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RugbyU: Chiefs flattered, Bulls floored in Super shake up

The Chiefs opened their Super 15 title defence with a flattering win while the underdog Otago Highlanders stole the spotlight as the first full round exposed the pre-season hype. With the Australia and New Zealand teams firing up, a week after the South Africans, the defending champion Waikato Chiefs survived on scant possession to produce an 18-10 win over the Canterbury Crusaders.

RugbyU: Reds too committed for Brumbies to win derby

The Queensland Reds showed great resilience to fight off the ACT Brumbies for a 27-17 win to open their Super 15 season in Canberra on Saturday. The Reds defended resolutely for much of the second half to hold on to a three-point lead and claimed a clinching try through replacement winger Chris Feauai-Sautia in the final minutes to take the opening Australian derby of the Super Rugby season.

Rugby Union: Cooper fear after being stretchered off

Queensland Reds fly-half Quade Cooper is in doubt for the opening game of the Super 15 season after being stretchered off in a neck brace during a friendly against the Melbourne Rebels. The Wallaby vice-captain suffered a jolting hit from behind in the final minute of the match on Friday evening, with a dozen medics and officials attending him. Reds coach Richard Graham said he would undergo scans but dismissed any concerns about concussion.

RugbyU: England announce New Zealand tour dates

England will play Tests in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton when they tour New Zealand next year, the Rugby Football Union announced Monday. The series starts at the All Blacks Eden Park fortress on June 7, continues at Forsyth Barr Stadium seven days later and concludes at Waikato Stadium on June 21. England's tour also includes a midweek match against seven-time Super Rugby champions the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 17.

RugbyU: N. Zealand coaches want Pacific Super 15 team

New Zealand's Super 15 coaches are pushing for a team of Pacific island players to be included in the southern hemisphere competition when it expands in 2016, a report said Wednesday. The team, based in Auckland, would be part of an 18-club competition under a proposal from the head coaches of New Zealand's five existing Super Rugby teams, the New Zealand Herald reported. It said the competition would also include a Japanese team and South Africa's Southern Kings and Golden Lions, who currently compete in an end-of-season play-off for a Super Rugby berth.

RugbyU: Australia make three changes for South Africa Test

Australia have made three personnel changes and one positional to the starting line-up for a Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Cape Town Saturday. Outside centre Tevita Kuridrani, left-wing Joe Tomane and lock James Horwill come into the side after an unimpressive 14-13 win over Argentina this month. The trio replace suspended James O'Connor, injured Nick Cummins and out-of-favour Kane Douglas, who does not even make the bench.

Rugby Union: Robinson, Horwill return to Wallabies squad

Veteran prop Benn Robinson was Tuesday recalled for the Wallabies' Rugby Championship tour to South Africa and Argentina while James Horwill was declared fit and named captain in place of Ben Mowen. Robinson, who played in the recent losing series against the British and Irish Lions and is a veteran of 59 Tests, was the major omission in new coach Ewen McKenzie's initial squad for the tournament.

RugbyU: Weepu dumped, McCaw back in All Blacks

Veteran scrumhalf Piri Weepu has been dumped from the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship, with the squad named Sunday including one new face and marking the return of captain Richie McCaw. Weepu, whose 71 Tests make him New Zealand's second-most experienced scrumhalf behind Justin Marshall, has been forced to make way for newcomer TJ Perenara for the series involving South Africa, Australia and Argentina.

RugbyU: South Africa recall Du Preez for Argentina Test

South Africa have recalled scrum-half Fourie du Preez for a Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on August 17 in Soweto. The Japan-based veteran last played for the Springboks in an 11-9 defeat by Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. Du Preez then moved from Northern Bulls to Suntory Sungoliath and a variety of other scrum-halves wore the No. 9 green and gold jersey. Among those was former Bulls team-mate Francois Hougaard, who appeared to be the heir apparent to the 2007 World Cup winner.

RugbyU: Leading Super 15 scorers

Leading 2013 Super 15 championship scorers: Points 248: Steyn (Bulls) 233: Lealiifano (Brumbies) 186: Barrett (Hurricanes) 172: Cooper (Reds) 171: Lambie (Sharks) 170: Carter (Crusaders), Pietersen (Stormers) Tries 10: Halai (Blues) 8: Crawford, Folau (both Waratahs), Gear (Highlanders), Speight (Brumbies) 7: Perenara, Savea (both Hurricanes) afp
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