Watch: What the? Akira Ioane, Vaea Fifita take part in bizarre All Blacks core workout

All Blacks flankers Vaea Fifita and Akira Ioane took part in a head-scratcher of an exercise during the team's gym session this morning, in preparation for this week's Test against Wales in Cardiff.

The forwards are looking in fine shape ahead of this week's Test against Wales. Source: 1 NEWS

The All Blacks' youngster still hit the gym this morning, after being ruled out of facing Wales. Source: 1 NEWS

The pair put their outstretched heads onto a bench, resting their bodyweight solely on their necks to give their cores a workout.

Who knows what the back-row duo are up to here. Source: 1 NEWS



Auckland dominate rivals North Harbour to claim Battle of the Bridge, seal home Mitre 10 Cup semi-final

Auckland have stormed to victory in the Battle of the Bridge against crosstown rivals North Harbour to secure a home semi-final in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership with a 45-29 win.

Harbour hit the front early on, with Lua Li scoring after just 10 minutes, before tries to Jonathan Ruru and TJ Faiane gave Auckland the lead.

From there, the hosts were ruthless, as Faiane grabbed his second before the break, before second half efforts to Robbie Abel, Jordan Trainor and Salesi Rayasi had Harbour reeling.

Late tries to Harrison Groundwater and Tony Tu'ungafasi served as nothing more than consolations for Harbour, as Rayasi added his second of the afternoon to steer Auckland to an emphatic 45-29 victory.

The win sees Auckland leapfrog Tasman, finishing top of the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership table.



Watch: Canterbury forwards claim match-winner after scrum obliterates Counties pack for penalty try

Canterbury earned a tough win over Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup last night but they were made to work for it.

The Cantabrians claimed a 19-14 win in Pukekohe thanks to a penalty try in the second half, made possible by their forward pack who decimated their opposites in the scrum near the Steelers' line.

It was the sixth loss by seven points or less for Counties Manukau this season.

However, the defending champs will be kicking themselves after they failed to secure a bonus point, meaning they still sit behind second-placed Auckland in the standings despite the latter having a game in hand.

It means Canterbury will be on the road for playoffs with a trip to Nelson or Eden Park most likely.



Watch the jubilant moment Otago lift the Ranfurly Shield from Waikato

Otago came out of the blocks in lightning fashion to take a 17-0 lead in Hamilton this afternoon, then hung on in the dying minutes, to take the Log O' Wood south to Dunedin.

Trailing 23-19 late in the second half, Waikato made repeated forays to cross for the match-winning try and a staunch Otago defence held strong for a victory that also lifted them into second place in the Mitre Ten Championship, behind Waikato.

Otago last won the Shield in 2013, also here in Hamilton, before suffering Shield defeats in 2014 and 2017.

Waikato had a gilt-edged chance to steal the clash in the dying minutes but, after winning a penalty close to the Otago line, it was reversed when forward Jono Armstrong was ruled to have kicked a player on the ground.


'I can easily hand over the tee' - Beauden Barrett happy to relinquish goal kicking duties

All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett says he's happy to relinquish goal kicking duties to Richie Mo'unga, after his woes with the boot earlier this season.

After a barren display with the boot against South Africa in Wellington last month, Barrett's kicking had come under heavy fire, before putting in two perfect displays against Argentina and South Africa respectively.

Barrett unselfishly let young Mo'unga take the game winning kick against South Africa. Source: 1 NEWS

However, late in the second half of last week's win over South Africa in Pretoria, Barrett allowed Mo'unga to take up the kicking responsibilities, going on to ace the match winning shot at goal under pressure.

Speaking to Radio Sport, Barrett said that he's happy to allow another kicker to step up, if and when the situation arises.

Barrett converted only two conversions from six in tonight's 36-34 loss to the Springboks. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's something that I learnt in the Wellington test, and something I hadn't done before," Barrett said.

"On occasions where I perhaps may not be feeling good about my kicking I can easily hand over the tee.

The All Blacks' first-five has come under criticism for his performance against the Lions. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's important that everyone's prepared. By all means the number 10 doesn't have to do the job. It could be a front rower. It's something we're pretty fixated with in New Zealand rugby, it doesn't have to be whoever's at flyhalf doing that job.

"So what I'm saying is that it could vary."

The All Blacks first-five's missed efforts proved costly during New Zealand's loss in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS