motivation and ambition of our current group, both this year and in the seasons to come,” said Hanks.

Parsons, who has played 98 games for the Blues, was keen to continue his long and storied career with the club.

“He is getter better with experience and his form and leadership make him an important player to re-sign when players of his age are departing New Zealand. Retaining experience is critical to our development and James is a thorough professional who is a real role model for our game,” said forwards coach Tom Coventry.

His fellow Harbour front rower, Mafileo has played 40 times for the Blues and started five times this year.

“After a strong apprenticeship, Sione is now delivering at a high standard game-in game-out and has become a regular starter amongst an excellent group of props. The best is still ahead of him,” said Coventry.

Faiane, who was sidelined for the first two years of his professional carer with injury, captained Auckland to its Mitre-10 Cup success and has carried on that outstanding form to date this season.

“TJ has taken his game to a new level in Investec Super Rugby, and is working well alongside Ma’a and Sonny in the midfield. His work ethic in training is excellent and he is a key leader in our club,” said coach Leon MacDonald.

Robinson has been one of the new starts this season, who like Faiane has had two seasons thwarted by injury before producing standout form for Northland to earn his Super opportunity.

“Tom has been part of the Blues development and has taken his chances a non-stop aggressive approach whether it be at training or in games. His attitude is outstanding and we are thrilled he will be staying with us,” said Coventry.

Black and Perofeta, talented young first-fives, have both signed to stay at the club and both have had to overcome long term injuries. Black, who missed last Super season, has been an influential guiding light in the team this year, while Perofeta, who impressed last year, will miss much of this season with a pec muscle injury.

“Otere is a calm and decisive head on young shoulders who is steering us around the park with maturity beyond his years while Stephen remains an important part of our squad and we look forward to having him back on the playing roster. It is really encouraging with two players of real talent who play in the same position deciding to continue on with our club,” said MacDonald.

Clarke, who has just turned 20, has already shown he has a massive future in Super Rugby. After a transition year with the All Black Sevens, New Zealand U20s and Mitre-10 Cup, Clarke starred in pre-season before a serious knee injury. He returned with an impressive performance and try against the Waratahs.

“Caleb is a product of our development pathway and while he is still just 20, he has immense talent and is a tremendous and humble young man who is a real contributor to our club,” said MacDonald.

“Overall while our focus is firmly fixed on the second half of the season, it is great to know we have a significant core group of players staying with us for the next two years at least.”

Press Release from Auckland Blues


Super Rugby

Rebels Announce Long-term Partnership With New Kit Provider

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The Melbourne Rebels are delighted to announce a long-term partnership with sporting apparel brand, Dynasty Sport.

Dynasty will be the club’s new on-field and off-field apparel partner from 2023, supplying the Super Rugby and Super W teams as well as retail apparel available via the new Rebels Store.

Dynasty Sport is known for creating world-class, ethically, and sustainably produced apparel.

Their technologically advanced fabric is made from ethically sourced recycled plastic bottles. Each jersey is made from 38 plastic bottles, giving a second life to single-use plastic.

“At any one time, the 15 Melbourne Rebels players on the field will have 870 recycled plastic bottles in their playing apparel which means more than 1,300 bottles for a 23-man game day squad” Dynasty Co-Founder, Tyler Rakich explained.

The Rebels join a host of Australia’s premier sporting teams in partnering with Dynasty, including several NRL and Super Rugby clubs. Melbourne Rebels players, members, and fans are set to boast a new standard of quality apparel.

As the Rebels welcome a host of new players this off-season and with the emergence of young talent including Glen Vaihu, Carter Gordon, Josh Canham, Daniel Maiava, and Lukas Ripley, this new partnership aligns perfectly with the Club’s exciting future.

“Dynasty is a brand known across the Pacific for its excellence in apparel and we’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with them,” Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.

“We want to be known for having an exciting brand and being a progressive Club that is sustainable and environmentally conscious. Dynasty aligns perfectly with those values.”Tyler and Dynasty have been amazing to work with so far, and we can’t wait for our members and fans to see the exciting new range of merchandise very shortly.”

Rakich said the partnership with the Melbourne Rebels was a perfect marriage of organisational values.

“It’s great to work with an organisation that have a focus on sustainability but also appreciate the value of a well-designed and high-quality apparel range for both the players and fans. It’s hugely exciting for everyone at Dynasty Sport. I would like to thank Baden Stephenson and the Rebels board for their trust and work aligning our two brands for an exciting partnership.”

Our 2023 merchandise range is set to be unveiled in December, with an exclusive member pre-sale from melbournerebels.shop via the new Rebels Store.

Content & Images from – Melbourne Rebels Rugby


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Queensland Reds return to Townsville for two historic matches in 2023

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For the first time in Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) history, the Queensland Reds will play two games in Townsville next year as the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific draw was officially announced today.

As part of the QRU’s long-term investment in North Queensland, the Reds will return to Townsville not once, but twice as Queensland Rugby celebrates its 140-year anniversary in 2023.

The Reds will kick-off their season against Kiwi powerhouse the Hurricanes at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on 25 February, before taking on traditional rivals New South Wales in Round 11 at the same venue on 6 May.

After last year’s Trans-Tasman clash against the Chiefs in Townsville, the two historic fixtures will continue Queensland’s strong connection with regional communities following the successful Reds to Regions tours across the state in what shapes as a not-to-be-missed opportunity for regional Rugby fans.

