Rugby Direct

40 Episodes
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By: Newstalk ZB

Every week, Rugby Direct gives you the lowdown on all you need to know from the rugby world. Whether it's the All Blacks, Black Ferns, NPC, Farah Palmer Cup, or just what's going down at the club grounds, we have you covered on your home for all things rugby. Listen on iHeartRadio for every angle, every moment, and every opinion.

Rugby Direct - 2022 Year In Review
12/01/2022

Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (chief Sports writer at the New Zealand Herald) were poised to head off into summer but before the boys don the speedos, fire up the BBQ and grab a pool noodle they've been summoned for one last podcast to review what was a mammoth year for rugby in New Zealand.

In this bumper podcast, they get stuck into the highs and lows of Super Rugby, the All Blacks, the Black Ferns while remembering some of their favourite media conference moments.

Elliott and Liam dish up...


Rugby Direct - Episode 61
11/20/2022

On this week's episode of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier dissect the All Black's drawn test against England. Was it their best performance of the year or did it sum up season 2022 for the men in black?

 

 

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Rugby Direct - Episode 60
11/14/2022

On this week's episode of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier have moved from Edinburgh to London ahead of the final All Blacks test of the year, but before they discuss the All Blacks' win over Scotland, they convene to discuss the Black Ferns' almighty World Cup win and what it might mean for women's rugby in New Zealand and assess the interesting nominee's list for World Rugby's Awards.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 59
11/08/2022

On this week's episode of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier review the All Blacks' victory over Wales, the Black Ferns' road to World Cup glory continues and big bad Brodie Retallick sits down for a chat.

 

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Rugby Direct - Episode 58
11/01/2022

On this week's podcast, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier review the All Blacks' scratchy win over Japan in Tokyo and the Black Ferns thumping of Wales in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final and look ahead to both NZ sides' respective next games.

Popular Wales rugby broadcaster Lauren Jenkins joins the pod to give her assessment on what to expect from the hosts this week.

And, Elliott and Liam debate where to from here for Dane Coles after another injury.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 57
10/25/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) review the Black Fern's latest win at the Women's Rugby World Cup ahead of their quarter-final match against Wales.

Elliott is in Tokyo with the All Blacks ahead of their opening match of the end-of-year tour against Japan.

All that and more on the latest edition of Rugby Direct thanks to Employment Hero.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 56
10/18/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) return from activating the sabbatical clauses in their respective contracts and assess the Black Ferns' Rugby World Cup campaign through the first two games and also cast an eye to England and France's progress.

Canterbury and Wellington have booked spots in the Bunnings NPC final, with the men from the capital looking in fine form as they try and go down to beat the red and black machine.

We also look at Ardie Savea's 2024 stint...


Rugby Direct - Episode 55
10/10/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Kate Wells (Newstalk ZB sport journalist) is joined by former Black Ferns captain and New Zealand Rugby board member Dr Farah Palmer to analyse the opening of the women's Rugby World Cup which kicked off in Auckland last weekend. They discuss the Black Ferns' spine chilling haka, the sold out Eden Park crowd and who can win the tournament.

We delve into how this tournament compares to Dr Palmer's experience, playing three Rugby World Cup's herself.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 54
10/04/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) look ahead to the Rugby World Cup 2021 (being played in 2022) kicking off this weekend at Eden Park and ask whether the Black Ferns are a realistic chance of winning it at this point in their rebuild against the likes of England and France.

We chat Jordie Barrett's re-signing with NZR and the Hurricanes through to 2025 and the fortunes of the NPC sides as we approach the business end of the side.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 53
09/27/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) reflect on the All Blacks' 40-14 win over Australia that captured the Rugby Championship for another year.

We ask whether Jordie Barrett is now the ABs man at 12, who the top 3 All Blacks are to this point in 2022 and give our marks for the year to date.

We also ponder what was learned from the Black Ferns' romp against Japan, as we close in on the Rugby World Cup.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 52
09/19/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (chief sports writer - NZ Herald) review the All Blacks and Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup test at Marvel Stadium and the shock decision of referee Mathieu Raynal at the end.

We discuss the make up of the side for Eden Park and whether the Wallabies can take some positives from the fact they probably should have won.

We also talk Ranfurly Shield being on the move to Wellington and the Black Ferns' test against Japan this weekend.

...


Rugby Direct - Episode 51
09/12/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (chief sports writer - NZ Herald) are in Melbourne ahead of the All Blacks and Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup test at Marvel Stadium on Thursday (which you can hear live on NewstalkZB and Gold Sport).

We debate the likely team to be announced by Ian Foster for the match, the challenges the Wallabies might pose the All Blacks and whether the All Blacks can snap their win/loss pattern of recent times.

The guys also debate the other big...


Rugby Direct - Episode 50
09/05/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) discuss the All Blacks' big win over Argentina in Hamilton and debate whether everything has been cured now.

