Super Rugby Round 1 Picks: Two local derbies and a long flight to South Africa for the Hurricanes kicks off the 2018 season

It's a new Super Rugby season which means it's a new picks season! Will the Crusaders and Sav defend their respective titles or will someone come out of the blue and knock them over? Either way, we're in for another wild year!

How it works: TVNZ sports buffs will chip in their picks for matches involving New Zealand sides each round with some adding a little insight into their thinking. A correct result will give them two points and a correct margin a bonus point!

Round 1
Highlanders v Blues
Crusaders v Chiefs
Bulls v Hurricanes

Matt Hall-Smith - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 13+ - "Chiefs often pose a tricky encounter for the Crusaders, but given the Hamilton franchise has lost a wealth of experience, it could be a tough first outing for McKenzie at No.10."
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Guy Heveldt - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 1-12
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Brodyn Knuckey - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Highlanders v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Everyone is sleeping on the Blues but I'm backing an upset in Dunners. Bryn Gatland loves stepping into this sort of pressure and he has a phenominal backline around him to work with."
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 13+
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Faleatua Malili - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Highlanders v Blues: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

John McKenzie - 1 NEWS Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 13+
Crusaders v Chiefs: Chiefs 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Michelle Prendiville - 1 NEWS Sport Producer

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 13+
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 13+
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Josh Reich - 1 NEWS NOW Homepage Editor

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 13+
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Tamati Rimene-Sproat - Te Karere Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 1-12
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+ - "Hardest start to the season for the 'Canes (in terms of travel – not opposition) but I bleed black and yellow so my $$$ on them to go long. Go good my 'Canes, go good!"

Andrew Saville - 1 NEWS Sport Presenter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 1-12 - "It's hard to pick against the home team, indoors, with their typical abrasive pack - but don't write off the Blues backs. However, they'll need to get the ball first."
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Stephen Stuart - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 13+
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 1-12 - "Crusaders will have to improve to on their pre-season form to put away the Chiefs (who have a good record against them!) but master coach Dave Rennie isn't around any more."
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Victor Waters - Breakfast Sport Producer

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 1-12
Crusaders v Chiefs: Crusaders 13+
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

Abby Wilson - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Blues: Highlanders 13+
Crusaders v Chiefs: Chiefs 1-12
Bulls v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+

SCOREBOARD: Hall-Smith 0, Heveldt 0, Knuckey 0, Malili 0, Manukia 0, McKenzie 0, Prendiville 0, Reich 0, Rimene-Sproat 0, Saville 0, Stuart 0, Waters 0, Wilson 0

Andrew Saville and Stephen Stuart are back for another year to break down the weekly Super Rugby match-ups for Kiwi sides. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics



'Mum and dad will be stoked' - Ioane brothers thrilled to re-sign with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has hailed the influence of older brother Akira, as the pair today recommitted to New Zealand Rugby for another four years.

Rieko, 21, and Akira, 23, both put pen to paper on new deals, deciding to remain within New Zealand for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to media at Auckland Airport, Rieko spoke about the pair's decisions to stay at home in New Zealand.

"We've been lucky enough to play together for so long," he said.

"I'm pretty happy that both Aki and I are staying around home for a bit longer.

"I'm sure mum and dad will be stoked as well."

Both Rieko and Akira Ioane have penned new deals to stay in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS


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TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

'He's only just beginning' – Steve Hansen gushes over Rieko Ioane's new deal

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that there's more to come from star winger Rieko Ioane, as the youngster put pen to paper on a new deal with New Zealand Rugby.

Since making his debut at the end of 2016, Ioane, 21, has been a standout for the All Blacks, displacing Julian Savea as the first-choice in the number 11 jersey.

Speaking to media ahead of his side's departure to Argentina, Hansen spoke of his delight at Ioane's commitment to the All Blacks.

"He's a special player and he's only at the beginning of his career," Hansen began.

"What he's done so far, with maturity and greater game understanding is just going to get better and better.

"He's only just beginning."

The winger has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby for another four years. Source: 1 NEWS


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TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Rieko Ioane on rejecting huge overseas deals to stay in NZ: 'The Black jersey is enough for me'

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has spoken about rejecting lucrative overseas deals to remain in New Zealand, recommitting to NZR with a new four-year deal.

Ioane, 21, and brother Akira signed on the dotted line to remain in New Zealand for the next four years, fronting media at Auckland Airport to explain his decision.

"I want to establish myself in New Zealand," he began.

"The black jersey is enough for me, and is enough to keep me here.

"Rugby is what I love playing, and to play in the best team in the world is motivating enough for me, overseas didn't come into the picture."

The All Blacks star penned a new four-year NZR deal this morning. Source: 1 NEWS


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Kieran Read out, Vaea Fifita recalled for All Blacks' trip to Argentina

All Blacks captain Kieran Read will miss his side's Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Buenos Aires, with Wellington flanker Vaea Fifita called in as a replacement.

Read, 32, will be sent straight to South Africa, missing the All Blacks' Argentinian leg of their Rugby Championship campaign, coach Steve Hansen confirmed to media at Auckland Airport today.

"The original plan was always to make sure we don't have him sitting in a plane too long," Hansen began.

"When you go to Argentina then to South Africa, short turnaround, and not a great ride from Argentina to South Africa.

"The smart play is to leave him at home and send him straight to Africa."

Read's absence sees Vaea Fifita return to the side, having originally been overlooked for the All Blacks' Rugby Championship campaign, with the Wellington flanker controversially stating that he didn't understand why he'd been dropped.

"He's always been on our mind," Hansen said of Fifita.

"We've given him the task of going and playing some Mitre 10 Cup, he's done that.

"With Reado not coming we need a replacement, he's the obvious man."

The All Blacks' newest weapon sat out of practice with a sore shoulder today. Source: 1 NEWS


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