All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs four year deal with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has signed a new four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby today.

The 21-year-old was named World Rugby's breakout player of the year in 2017 and has been outstanding for the national side since making his debut in 2016.

Brother Akira also signed a new three-year deal with NZ Rugby.

Rieko has scored 18 tries in 18 Tests, including a double against South Africa in Wellington last week in the All Blacks' 36-34 loss.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was "fantastic news for New Zealand Rugby. Rieko is a young player with undoubted talent who has already achieved wonderful things on the international stage."

Rieko said he felt "incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years." He said playing at a World Cup was "a huge motivator for me."

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said last month that Rieko is key player for the future.

"He's a vital component of our plan going forward," said Foster.

"I can't speak highly enough about him. He came in with a bit of a swagger and he has learned about the All Blacks.

"What I like is he has got real maturity about him, he hasn't got ahead of himself, and he quietly goes about his work."

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The new deal will see Rieko stay in New Zealand until the end of 2022 with Akira signed until the end of 2021.

"He's learning how to prepare better and better every test match, and when he goes out and plays he seems to enjoy doing what he's done since he was a kid. As long as we can keep him in that mode it's really exciting."

Rieko Ioane scores his second try.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa Springboks. Rugby Championship test match. Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Saturday 15 September 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga /
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scores his second try against the Springboks. Source: Photosport



Sam Cane's neck operation a success, as All Blacks star prepares to return home

All Blacks flanker Sam Cane has undergone a successful surgery in South Africa, having fractured a bone in his neck in last weekend's win over South Africa.

Cane, 26, came off early in his side's 32-30 win, where it was revealed that he'd suffered the fracture. He's expected to be out for the rest of the 2018 season.

In a post on Instagram, the All Blacks revealed that surgery had gone to plan, and that Cane was in good spirits ahead of his return to New Zealand.

Sam Cane is injured. Investec Rugby Championship, All Blacks vs Australia, Rugby Union Test Match Eden Park, Auckland. 25 August 2018. Copyright Image: Renee McKay /
Sam Cane. Source: Photosport

"All Blacks loose forward @samcane7 is up and about after his successful operation in South Africa and wants to pass on his thanks for all the support he has received from everyone in New Zealand and around the world," the All Blacks posted.

"All Blacks Doctor Tony Page says Cane's operation has been a success and he'll be flying home sometime over the next few days. He will spend the next six weeks in a neck brace as part of the first steps to making a full recovery.

"Thank you everyone for your get well messages."

Sam Cane after neck surgery in South Africa
Sam Cane after neck surgery in South Africa Source: Instagram/All Blacks



Private consortium's plan to fund new national stadium on Auckland's waterfront

A plan for a new national stadium on the Auckland waterfront has been devised by a consortium, who plan to fund its construction.

The latest plan, revealed by Newsroom, would involve the stadium being partly sunken into the reclaimed land at Bledisloe Wharf, land which is part of the Council-owned Ports of Auckland Lt.

The cost is likely to be in the hundreds of millions, with consultants PwC putting the price of a stadium at $1.5 billion in May.

The plan was reportedly put to officials and public agencies provided they sign non-disclosure agreements.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told Newsroom yesterday that he was aware of the plan but would not answer whether he was sworn to secrecy over further details.

"Council is not in the position to finance a stadium through ratepayer funding and it is not on our current list of priorities, we are however open to considering a national stadium being funded from the private sector."

Waitemata ward councillor Mike Lee was not aware of the plan and blasted the secrecy of it.

"Mr Goff needs to remember there is no such thing as a free lunch - let alone a free sports stadium," he told Newsroom.

The report from PWC in May cost nearly $1 million and failed to determine the feasibility of a downtown stadium.

The report examined the initial possibility of building a rectangular football-sized stadium, with an estimated capacity of around 30,000 seats but able to expand to up to 50,000.

Auckland city center aerial view, New Zealand
The stadium would be partly sunken into Bledisloe Wharf. Source:


European rugby writer lays boot into Julian Savea as Toulon slump worsens

Former All Blacks wing Julian Savea's form slump has followed him to France, finding himself on the bench for new club Toulon as they struggle in the Top 14.

Savea, 28, left New Zealand for the cash rich French giants at the end of this year's Super Rugby competition, however he has struggled since becoming the latest addition to the star-studded Toulon backline, failing to cross over for a single try so far this season.

His on-field woes have been compounded, with Savea finding himself on the bench for Toulon's 29-17 defeat to Montpellier last weekend, their fifth loss in their past seven games, currently sitting 12th in the Top 14 standings.

Writing for the Times, European rugby correspondent Owen Slot singled out Savea, also hitting out at the social media antics of wife, Fatima.

"His short term of duty has become best known for the Twitter account of his wife, who has watched her husband's new team and offered such observations as: 'I swear this team doesn't know how to pass' and 'rugby on this side of the world is very behind. I feel Julian's pain out there on the field'," Slot says.

"Players such as Savea and (Malakai) Fekitoa do not just lose the competitive hunger.

"That is why, in the post-Jonny Wilkinson years, there have still been special days when Toulon have risen up and they will continue to do so, almost as a reminder of their individual class. These are still great players who love playing together."

The behaviour of Savea's wife also drew comment - or lack thereof - from Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal, saying: ""I'm not saying anything bad about Madame Savea, because you've seen how her husband is built."

Toulon currently find themselves 16 points behind Top 14 leaders Clermont.

Savea was quick to shut down suggestions he could've rekindled his All Blacks career elsewhere from the Hurricanes.
Julian Savea Source: Photosport


All Blacks front row trio firming for Mitre 10 Cup injury returns

The All Blacks will welcome the return to action of three key players, with front rowers Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody all vying to make their comebacks from injury in this weekend's Mitre 10 Cup action.

Coles, 31, hasn't played since last year's All Blacks end of year tour after a knee injury, but has been a part of the All Blacks' squad during this year's Rugby Championship.

The dynamic hooker should find himself back on the field this weekend, expected to be on the bench in Wellington's clash with Taranaki on Friday in New Plymouth.

Meanwhile, Moody and Laulala will square off against one another when Canterbury visit Counties Manukau on Saturday.

Moody, 30, has been out of action since breaking his thumb against the Wallabies at Eden Park in August, while Laulala has been sidelined with a broken forearm since the beginning of March.

Steve Hansen says the hooker isn't far from a return to the pitch. Source: 1 NEWS