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TEN THINGS you need to know regarding New Zealand Rugby teams

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James Mortimer     14 May 2014     Getty Images

Phew!

Here is a list of some answers to what will hopefully be your questions!

1. What about that potential Test in the United States?

We will have a formal answer for you in less than 24 hours.

2. Did you say ten derbies?

Yes, with three of the remaining six rounds featuring double delight. Still to come is Hurricanes v Highlanders, Highlanders v Crusaders, Hurricanes v Chiefs, Blues v Hurricanes, Hurricanes v Crusaders, Highlanders v Chiefs, Chiefs v Hurricanes, Crusaders v Blues, Blues v Chiefs and Crusaders v Highlanders.

3. I’m hearing a lot about the Junior World Championship.

New Zealand is hosting the premier age-grade tournament for the first time, and with hundreds of players graduating to Test status from the Under-20s, it is recognised as the preeminent “Junior World Cup” in rugby. Find out more here and here!

4. Is this something else significant about #JWC2014?

There is, as it is technically the only international rugby trophy or title currently not represented in New Zealand Rugby’s trophy cabinet.

5. What happens at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games?

The All Blacks Sevens, who over the weekend won their 12th overall series title, will be in action on July 26/27, three days after the XX Games opening ceremony. Admitted to the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games, New Zealand has won all four Sevens Gold Medals on offer. The team arrives back home for a short break tomorrow.

6. I haven’t heard about Women’s Sevens in a while?

The fourth and penultimate leg was in China over the first weekend of April, and saw New Zealand defeat Australia 26-12. With the fifth and final stage taking place in Amsterdam, just two points separates the defending champion ‘Sisters’ (76) and Australia (74), while Canada is still within title winning range (64). New Zealand Women’s Sevens are gunning for back-to-back series trophies.

7. What else do I need to know about the All Blacks now their wider training group has been named?

The group assemble in Christchurch from Sunday 18 May - Tuesday 20 May and Wellington from Sunday 25 May - Tuesday 27 May. On 1 June the full Test squad will be announced to play England, comprising 31 players. The first Steinlager Series Test is against England at Eden Park (7 June), then Forsyth Barr (14 June) and Waikato Stadium (21 June). The first match of The Investec Rugby Championship is on the 16 August, which doubles as the year’s first Bledisloe Cup fixture.

8. What is the story on Dan?

All Blacks first five-eighth Dan Carter is nearing the end of a period of extended leave, and has already resumed heavy training. At this stage the Crusaders will expect his services when Investec Super Rugby resumes. The red and blacks play the Hurricanes in Wellington on 28 June. It has not been confirmed whether Carter may play some rugby locally or for the Crusaders match against England.

9. Where is the Women’s Rugby World Cup again?

The seventh Women’s Rugby World Cup will be played in Marcoussis, roughly 25 km south of Paris, a region known for the French Rugby centre of excellence where Les Bleus spend prepare for domestic Tests. The Final will be held at the Stade Jean-Bouin, home of Stade Francais. The Black Ferns are the defending champions and have won the last four tournament. They will fine tune their preparations against Australia, Samoa and Canada.

10. With four teams in the top seven of Super Rugby, could we have four semi-finalists?

With the above mentioned ten derbies still to come, the reality is that the New Zealand Conference will turn internal cannibal, unless we witness a host of four-try bonus point draws. The good news here however is that based on current standings, there is a strong mathematical chance of at least two NZ teams in the Super Rugby Finals Series.