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First event at new Christchurch stadium could be Crusaders game



Operators of Christchurch’s new central city stadium say a home Crusaders game would be an “emotional” and fitting opener once gates finally open in two years time.

It comes as naming rights for the multi-use arena were unveiled, with the facility to be known as One New Zealand Stadium.

The 30,000 seat arena has been known as Te Kaha after local rūnanga Ngāi Tūāhuriri gifted the site the name in 2022.

The sponsorship deal with the telecommunications giant will span ten years from its 2026 opening.

he city council’s event management outfit Venues Ōtautahi refused to confirm the cost of the partnership deal due to commercial reasons.

Speaking to RNZ at the stadium site, the agency’s chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare said it was always expected a commercial partner would come on board.


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Fiji News

All Blacks v Fiji: what you need to know



Here is all you need to know about the match, where it’s going down and how you can follow the action.

All Blacks v Fiji: Live blog coverage on RNZ Sport

Kick-off: 2:30pm, Saturday 20 July NZT (Friday 7:30pm local)

At Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego

San Diego seems like an odd choice of venue?

It does, given that this is actually an All Blacks home fixture, so normally this would be played somewhere like Hamilton or Napier. However, NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has been upfront about the commercial opportunities that taking games to the United States brings and besides, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

The All Blacks played two horribly mismatched tests against the USA in Chicago and Washington DC, but it is their 2016 game against Ireland in the Windy City that is the most famous. The Irish picked up their first ever win over the All Blacks, a 40-29 result, in front of 60,000 at Soldier Field Stadium.

This week’s game is not the first time the All Blacks have played in San Diego, though. Way back in 1980 they beat the USA 53-6 at Chargers Stadium, which has since been demolished and replaced with the new, 35,000 seat Snapdragon Stadium. Fred Woodman, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe’s uncle, scored a hat trick in that win over the Americans.

All Black captain David Kirk in action during the Rugby World Cup match between the All Blacks and Fiji at Lancaster Park Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday 27 May 1987.

All Blacks captain David Kirk in action during the Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, in 1987. Photo: ©PHOTOSPORT.

Saturday afternoon footy!

How good … unless you’re involved in senior club rugby finals around the country. But that’s OK because you can keep an eye on the action with Jamie Wall’s live blog, here on RNZ Sport.

How have Fiji gone lately?

Pretty good, if last year’s Rugby World Cup is anything to go by. The Fijians made the quarter finals and only just lost to England, who they had actually beaten at Twickenham before the tournament began. They did suffer a shock loss to Portugal in the pool stages, however that result may well have said more about the Portuguese and their rapid improvement in test rugby lately.

This year, they have started their season with a good 21-12 away win over Georgia in Batumi and the Fijian Drua made the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs.

Temo Mayanavanua and Scott Barrett swap jerseys.

Temo Mayanavanua and Scott Barrett swap jerseys after the All Blacks vs Fiji match in Hamilton, in 2021. Photo: Jeremy Ward/Photosport

What about the All Blacks in their first two tests?

They won both, which is the main thing.

England turned out to be a very well drilled and effective side, who are clearly on an upward trend in terms of playing both positive rugby and to their traditional strength of forward play and kicking. Scott Robertson’s team were able to nullify both – just – due to a noticeable shift in tactics in the first test and the impact of Beauden Barrett in the second.

However, not much from those games can really be taken into this test against Fiji. The starting side is going to be completely overhauled with four potential debutantes getting a run, Patrick Tuipulotu has been left at home to recover, and the focus on field will be very much ‘get the win and get out’.

What else are the All Blacks doing this week?

Selling. The whole point of this event is to grow their brand in a new territory, this time the West Coast of the United States.

There will be plenty of media spots and visits to sponsors, presumably to have repetitive conversations about what rugby actually is and why they don’t wear pads and helmets. As well as selling the All Blacks brand, the long term goal here is to build interest in the 2031 Rugby World Cup, which is being held in the USA.

Rieko Ioane scores a try.

Rieko Ioane scores a try against Fiji in Hamilton, in 2021. Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

What’s going to happen?

Fiji certainly have the ability to cause the All Blacks some problems, their previous results indicate they are a much more balanced side than the ones that have come to New Zealand in the past. The average winning margin for the All Blacks in those tests was a staggering 58 points, but it’s a fair call that this one will be slightly closer.

For the All Blacks, they will just want to get in, do their commercial work and get out with a win, because the next challenge is a Rugby Championship competition they haven’t lost in five seasons.


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Black Ferns run in 10 tries in massive win over Australia in Brisbane



The Black Ferns crushed Australia in a stunning 62-0 win in their Laurie O’Reilly Cup women’s rugby test in Brisbane.

The world champions ran in 10 tries at Ballymore with winger Katelyn Vaha’akolo scoring four of them.

The Wallaroos trailed 29-nil at halftime and were held scoreless again in the second half.

Errors, penalties and a disjointed attack saw the Wallaroos cough up ball all over the place and their tackling was disappointing at times as they fell off the Black Ferns’ attackers.

New Zealand were dominant at the set-piece and played with pace and freedom on attack.

“It’s beautiful to see our attack flourishing,” New Zealand captain Ruahei Demant said.

