Auckland centre Ben Atiga kicked a last-minute penalty to steer the Blues to a 17-14 win over the Stormers in a Super 14 match at Eden Park on Saturday. Atiga regained his composure after missing three earlier attempts, including one that struck the upright, to land the long-range shot from near the sideline and snatch victory with the last play of the match.
The Coastal Sharks maintained their impressive start to this year's Super 14 competition with a hard-fought 16-8 win over the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. With five victories out of five, the men from Durban moved back into second spot on the southern-hemisphere rugby championship points table.
South Africa's Stormers beat New Zealand's Waikato Chiefs 35-26 in Hamilton on Friday to record their second successive win in the Super 14. The Stormers outscored the Chiefs four tries to two to claim a bonus point for the second week in a row after losing their first three matches at home in South Africa.
After a flying start to the season, the powerful Canterbury Crusaders are giving key players a breather for their Super 14 match against tail enders the Cheetahs on Saturday. Despite making six changes, the match remains crucial for the Crusaders with pressure on the regular bench-warmers to maintain the team's unbeaten record.
Super 14 frontrunners the Auckland Blues are looking to complete their triumphant South African leg with maximum points against the unbeaten Sharks in Durban on Saturday. New Zealand powerhouses Auckland and the Canterbury Crusaders have shredded South African opposition to state their claims for the southern hemisphere provincial crown.
The Auckland Blues took the outright lead in rugby's Super 14 when they racked up 50 points for the second straight week against a South African opponent. The Blues followed last week's 55-10 win over the Lions with a 50-26 win Saturday over the Cheetahs to secure their third straight bonus point and to open a one-point lead over their compatriots, the Canterbury Crusaders.
The Sharks and the Bulls will stage a replay of last year's final in the third round of the Super 14 this weekend, with both teams attempting to prevent recent glory days from ebbing away. The Sharks won their first two matches by narrow margins, 17-10 over the Western Force and 12-10 -- relying on penalties -- over the Stormers.
Lack of fitness and a sluggish ability to adapt is holding back the South African teams early in the Super 14, according to Blues coach David Nucifora. The Blues thrashed the Lions 55-10 in Johannesburg on Saturday to follow the Crusaders' equally comprehensive 54-19 triumph in Pretoria the day before.
South Africa's World Cup-winning coach Jake White has shown interest in the vacant Wallabies post via his agent, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said on Tuesday. ARU high-performance manager Pat Howard confirmed that agent Craig Livingstone contacted him on White's behalf last week, but he had heard nothing further.
While most French presidents have avoided sport, Nicolas Sarkozy prides himself on televised jogging sessions, cheering the Tour de France and appearing in the stands of the Paris Saint Germain football team. Now he is reinventing himself as a rugby fan to take maximum political advantage of the World Cup that begins in France on Friday.
Ryan Giggs's 100th league goal saw Manchester United on the way to a 4-1 win against bottom-of-the-table Derby County to keep up the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday. Victory at Old Trafford, where Carlos Tevez scored either side of halftime, left second-placed United a point behind the Gunners