Discover RugbyPass+ premium articles, the best rugby content from award-winning journalists, pundits, top coaches and the biggest stars of the game. The 38-year-old’s return has been etched into Force folklore with Thrush scoring the winning try in a 34-27 win over the Melbourne Rebels. Charles Piutau was written off when he left New Zealand aged 24, but has found an exhilarating career path in Europe. Two of the rugby world’s great characters came together for the Barbarians last November, Scott Robertson told the typically unorthodox story of his first chat with Joe Marler. Best display of refereeing all season and it was his 1st game at this level.
The game flowed and he wasn’t searching for reasons to award penalties. Not a Reds supporter but was appalled the ref found an Otago penalty “in front” AFTER 14 phases of almost identical play.
The ball was available to the halfback at roughly the same speed as the previous 14 times.
The NRL has the courage to demote officials who are incompetent. All Blacks and Crusaders winger Leicester Fainga’anuku is set to head overseas at the end of the year after deciding not to re-sign with New Zealand Rugby. According to new Zealand website Stuff, the two-Test All Black is expected to sign with Challenge Cup winners Toulon – but has been linked with other French clubs including Lyon and Clermont. Fainga’anuku joined the Crusaders’ academy when he was just 15-years-old, and later signed a professional deal with the Super Rugby juggernauts ahead of the 2019 season. Year after year, week after week, the now 23-year-old hasn’t looked back. Fainga’anuku has been brilliant for both club and country, and would have to be in the mix for this year’s World Cup squad. With the end of the Super Rugby Pacific regular season in sight, there are about five teams battling it for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Playing on the left wing for the champion Crusaders, Fainga’anuku has been sensational throughout this year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign. The utility back is currently equal-first with high flying Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson for the most tries scored this season with 10, which included a devastating double against the Brumbies. It almost goes without saying that if true, this report is a tough blow for both the Crusaders and All Blacks moving forward. Fainga’anuku has been named the Crusaders Player of the Match three times this season – the most of any player, as seen on the team’s Instagram page. While it would’ve been incredibly entertaining to see the explosive winger line up alongside rampaging centre Levi Aumua next season, it seems that won’t be happening.