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New Zealand's five Super Rugby franchises each unveiled their 38-man squads for 2019 on Wednesday, with several promising rookies and some returning former stars among the lists.
Star winger Rieko Ioane has committed to the All Blacks for four more years in a significant win for New Zealand Rugby while brother Akira has also opted to remain in Auckland.
All Blacks great Ma'a Nonu is making a shock return to Super Rugby after signing a one-year deal with the Blues.
There were tough decisions to make all over the park, but Craig Dowd has settled on his NZ Super Rugby team of the season.
Having gone from part-time nightclub bouncer to an All Blacks jersey in a few months, prop Karl Tu'inukuafe knows a good deal more about life outside rugby than the young talents who typically travel New Zealand's elite pathways to the big-time.
Former All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu appears to be closing in on a return to Super Rugby, with the Chiefs and Blues emerging as the most likely destination.
There was plenty on the line in the final regular season round yet two Australian teams were unable to perform when it mattered most. The Brumbies did, however, exposing the Waratahs for exactly what they are.
Sunwolves winger Semesi Masirewa was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Bernard Foley. It was the correct decision to the letter of the law, but could it have been better served by a report system? Your Round 18 Super Rugby talking points are here.
Super Rugby returned from a month-long hiatus only for the negative themes from the June Test series to immediately surface in the provincial competition. Thankfully 24 hours later, the Chiefs helped remind us just how good the game can be.
The Rebels may have ended Australia's 32-game winless streak in New Zealand, but it was the Waratahs, Reds derby that produced the highlights, meanwhile two All Blacks players have been left red-faced for off-field hijinks.
It may have taken more than 1000 days but it was worth the wait for the Melbourne Rebels as they stopped the Blues 20-10 in Auckland to keep their Super Rugby finals hopes on track.
The Waratahs were hoping to add the Chiefs to their list of victims after ending the trans-Tasman streak in Sydney last week. And they would have, too, had it not been for the game's premier lock: Brodie Retallick.
Blues hooker James Parsons has denied a Sanzaar statement that reported he had received an apology from Owen Franks after an incident on the weekend that led to the Crusaders prop's two-week ban.
After 40 games, Australia finally saw the end of their New Zealand hoodoo with the Waratahs putting on a slick display to thump the Highlanders, while the deliberate knockdown debate continues to rage.
The Blues' woeful record in Kiwi Super Rugby derbies has continued with a bruising 32-24 loss to the Crusaders in Auckland.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has ushered a changing of the guard at loose forward in announcing his squad to face France in June.
There has been that much talk about the "dark arts" this week that Super Rugby has felt like a Harry Potter novel. Australia's sides have an opportunity to push the limits this week, but need their chief protagonists to be at their absolute best.
The Blues are persisting with Tana Umaga as their Super Rugby head coach despite three seasons of struggle.
NSW Waratahs had every right to feel aggrieved over some of the decisions that were, and were not, made in Christchurch. The cold hard fact is, however, that a 29-0 lead should, no matter the opposition, be enough to go on and claim victory.
Sonny Bill Williams laid on a first-half try on his return for the Blues, but the hosts were still no match for a clinical Hurricanes outfit at Eden Park.
The mouth-watering midfield showdown between Sonny Bill Williams and Ngani Laumape is the highlight of a clash between the Hurricanes and Blues that might not be as clear-cut as it seems.
Injuries and form mean All Blacks coach Steve Hansen could potentially blood some new faces against France next month. But who from the Crusaders, Chiefs, Blues, Highlanders and Hurricanes deserves a maiden Test cap?
Australia's losing streak to their New Zealand counterparts has hit a new low, with Australia's best falling to New Zealand's worse, while the Jaguares and the Sharks found a way to get the win over two New Zealand teams.
Blues coach Tana Umaga hailed his side's courage under fire after the Super Rugby cellar dwellers continued New Zealand's trans-Tasman dominance with a spirited 24-21 win over the NSW Waratahs.
Rugby fans voted with their feet on Saturday night with thousands flooding Brookvale Oval to watch the Waratahs take on the Blues in the first ever Super Rugby match at the Northern Beaches ground.
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