Chris Foley

Deans, Henry and The Art of War

It's a match that has divided a nation and carries the hype of a boxing contest, with Robbie Deans in the gold corner and Graham Henry in the black.

All Blacks, Ireland rejig battle plans

The All Blacks and Ireland have been forced to hastily rejig their battle plans 48 hours before Saturday's one-off rugby Test.

Pack clash key in Super 14 showdown

The Crusaders and Waratahs face off in a classic showdown for the Super 14 rugby crown in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday. ''It's going to be an epic,'' said Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, the most successful coach in the history of Super rugby. In a match laden with All Blacks and Wallabies, Waratahs assistant coach Steve Tuynman sees the final as one for the purists.

Outside forces significant in Super 14 semis

Injuries, coaching concerns and travel fatigue loom as significant factors in the Super 14 rugby semifinals when the Crusaders, Waratahs, Sharks and Hurricanes front up on Saturday. Competition leaders the Crusaders are at home to the Hurricanes in the first knock-out match, followed by the second-placed Waratahs hosting the Sharks in Sydney.

Super 14 set for exciting climax

The Wellington Hurricanes and Auckland Blues kick off a climactic final Super 14 round on Friday in which six teams have a chance of joining the Canterbury Crusaders in the final four. The make-up of the semifinalists is unlikely to be decided until the final match of the weekend when the Sharks play the Chiefs.

Crusaders freshen up ahead of clash with Cheetahs

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.

All Blacks driven by 20-year torment

Most New Zealanders believe winning the Rugby World Cup is their destiny, but one glaring hole in their packed trophy cabinet and the taunts of George Gregan say otherwise. Instead, the All Blacks are saddled with the twin tags of being the world's top-ranked side and top-ranked chokers.

All Blacks see Tri-Nations as Cup rehearsal

The All Blacks and Wallabies line up in Auckland on Saturday in an all-or-nothing Tri-Nations finale, a showdown which the All Black see as a perfect dress reheasal for the Rugby World Cup. Both the Tri-Nations crown and the Bledisloe Cup -- the symbol of Trans-Tasman rivalry -- are on the line.

Last-minute tries seal win for All Blacks

Three converted tries in the final 12 minutes carried the All Blacks to a 33-6 win over the Springboks in their Tri-Nations rugby Test in Christchurch on Saturday. The win put New Zealand level with Australia at the head of the championship and set the stage for a classic showdown when the two teams meet in Auckland next week.

War of words overshadows All Black-France Test

The All Blacks are poised to break the world record for consecutive home-Test wins when they play France on Saturday, but a spiteful war of words is threatening to take the gloss off the performance. If, as expected, the All Blacks beat the seriously under-strength French side it will stretch their unbeaten home run to 23 Tests.

Credibility on the line for All Blacks

The All Blacks put their World Cup credentials on the line against a below-par French rugby side in Auckland on Saturday when the controversial reconditioning theory faces its first Test. Anything but an emphatic All Blacks victory is certain to provoke a highly vocal backlash in a country frustrated at not having won the World Cup for 20 years.

Super 14 hits high-stakes round

The Canterbury Crusaders, riled by a ''soft'' tag, lead the Super 14 field this weekend into a high-stakes final round before the play-offs with six teams still in contention for the last four. The ''soft'' jibe was fired by Waikato Chiefs skipper Jono Gibbes ahead of their crucial showdown on Friday which the fifth-placed Chiefs which they must win to keep their hopes alive.

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