Watch: Sir Michael Jones' humble son Niko praises teammates for national title - 'It's all part of the journey'

Sir Michael Jones appears to have passed on more than just his rugby talents to his son Niko with the former All Blacks' son humbly praising his teammates for their First XV National Championships title.

St Peter's College beat Napier Boys' High School 31-28 in the final on Sunday after overcoming a 21-5 halftime deficit.

The comeback was in large part sparked by Niko, who captains the side, who set up St Peter's' first try before going on to give them a lead with a game-changing 60m run.

The young No.8 said it was a 1-23 effort.

"We're really thankful and blessed to have this trophy," he said.

"It's all part of the journey. The whole season was an amazing experience... really thankful to god for what happened and just happy to be champions."

Niko Jones captained St Peter's College to their first national title in 18 years. Source: 1 NEWS

Sir Michael agreed.

"We're very proud of them but they played for each other and they played for something bigger than themselves which is, I think, the key to their success."

Niko and St Peter's College beat Napier Boys' High School to win the First XV national championship. Source: 1 NEWS


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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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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

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 / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scores his second try against the Springboks. Source: Photosport


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Wallabies star Israel Folau wins Waratahs MVP award despite controversial year

Superstar fullback Israel Folau has won the Matthew Burke Cup, the NSW Waratahs players' players award.

The Wallabies back polled 99 votes, to finish ahead of captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper (77), backrower Michael Wells (71) and inside centre Kurtley Beale (65).

Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by members of each match day squad after the Waratahs Super Rugby games.

Wells won the Waratahs best forward award and Beale took out the gong for their best back.

The NSW women's player of the year was veteran back Ash Hewson, who captained her state to the inaugural Super W title.

SYDNEY, NSW - MARCH 18: Waratahs player Israel Folau (14) looks towards the scoreboard at round 5 of the Super Rugby between Waratahs and Rebels at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on March 18, 2018. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Waratahs player Israel Folau. Source: Photosport


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Rampaging Northland forwards combine for exquisite try as Taniwha dominate Southland

Northland piled on the hurt for Southland in the Mitre 10 Cup, handing the visitors their 17th consecutive loss with the Taniwha winning 26-10 at Toll Stadium in Whangārei last night.

The home team dominated the Stags in the first spell, running in three tries to lead at the break 19-3.

The try of the match came in the 17th minute, when several Northland forwards combined down the left edge for a brilliant play.

Number eight Matt Matich made a line-break from the back of the breakdown just outside the Stag's 40 metre line, then linked up with Isileli Tu'ungafasi who bowled over Southland's halfback Jay Renton with ease after a charging run.

Northland quickly shifted the ball down the left flank where Kara Pryor threw a dummy before popping up a perfect pass to Matich who crossed over for Northland's second try of the match.

The Taniwha will now take on Hawke's Bay next on Wednesday at McLean Park in Napier.

Northland sit third on the Mitre 10 Cup Championship ladder.

Northland 26: (Matt Mattich, Sam Nock, Murray Douglas 2 tries; Jack Debreczeni 3 cons)

Southland 10: (Manaaki Selby-Rickit try; James Wilson pen, Broc Hooper con) HT: 19-3

The Taniwha defeated the Stags 26-10 in Whangārei. Source: SKY


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Jamie Joseph sets Brave Blossoms quarter-final goal for 2019 RWC - 'It's a chance to create history'

With just a year to go before the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off, Japan coach Jamie Joseph says his side have freed themselves from their fear of failure and are fully capable of securing an historic quarter-final berth.

When Joseph took the reins from Eddie Jones in 2016, Japan's players were not ready to buy into his rugby philosophy and needed time to grasp the concepts he was trying to get across, the 48-year-old New Zealander said.

"When I came here, the Japanese players were reactive, waiting for leadership and direction," he told a recent news conference to mark the one-year countdown to the global showpiece.

"They were reluctant to challenge or be proactive, reluctant to make a mistake, reluctant to try something until they fully understood it 100 per cent."

Joseph, a former All Black who also played for Japan at the 1999 World Cup, said the team were different now.

"What I am seeing now is players who are confident, players that are proactive, players that are trying things in a game," he added.

"They are not worried about making mistakes, not worried about failure but instead just excited about having a go.

"I think this is how they are going to win."

Joseph, who also took charge of the Sunwolves Super Rugby team this season, said that if Japan can iron out some of the inconsistencies that have plagued them recently they could reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

"I wouldn't say that I am incredibly confident but I think we are in a very good spot a year out from the World Cup and we are starting to create a little bit of momentum," he added.

"I have explained to the players it is a chance to create history."

As hosts, Japan have been drawn in Pool A alongside Ireland, Scotland, Russia and Samoa.

When asked whether his team were prepared for the tournament, Joseph said: "We are already there really."

"Over the last two years the players understand the gameplan better and are more comfortable with myself and the coaching group," he added.

"Next year is the year we start polishing what we are doing."

Team Japan and Craig Wing of Japan celebrate victory Source: Getty


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