Marc Hinton on Teams

Israel Dagg out as All Blacks spring Bledisloe Cup selection shock with Ben Smith

Marc Hinton Steve Hansen has sprung a Bledisloe selection surprise of his own, picking the in-form Ben Smith at fullback and dropping a fully fit Israel Dagg for the first time since he became the first-choice...

Beauden Barrett happy to build on All Blacks' winning feeling from the bench

Beauden Barrett during a training session in Auckland on Tuesday.

Marc Hinton Beauden Barrett has learnt to take nothing for granted in the All Blacks – not even the winning that has been a constant since he made his Test debut in 2012.

Record-chasing All Blacks have an ominous spring in their step

Selection options ... Israel Dagg

Marc Hinton There is a spring in the step of the record-chasing All Blacks as they prepare for a Bledisloe Cup opener of monumental proportions – a situation assistant coach Ian Foster takes as a very good...

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Ewen McKenzie refuses to bite over Steve Hansen's comments on Kurtley Beale

In the spotlight: Kurtley Beale.

Marc Hinton and Rupert Guinness Ewen McKenzie has poured cold water on provocative comments from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen questioning his rival's selection of Kurtley Beale at five-eighth for the opening Bledisloe Cup Test.

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Ma’a Nonu and Jerome Kaino set to miss Bledisloe II

Nonu

Marc Hinton The All Blacks look set to be without two of their senior, and most physical, players for what they’re hoping will be a bounce-back Bledisloe performance at Eden Park on Saturday night.

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Aaron Cruden growing into his skin for All Blacks

Ready to shine: Aaron Cruden.

Marc Hinton It’s water off a duck’s back for Aaron Cruden now. Dan goes down, he steps up and history suggests the All Blacks don’t miss a beat.

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Rugby

Matt Todd misses out as All Blacks welcome back Carter

Back in black: Dan Carter has been named in a 31-man New Zealand squad for the Rugby Championship.

Marc Hinton Dan Carter is back, as is Charles Piutau, but it is the selection of Sam Cane ahead of unlucky Crusader Matt Todd that might be considered the chief talking point of Steven Hansen's Rugby...

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Rugby

All Blacks to Samoa a dream come true for Williams

On the run: Richie McCaw during the recent series against England.

Marc Hinton Rugby great Bryan Williams has lauded the long overdue decision to take the All Blacks to Samoa for an historic test in Apia which now seems likely to happen in July next year.

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New Zealand All Blacks scrape past England in First Test

Clash of the Titans: Ma'a Nonu tackles England's Marland Yarde.

Marc Hinton A scratchy All Blacks side have survived a scare to down England 20-15 in Auckland in the opening match of their three-Test rugby series.

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Why Australia may be the saviour of SANZAR

Bill Pulver.

Marc Hinton With the southern hemisphere alliance facing increased pressure to gain a bigger slice of the broadcasting pie, it's worth asking what Australian rugby brings to the table.

Five newcomers named in All Blacks training squad

Marc Hinton As expected, multi-faceted Blues second-rowforward Patrick Tuipulotu and powerhouse Highlanders midfielder Malakai Fekitoa have been rewarded for standout rookie Super Rugby campaigns with promotion...

Rugby

Benji Marshall grapples with his union re-education

Benji Marshall

Marc Hinton As Benji Marshall saunters out from the Blues' team room at their training headquarters, his easygoing disposition betrays an inner turmoil that does not take long to bubble to the surface.

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Rugby

Unheralded Highlanders too strong for battling Blues

 Ben Smith

Marc Hinton Who needs those Flash Harrys from the North Island on New Zealand? Not the Highlanders it would seem, as Jamie Joseph's unheralded southerners made a dream start to the new Super Rugby season on...

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Francis Saili ready for All Blacks debut

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Marc Hinton It's been a managed apprenticeship, but the All Blacks finally believe talented North Harbour and Blues youngster Francis Saili is ready to be thrown in at the deep end of Test rugby.

Rugby

Off-colour All Blacks put away Pumas

Israel Dagg

Marc Hinton The All Blacks remain undefeated this year, but at what cost? Their captain looks in major doubt to face the Springboks on Saturday in Auckland, with Richie McCaw just one of several New Zealanders...

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All Blacks drop Cory Jane for England Test

Cory Jane.

Marc Hinton It was a no-brainer for Steve Hansen to pick Dan Carter to brings up his ton against the Poms at Twickenham, and almost as easy for him to restore Julian Savea to the left wing and give Cory Jane a...

Rugby

Smith erases black mark in style

Israel Dagg.

Marc Hinton FROM the doghouse to the penthouse, Aaron Smith ended his Test match week significantly better than the way he started it.

Coach welcomes week off after opening loss

Jamie Joseph

Marc Hinton IT SOUNDS bizarre, but Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph is glad he's got a bye just one week into the new Super Rugby season to address a growing list of issues that confront him.

Blues blow away Hurricanes in biggest shock so far

Blues

Marc Hinton JOHN KIRWAN promised Blues fans something to be proud of, and promptly delivered in Wellington on Saturday night as his men posted the first big upset of the Super Rugby season.

Battle-scarred Braid leads rejuvenated Blues' charge

Luke Braid.

Marc Hinton The battered grille betrays the fact the preceding two victories have not been quite the cakewalks some have portrayed them as.