- GOODBYE DEAR FRIEND:Sir Wilson James Whineray (KNZM, OBE) will be farewelled on Friday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland. The 77-year-old passed away peacefully in Auckland City Hospital on Monday, and the NZ Rugby family will be poorer without the presence of the 32 test All Black (77 matches in total, 30 as captain). In 1965, eight years after his test debut he retired from international rugby, and continued success off the field with senior positions throughout the corporate world. A former patron of the New Zealand Rugby Union and fourth inductee into the IRB Hall of Fame, Sir Wilson was knighted in 1998 for services to sport and business management.
- ANOTHER STREAK ON THE CARDS: The Wallabies might have been able to put a halt to the All Blacks string of 16 consecutive wins over the weekend, but the World Champions can still look at hitting the wonderful mark achieved by their 1987 counterparts, who put together New Zealand's longest Test unbeaten streak between 1987 and 1990, when they put together a run of 23 games without a loss, ironically suffering a draw to their trans-Tasman rivals 19-19, just as the 2012 side were unable to maintain a perfect year after Webb Ellis success.
- WHO WILL WIN THE CROWNS: This weekend the ITM Cup Premiership and Championship Finals will be played out - between Canterbury and Auckland, and Counties and Otago respectively. The red and black machine will look at becoming the first New Zealand domestic team to win five straight titles in any format. Auckland will be looking for their first major title since 2007. Counties biggest championship win came in 1993, when they won the NPC Second Division, while Otago will look to win their first big trophy in 14 years.
- HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS:The All Blacks have been unbeaten in their last 12 tests in Europe, with their last reverse coming at the hands of France in 2007. Indeed, such has been New Zealand's record against their Six Nations and European rivals, that the last team before Les Bleus in the Rugby World Cup to stop the All Blacks was France again, way back in Marseille in 2002 when the teams drew 20-20. Only three teams (France 2000, England 2002 and France 2007) have lowered the All Blacks colours overseas since the turn of the century. The Air New Zealand European tour kicks off against Scotland