South-East Queensland supporters won’t feel left out either with five blockbusters at Suncorp Stadium including home games against both of last season’s Grand Finalists – the Crusaders and Blues, another classic cauldron grudge-match against the Brumbies, plus entertaining encounters with the Force and Fijian Drua.

QRU CEO David Hanham said: “North Queensland is a critical market for Rugby and Townsville is key to the QRU’s long-term strategy for the region.

“These two matches will provide the QRU and our regional communities further opportunity to connect following the successful Reds to Regions visits across the state as we once again bring Rugby to North Queensland.

“North Queensland has been an essential part of Rugby’s history and it was important for us to recognise this with Reds games being played across all of Queensland next year as Queensland Rugby celebrates its 140-year anniversary.

“To have Reds matches in both northern and southern Queensland next year is a great result for Rugby fans across the state and I’d like to thank the Palaszczuk Government, Townsville City Council, Townsville Enterprise Limited, Stadiums Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland for their support to ensure these two matches could take place.

“We were unable to play at Suncorp Stadium in Round 1 due to a double-booking with a concert on at the stadium. We worked collaboratively with SANZAAR and Rugby Australia to look at options around the draw, but it couldn’t be changed, and so we felt it was a good opportunity to take a second game to Townsville.

“We’ve got five quality home matches at Suncorp Stadium including games against the Blues and Crusaders who finished top of the table last season. We’ve got another match against the Brumbies who we’ve created a great rivalry with, plus exciting clashes against the Fijian Drua and Force which all makes for a great draw next year,” said Hanham.

Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the return of great Rugby to Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

“We built a world-class, state-of-the-art stadium in Townsville to bring more national and international sporting events to North Queensland,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“There’s pent-up demand for elite Rugby in the North with a growing Reds supporter base and a huge appetite for international and Trans-Tasman games.

“We know when Rugby is live in Townsville, fans from Queensland and interstate will follow and contribute millions of dollars to the region’s visitor economy.

“Our green and gold runway to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is primed to deliver two golden decades of opportunity for more first-class Rugby content in the North.”

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said: “The Reds return to Townsville for matches against the Wellington Hurricanes and New South Wales Waratahs demonstrates once again Townsville’s reputation as an elite sporting capital.

“To lock in the opening match of the international season, as well as the always highly-anticipated Reds versus Waratahs game, will not only see our city beamed into the homes of tens of thousands of viewers from across Australia and internationally, but at a local level will provide our rugby-loving North Queensland community the chance to engage directly with some of their sporting heroes.”

Townsville Enterprise Director – Visitor Economy & Marketing Lisa Woolfe said: “We acknowledge the work of our local and state governments in securing another world-class event for Townsville and North Queensland.

“This is another coup for our Queensland Country Bank Stadium which time and time again has proven it can be a strong economic driver for our city and showcases our region as the events and sporting capital of Northern Australia.

“Based on hosting previous Queensland Reds and Rugby Union games in Townsville, we estimate the economic impact will be at least $2M to the region and will showcase our destination to millions, putting us top of mind for future visitors.”

In addition to the two matches in Townsville, Queensland will play a historic match in Samoa as Moana Pasifika take their Round 8 home match to Apia while the Reds will also play the Drua in Fiji for the first time in the final round of the competition.

Sunday afternoon Rugby also returns to Suncorp Stadium for the first time in four years as Queensland host the Fijian Drua in their opening match at the cauldron in Round 4.

The match will be one-of-two Sunday afternoon games for the Reds with seven Friday night matches and five Saturday games in 2023.

As previously announced, Super Round is back at AAMI Park in Melbourne where all 12 teams will once again gather for a high-stakes festival of Rugby as Queensland battles the Western Force in Round 2.

The 2023 draw will see all 12 teams play 14 matches during a 15-week regular season including 11 round-robin fixtures plus three additional rivalry matches, as well as a three-week eight-team Finals Series with all 91 matches live and exclusive on Stan Sport.

For the first time Queensland Rugby will offer a unique membership for the two games in Townsville allowing North Queenslanders the chance to get even more involved with the Reds.

Visit reds.rugby for more details on 2023 Reds Memberships at both Suncorp Stadium and Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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ACT Brumbies sign Sevens flyer Corey Toole

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The ACT Brumbies have confirmed the signing of Sevens superstar Corey Toole on a two-year deal.

Toole is coming off one of the best debut seasons in Sevens history, winning the Impact Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and selection in the Team of the Year.

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The Gungahlin outside back has come through the ACT pathways, representing the Brumbies at Schools, Under 19s and Runners level.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and excited to be joining the club’s Super Rugby squad full-time,” Toole said in a statement.

“These last 12 months or so have been life-changing for me and to have earned this crack at a club that I’ve wanted to represent for a long-time is surreal and my job now is just to repay that faith and to continue to earn it every day at training.

“Obviously representing Australia in Sevens has been a massive honour and my focus now is transitioning back into 15s and having a good preseason.”

Toole joins fellow Sevens star Ben O’Donnell and Jack Debreczeni in signing with the club over the past week, set to pull on the jersey on Saturday against a Waratahs development team.

Coach Stephen Larkham was thrilled to have Toole sign on as a full-time member, excited to unleash his blistering speed.

“Corey is a really exciting addition to our group,” he added.

“He’s made a name for himself in Sevens this year, but those in ACT rugby have been aware of his ability for some time and we believe he has all the tools to play Super Rugby.

“Corey’s one of our own, from our region in Wagga Wagga and I’ve no doubt he’ll be proud to represent the club and the ACT at the top level if and when he earns his chance.”

Content & Images from – Brumbies Rugby


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