NZ Super Rugby teams close out pre-season
The New Zealand Conference opens this weekend an exciting clash between the seven-time champions and hosting Crusaders, and the two-time winners and current title holding Chiefs this Friday night.
How many All Blacks rolled out remains to be seen, but plenty will be fielded and others will enter proceedings from the bench.
What is likely is that the intensity will be far beyond what is normally expected from a season opener, at least from a Kiwi perspective.
The dust will have barely settled at AMI Stadium when the next evening will see the Highlanders welcome the Blues, while later that evening the Hurricanes begin in tough circumstances taking on the Sharks in Durban.
With the exception of internal exercises or training runs, New Zealand teams have played out ten pre-season matches.
Results as below:
Highlanders 15-11 Brumbies, Queenstown Recreation Ground, Queenstown
Hurricanes 38-35 Blues, Memorial Park, Masterton
Crusaders 67-5 Crusaders development, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Waratahs 33-12 Blues, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Crusaders 28-15 Highlanders, Motueka Sportspark, Motueka
Rebels 24-22 Hurricanes, Simonds Stadium, Geelong
Reds 31-20 Chiefs, Toowoomba Sports Ground, Toowoomba
Chiefs 43-19 Blues, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
Hurricanes 15-41 Crusaders, Levin Stadium. Levin
Waratahs 19-16 Highlanders, Hunter Stadium, Newcastle