Super Rugby

Rebels won't use exhausting start as excuse

Roy Ward   Melbourne Rebels will travel far and wide to start the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Super Rugby crisis looms as Japan struggles with expansion franchise

"People assumed that as I had been named the director of the new Super Rugby side I would stay on": Eddie Jones.

Super Rugby's 2016 expansion is under threat because of Japan's slow progress in recruiting players and a coach for a competitive team.

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Super Rugby final shows why south is best

Paul Cully

Paul Cully   Toulon? Both of the Hurricanes and Highlanders would have the European champions chasing shadows.

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Super-duper Rugby final spectacle awaits

Highlanders captain Nasi Manu and his Hurricanes counterpart Conrad Smith pose with the Super 15 trophy in Wellington on Friday.

Daniel Gilhooly   The weather, the rosters and the pre-match banter all point to the same thing. The 20th Super Rugby final between the Hurricanes and Highlanders will be a spectacle worthy of a season in which attacking rugby has held sway.

Nasi Manu, the one-eyed Highlanders captain

Nasi Manu speaks to the media on Friday.

Richard Knowler   A bung eye won't knock inspirational Highlanders No.8 Nasi Manu out of the Super Rugby final.

When is the Super Rugby final and how can I watch?

Dane Coles is one of several All Blacks in the star-studded Hurricanes side.

Who is playing? The 2015 Super Rugby Final will be played between two New Zealand sides in the Hurricanes and the Highlanders

Low-profile packs key in Super Rugby final

Highlanders' captain Ben Smith is tackled by Waratahs' centre Adam Ashley-Cooper as Malakai Fekitoa of the Highlanders looms in support during the semi-final in Sydney.

They boast backlines to envy but the Hurricanes and Highlanders both reckon their less-heralded forward packs hold the key to victory in the Super Rugby final.

Tahs' weak point also a Wallabies problem

Paul Cully

Paul Cully   With the World Cup on the horizon, England would have been encouraged by aspects of the Australian sides' loss to their Kiwi opponents.

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Live: Super Rugby semi-final: Brumbies v Hurricanes in Wellington

Brumbies winger Joe Tomane will be a player to watch in Saturday night's semi-final against the Hurricanes.

Lee Gaskin   Join our live blog of the first Super Rugby semi-final between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes at Wellington's Westpac Stadium from 5.30pm (AEST).

Chiefs lose Messam and SBW to sevens

Liam Messam, left, and Sonny Bill Williams will be a big loss to the Chiefs next season.

The Chiefs are set to lose All Blacks stars Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams to sevens next season which, in addition to a cleanout of outside backs and locks, has left a gaping hole to fill in the franchise's 2016 Super Rugby roster.

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Highlanders beat Chiefs to book semi spot

On the rampage: Waisake Naholo of the Highlanders.

Winger Waisake Naholo has continued his outstanding as the Highlanders downed the Chiefs in a breathtaking encounter.

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Kirwan resigns as Blues coach

Exit: Blues head coach John Kirwan.

Sir John Kirwan has resigned as coach of the Blues' Super Rugby team after overseeing their worst-ever season.

Waratahs' Brendan McKibbin puts hand up for Scots

Brendan McKibbin scores a try over for the Waratahs on the weekend.

Adrian Warren   Departing NSW Waratahs halfback Brendan McKibbin has indicated he would accept any opportunity to play Test rugby for Scotland, the land of his birth.

Stormers use old tactic in hunt for crown

Rested: barnstorming lock Duane Vermeulen.

Georgina Robinson   While Australian eyes are diverted by the Waratahs and Brumbies, and the table-topping Hurricanes bask in the glow of outright favouritism, the Stormers are cooking up something clever in Cape Town.

Beale injury threatens Waratahs' shot at history

Injured pair: Kurtley Beale (L) pulled out of Saturday's match against the Reds just before kick-off, while James O'Connor hobbled off in the first half.

Georgina Robinson   The Waratahs are sitting pretty having secured a week off and a home semi-final. Only a leg injury to key playmaker Kurtley Beale threatens to derail their shot at making Australian rugby history.

Ludeke steps down after Cheetahs batter Bulls

Frans Ludeke has stepped down with a year to run on his contract.

Frans Ludeke stepped down as coach of the Bulls immediately after they finished a disappointing season with a 42-29 home defeat against the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby competition at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Highlanders storm into playoffs with Blues rout

Try scorer: Patrick Osborne of the Highlanders makes a break in Auckland.

The Highlanders will head into the Super Rugby playoffs with confidence after trouncing the lowly Blues 44-7 on a soggy night at Eden Park.

Gill to stick with Reds for one more year

Liam Gill of the Reds.

Beth Newman   There's still a Quade Cooper sized hole in their contract book but the Reds had a major boost on Friday with in-form flanker Liam Gill signing on until the end of 2016.

Gill re-signs with Reds for 2016 season

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Liam Gill of the Reds breaks away from the defence during the round 15 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on May 22, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Emma Kemp   Queensland can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge Liam Gill will stay with the Reds until the end of next season, after the talented openside flanker signed a one-year contract extension.