Whitelock: welfare has improved

Sam Whitelock (left) says the welfare of current and former players has improved greatly in recent years.

George Leaupepe criticised NZ Rugby for not doing enough for ex-players. Sam Whitelock can't fault the current set-up.

Aaron Smith returns to action

Aaron Smith will make his first appearance of the season for the Highlanders on Thursday.

World Cup winner Aaron Smith returns to action against the Crusaders but long lay-off looms for Richard Buckman

Crusaders ring the changes

Sam Whitelock, pictured scoring a memorable try against the Queensland Reds in Christchurch last year, will lead the Crusaders in their trial game against the Highlanders.

Eight adjustments made as Sam Whitelock leads the troops for trial game against the Highlanders.

Project Tupou's time to shine

Ash Dixon of the Highlanders is tackled by the Crusaders' Jimmy Tupou at AMI Stadium last year.

Regular starts have been scarce for Jimmy Tupou in Super Rugby. Now he has been named captain of the Crusaders for a trial game.

Knowler: Boss should be cautious

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said at "no stage was this talked about" when asked about Sanzaar's decision to introduce a new bonus-point system.

OPINION: Sanzaar boss Andy Marinos has wasted no time in having a dig at those who criticise his organisation.

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