“I’m really proud of the effort the girls showed today on attack and particularly on defence.”

Last time the teams met the scoreline was a lopsided 67-19 in Auckland two months ago.


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The one change All Black fans might need to get used to



Analysis – The All Blacks and England will no doubt be making a few adjustments for this weekend’s test at Eden Park.

First off, there’s the injury enforced selections, but the inclusion of Finlay Christie and Fin Baxter into both starting lineups had been well telegraphed. But while it’s highly unlikely Scott Robertson and Steve Borthwick will divulge much more about how they plan to win, the 16-15 result in Dunedin did show one pretty big difference between what the All Blacks of the last four or even eight years would’ve gone about dealing with a tough opponent.

The All Blacks scored two well taken first half tries, but only managed to string more than 10 phases together twice. One resulted in Sevu Reece’s try, but the other was an abomination of poor decisions that led to Marcus Smith’s penalty goal just before the break. Robertson’s response was to toss the original plan out and simply kick as much as possible (23 times to be exact) in the second half, the All Blacks didn’t even look like scoring a try and weren’t too fussed about it either.

Damian McKenzie. New Zealand All Blacks v England, 1st Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Damian McKenzie. New Zealand All Blacks v England, 1st Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. Photo: Michael Thomas/

“We all found out the nature of it, that’s it’s test football. The jeopardy at the end there, how we create those moments, and we might get 10 phases, we might not. It might be a stop-start, set piece game or could be more kicking. If it is two or three phases and we’re kicking, we’ll play the ball slowly… it depends on the nature of the game,” Robertson said.

It was, in short, an admission that the English had adjusted to the All Black plan after Reece’s try so well that the next time they tried it, it ended with the worst possible result.

“We looked at it and thought: OK, how can we create opportunities out of it… just had a focus on what we think would work. You can concentrate a bit too much on the opposition at times, but we know they’re coming,” said Robertson.

The response was a more pragmatic, humble one from the All Blacks, who in the past would’ve simply backed their natural ability to run the ball out of their own end.

England coach Steve Borthwick.

England coach Steve Borthwick. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/

Borthwick said that the slightest of tactical changes can make a world of difference.

“I think they are really important. The level of analysis to try and really understand that is vital. There will be one or two things again this weekend as well, hopefully we can cause New Zealand one or two problems.”

We’ve heard a lot about rush defence and line speed this week, but really, it’s nothing new and the base concepts are something the All Blacks have managed to circumvent plenty of times. The real trick Borthwick played was with who and how he employed it, sending mixed signals to the All Blacks about who was coming after them so they could never get a read on what was going to happen. Clearly, Robertson couldn’t either, hence the fallback to a much more conservative Plan B.

To their credit, the All Blacks executed it almost perfectly after Imanuel Feyi-Waboso’s try, keeping England pinned in their half and giving them little option than to kick it straight back. Given the state of the game right now, one that heavily favours tactical kicking due to the 50/22 rule and a clearance to touch inside one’s own half being almost as useful to the opposition as a penalty, it makes an awful lot of sense that Robertson would play to that advantage.

But it might take some sort of getting used to, something Borthwick wryly noted in a conversation with a local at Dunedin airport.

“He said ‘you guys played well yesterday, but you’ll get beat in Auckland. Next time we’ll beat you with style’. I think there’s some expectation there from New Zealand supporters that there be style and New Zealand to play with a different style than they did… it’ll be interesting to see if New Zealand do.”

While that bloke’s sentiments might resonate with a lot around the country, he might need to get on board with the fact that it only took this All Black side about 20 minutes of things not going their way to completely shift down to grind mode, rather than stepping up a gear and scoring tries.

Sign of the times? Almost certainly, but if that’s what it takes to win, so be it.

All Blacks v England

Kick-off: 7.05pm, Saturday 13 July

Eden Park, Auckland

Live blog coverage on RNZ Sport

All Blacks: 1, Ethan de Groot 2. Codie Taylor 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. Scott Barrett (captain) 5, Patrick Tuipulotu, 6. Samipeni Finau 7. Dalton Papali’i 8. Ardie Savea (vice-captain) 9. Finlay Christie 10. Damian McKenzie 11. Mark Tele’a 12. Jordie Barrett 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Sevu Reece 15. Stephen Perofeta

Bench: 16. Asafo Aumua 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi 18. Fletcher Newell 19. Tupou Vaa’i 20. Luke Jacobson 21. Cortez Ratima 22. Anton Lienert-Brown 23. Beauden Barrett

England: 15. George Furbank 14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso 13. Henry Slade (vice-captain) 12. Ollie Lawrence 11. Tommy Freeman 10. Marcus Smith 9. Alex Mitchell 8. Ben Earl (vice-captain) 7. Sam Underhill 6. Chandler Cunningham-South 5. George Martin 4. Maro Itoje (vice-captain) 3. Will Stuart 2. Jamie George (captain) 1. Fin Baxter

Bench: 16. Theo Dan 17. Bevan Rodd 18. Dan Cole 19. Alex Coles 20. Tom Curry 21. Ben Spencer 22. Fin Smith 23. Ollie Sleightholme



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