Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.
Carter denies Toulon ties
Dan Carter says he hasn’t set his sights on Toulon and is still considering his options.
Recent reports suggest Carter has been in talks with former All Blacks team-mates Andrew Mehrtens, Anton Oliver and Tana Umaga who are now playing and coaching with Toulon. But the incumbent Crusaders and New Zealand flyhalf told The Press this was untrue.
“No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to any of the players playing offshore.
“We are looking at all the options, even a couple of clubs or even if I even want to go in one direction and stay put. There are all sorts of possibilities we are looking at.”
He also refused to state when the decision would be made, or what option was the most attractive.
“Obviously there has been a lot of talk and comment about that. That’s just one of those things. I know what is going on and so do my management team.”
Carter is expected to start for the Saders against the Highlanders this weekend.
Blues remain unchanged
David Nucifora has kept the same 22 for the Blues’ vital game against the Hurricanes.
After last week’s win over the Highlanders, the Blues coach said there was no reason to make changes.
“We have stuck with the same forward pack for most of the year and they have produced some excellent results,” he said.
“We’ve been happy with our scrum and line-out in the last couple of weeks and its good to have continuity going into a big game.”
Nucifora has also kept Isa Nacewa at flyhalf and Nick Evans at fullback.
Blues – Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Troy Flavell, Jerome Kaino, Daniel Braid, Nick Williams, Taniela Moa, Isa Nacewa, Rudi Wulf, Benson Stanley, Anthony Tuitavake, David Smith, Nick Evans.
Subs: Nick White, Bronson Murray, Kurtis Haiu, Justin Collins, Danny Lee, Isaia Toeava, Ben Atiga.
Chiefs adopt selfish approach
Stephen Donald says the Chiefs are more concerned with their own performance than helping other Kiwi franchises qualify for the play-offs.
The Chiefs will know where they stand before they play the Sharks this Saturday, and if the situation arises that they can’t qualify, they will play for pride.
“We’re just worried about us, mate,” Donald told Rugbyheaven.co.nz. “There’s probably a chance that if we win someone like the Blues might make it, but that’s probably not going to motivate us.”
The Chiefs need the Stormers to lose to the Lions, and they will also be hoping the Hurricanes win in Auckland. This means they’ll have everything to play for in the final match of the league stage.
“The way we’re looking at this game is whether we see ourselves having a strong chance or not [of making the semifinals], the fact is this will be like a play-off game anyway because the Sharks have to do well for them to get in,” said Chiefs coach Ian Foster.
Props Ben May (suspended), Simms Davison (back injury) and Simon Lemalu (knee) have all been sent home, along with reserve scrumhalf David Bason and centre Richard Kahui (ankle). Scrumhalf Brendon Leonard, utility back Murray Williams, prop Nathan White and hooker John Paeranga have since arrived to fill the holes.
However, Sione Lauaki (hamstring), Sitiveni Sivivatu (ankle), Donald (neck) and Tom Willis (side strain) are still concerns ahead of this crunch game.
Collins back for Canes
Jerry Collins is over his rib injury and will feature in the Hurricanes’ crucial game against the Blues this Friday.
Collins has sat out three games to date, but the trip to Auckland is so important the All Blacks blindside has declared himself ready to play. If the Canes lose, they may not make the semi-final cut.
Scott Waldrom drops to the bench as a result. Prop Neemia Tialata’s suspension sees a front row reshuffle with John Schwalger coming in at loosehead and Tim Fairbrother shifting to No 3.
Willie Ripia is still preferred over Jimmy Gopperth at flyhalf.
Hurricanes – 15 Cory Jane, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Piri Weepu; 8 Rodney So’oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.
Subs: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Tamati Ellison.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.