Provincial

Accusations overshadow appointment

DOWN AND OUT: Wellington captain Brad Shields was all anguish after the Lions were relegated to provincial rugby's second tier for 2015.

The Wellington Rugby Football Union has staunchly defended the process by which Earl Va'a was appointed Lions coach.

Russell looking beyond NZ rugby

SNUBBED: Peter Russell seemed the obvious choice to take over at Wellington but was not given the coaching job.

Overlooked for the Wellington Lions job, Peter Russell reluctantly accepts his coaching future probably lies offshore.

Perfect farewell for Glenn Moore in Heartland

VICTORIOUS: 2014 Meads Cup champions Mid Canterbury.

Defending champions Mid Canterbury timed their Meads Cup run to perfection but it was not without some nervous moments.

Earl Va'a appointment at Wellington a shock

NEW MAN: Former Samoan first five-eighth Earl Va'a has been appointed as the team's head coach for 2015.

Wellington Rugby Union drop a bombshell that's sure to further confound their wary stakeholders.

Va’a appointed Lions coach

PROMOTION: Earl Va'a was the Wellington Lions' backs coach last season.

Wellington rugby drop bombshell by hiring former Samoan first five-eighth as new Lions coach.

Taranaki prevail as NPC big guns go missing

FIRST TIME: Angus Ta'avao rode the emotion of a sell-out crowd at Yarrow Stadium as Taranaki trumped Tasman in the premiership final.

Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington were nowhere in 2014 as Taranaki, Tasman and Manawatu shone.

Mid-Cant over came nerves

Rugby generic

Mid Canterbury timed their Meads Cup run to perfection but it was not without some nervous moments.

Botherway named as Waikato coach

HIRED: Sean Botherway has been appointed as the new Waikato NPC coach for the next two years.

Sean Botherway has been appointed as Waikato's NPC coach for the next two years, taking over from Johnny Walters.

Crowley to remain with Taranaki

STAYING PUT: Taranaki assistant coach Leo Crowley was overlooked for the Waikato job.

Leo Crowley is likely to carry on his role as Taranaki assistant coach next season after he was overlooked for the Waikato job.

Refs sought for local rugby

RECRUITMENT DRIVE: Paul Williams and Richard Kelly have teamed up to try and attract more referees to rugby.

A group of Taranaki referees have gone in front of the camera in an effort to attract more recruits to their ranks.

Excitement building over Seta

SET TO FIRE: Seta Tamanivalu - fending off Chiefs team-mate James Lowe - is set to unleash his skills in Super Rugby.

Chiefs recruit Seta Tamanivalu has the ability to explode on to the scene in the same way Malakai Fekitoa did.

Tuimavave hopes to crack Stags

HEADING SOUTH: New Southland rugby recruit Tauasosi Tuimavave playing for Poneke in Wellington club rugby earlier this year.

Tauasosi Tuimavave is ready to make his mark on Southland rugby.

Taranaki assistant bids for role

LOOKING TO STEP UP: Taranaki assistant coach Leo Crowley has interviewed for the vacant Waikato head coaching job.

Leo Crowley will find out next week if he is the new Waikato coach.

Magpies hit in burglary

Hawke's Bay Magpies

Burglars could hurt the Hawke's Bay Magpies' chances of holding on to the Ranfurly Shield next year.

WRU chairman steps down

Tony Duffin

Wellington Rugby's review process sends out first ripple with Tony Duffin shuffling off as head of board table.

No bull, Taranaki has new name

A LOAD OF BULLS: James Marshall will captain the Port Taranaki Bulls next season.

Ferdinand's influence on Taranaki rugby has seen the union adopt the Bulls as its new name.

Todd claims top prizes

DUAL WINNER: Loose forward Matt Todd's fine year earned him both the Crusaders and Canterbury player of the year awards.

Matt Todd was the big winner at the Canterbury and Crusaders awards evening, named as both the Crusaders and Canterbury Player of the Year.

Russell plans all-star cast

IN CONTENTION: Peter Russell is in the running to be the next coach of Wellington.

Peter Russell wants the Wellington Lions coaching job and, if successful, plans to bring back some key people.

Prospect Tuimavave heads south

STEAMROLLER: Poneke and New Zealand under-20 outside back Tauasosi Tuimavave is the latest rising star to slip through Wellington’s fingers, having signed with Southland.

Tauasosi Tuimavave's transfer from Wellington to Southland highlight the uncertain nature of rugby's talent identification programmes.

Young Kiwi joins Leicester

UP AND OFF: Young Auckland lock Jack Whetton has signed with the Leicester Tigers until the end of the current English season.

Auckland lock Jack Whetton signs for leading English club until end of current season, joining ABs legend Brad Thorn.

Mooloos' opponents finalised

HARD TO SWALLOW: Waikato’s Zane Kapeli leaves the field after a heavy ITM Cup defeat to Auckland.

Waikato will host Wellington and Southland and travel to face Hawke's Bay and BOP in their NPC crossover games next season.

Magpies opt to avoid Makos

Hawke's Bay Magpies

Hawke's Bay pay Tasman major compliment in granting Auckland potential Ranfurly Shield challenge next season.

Marshall heading overseas - report

Makos and Chiefs back Tom Marhsall.

Chiefs and Tasman utility back is reportedly close to joining Gloucester in England's rugby Premiership.

All about Mrs Brown's boys

Cory Brown, Otago Rugby

Keeping it in the family, Otago Rugby name Cory Brown to succeed brother Tony as head coach of provincial team.

Spot the spectator in big city

WHO'S WATCHING? Wellington take on Taranaki in an almost empty Westpac Stadium.

Rugby fans in the urban Super Rugby areas have fallen out of love with domestic rugby.

Bulls up in poll as Taranaki mull name change

A LOAD OF BULLS: James Marshall could be captaining the Taranaki Bulls next season.

Tradition appears to be winning over change when it comes to a new name for Taranaki's NPC side.

Tamanivalu up for NPC player of year award

IN THE RUNNING: Taranaki centre Seta Tamanivalu is a finalist for the NPC players of the year.

The black ties will be out for a number of Taranaki players after the New Zealand rugby awards finalists were named this week.

Scotland chase flanker Hardie

GOING NORTH? Stags flanker John Hardie is still being linked to a move to Scotland.

Southland flanker John Hardie is being chased by Scotland but a move does not look likely at this stage.

Stags ready to get physical

AU REVOIR: Cardiff Vaega is on his way to France to play club rugby.

The building blocks for next year's Stags campaign will start being put in place from next month.

Scott sacked as coach

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South Canterbury Heartland rugby coach Chester Scott has been sacked.