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The Front Row: Global league scrapped, Baby Blacks bomb and Sarah Hirini's legend status

With the World Cup just three months away and rugby season in full swing, drama and intrigue surrounding our national game continues to grow. 

Every Thursday, TVNZ's new rugby show The Front Row looks at all the rugby news and story lines.

This week host Kimberlee Downs was joined by 1 NEWS Sports presenters Andrew Saville and Scotty Stevenson.

The trio had plenty to talk about but started things off with recent news - World Rugby's attempts at a new global competition being abandoned, something which didn't surprise Stevenson in the slightest.

"The fact is, none of the teams in the north wanted promotion and relegation - especially the likes of Italy and Scotland," Stevenson said.

"They were very concerned about being relegated out of their Six Nations championship."

Another concern which is closer to home is the Baby Blacks - New Zealand's under-20s rugby side - after their disastrous campaign at the World Cup saw them finish well outside the top four. 

Downs asked whether it was time for New Zealand Rugby to panic about the team and future talent but Stevenson said it should be an eye-opener instead.

"What I think we're starting to see is the All Blacks style of play is being forced on these kids.

"New Zealand tried to play flat, on the line, shovel the ball rugby the same way the All Blacks try to beat the rush defence and they did not have the skill to do it."

Also discussed this week was the Black Ferns Sevens and their fearless leader Sarah Hirini who Saville said is a "real, genuine person", and key to the team's success.

"Given she's been there in this new age and era of women's rugby, I wouldn't call her a pioneer like the early players of Anna Richards but to lead them into that now-pro era, she's been right at the forefront."

The team also discussed this week's Super Rugby quarter-final action, Michael Cheika's poaching tactics and Saville even made a bold call over a future All Black who will star at the 2023 World Cup.

* The Front Row is available on 1 NEWS Now, Facebook and Youtube and as a podcast in all the usual places. It also airs on TVNZ's Duke channel.

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Kimberlee Downs is joined by Andrew Saville and Scotty Stevenson to talk all things footy in TVNZ’s new rugby show. Source: 1 NEWS


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