We pay tribute to the in-form Samisoni Taukei'aho, debate whether Richie Mo'unga now has a mortgage on the All Blacks 10 jersey and colours are nailed to the mast ahead of the Farah Palmer Cup final.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 49
08/29/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) reflect on yet another weekend of drama out of the All Blacks as Argentina stun them at Orange Theory Stadium in Christchurch.

Elliott and Liam discuss how Los Pumas managed it, but also how the All Blacks blew any number of opportunities to at very least draw the match. Discussion also turns to the makeup of the side for this weekend and whether all-out change is the answer.

In addition, the guys look at a...


Rugby Direct - Episode 48
08/23/2022

On this week's Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) discuss the All Blacks' mood since they returned to camp this week in Christchurch after the tumultuous past couple of weeks with questions over their head coach.

We ponder any selection changes the All Blacks might make for the test against Argentina and ponder what the future is for props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungfasi in the All Blacks environment.

Elliott and Liam also run the rule over the Black Ferns big win over Australia...


Rugby Direct - Episode 47
08/17/2022

On this week's - special edition - of Rugby Direct Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald's chief sports writer) react to the news that Ian Foster has retained his job as All Blacks coach to the end of 2023.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 46
08/07/2022

On this week's podcast Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald's chief sports writer) discuss the All Blacks loss to South Africa, but more importantly the bigger picture of five tests lost in six matches and whether there is anything that can be done to arrest this slide.

Liam's on the ground in South Africa to give us a sense of the local reaction to the performances from both sides and we assess where the All Blacks problems' start, as well as analyse whether it truly was the "best performance" by the...


Rugby Direct - Episode 45
08/02/2022

On this week's podcast Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald's chief sports writer) go international - with Liam in South Africa ahead of the first Rugby Championship test against the Springboks.

We assess what changes the All Blacks might make to their 23 for the test against the 'Boks as they try to arrest a slide that has them with four losses in their last five and ask where the All Blacks have to improve if they are to be any chance of a result.

We run the rule over...


Rugby Direct - Episode 44
07/25/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (Chief Sports writer at the NZ Herald) assess another week of drama related to the All Blacks that has culminated in two assistant coaches being dumped and Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan being rushed in to assist the front eight.

The guys also run the rule over Ian Foster's media conference on Friday and whether that quelled a few issues, as well as assessing the Rugby Championship squad named and discuss whether more widespread changes than the ones made were...


Rugby Direct - Episode 43
07/18/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (Chief Sports writer at the NZ Herald) analyse the All Blacks series defeat to Ireland and where that leaves the coaching staff and the team going forward.
We take a deep dive into how Ireland dismantled the All Blacks in the capital and played one of the great first halves in New Zealand.
Elliott and Liam also clear the air over how the media conference debacle played out and how that slip-up launched a thousand conspiracy theories.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 42
07/12/2022

On this week's podcast Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald's chief sports writer) discuss Ireland's first ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil and examine how they were able to win in such convincing fashion and set up a series decider this weekend in the capital.
Elliott and Liam debate the chaotic substitution rules over Ardie Savea and Dalton Papalii as well as look at the Angus Ta'avao situation and ask what World Rugby is exactly trying to achieve in how they classify incidents like that.
The elephant in...


Rugby Direct - Episode 41
07/11/2022

On the latest edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chief sports writer) discuss the All Blacks 42-19 win over Ireland to go 1-nil up in the series heading to Dunedin this week.
We breakdown the ways the All Blacks were able to attack, offering Ireland something unexpected with their play with ball in hand that they didn't see last November and also showing some committed goalline defence.
They also ponder what it will take for Ireland to level the series this week, how that might be achieved and...


Rugby Direct - Episode 40
06/28/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's All Blacks commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald rugby writer) react to a hectic 48 hours of news from the All Blacks camp - with six down with Covid including three members of the coaching staff.
We discuss how that might affect the planning for Saturday's match and the make-up of the side, while Joe Schmidt has been called in as an extra voice for the All Blacks in the absence of Foster, John Plumtree and Scott McLeod. What Irish state secrets will be able to provide an insight...


Rugby Direct - Episode 39
06/20/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (Chief Sports Writer at the NZ Herald) break down the Crusaders' emphatic Super Rugby Pacific grand final win over the Blues at Eden Park.
The guys discuss the Crusaders' ability to play grand final footy, to suffocate the Blues and turn the hosts' lineout inside out with incredible regularity.
For this final time this season, the guys dish out their MVP points and crown the highly prestigious and inaugural Rugby Direct Medal.
In addition, the guys give their thumbs up...


Rugby Direct - Episode 38
06/13/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, we go one-on-one with All Blacks coach Ian Foster about the 36-man squad named for the three-test series against Ireland and discuss the key talking points of his squad including the six new caps, the exclusion of TJ Perenara and Brad Weber at halfback and other key discussion points with Ireland on the horizon.
Liam Napier joins to dissect the squad and where the strengths and weaknesses lie, as well as look ahead to a small matter of a Blues and Crusaders Super Rugby Pacific final.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 37
06/07/2022

On the latest edition of Rugby Direct:
Elliott Smith and Liam Napier dissect the Super Rugby Pacific quarter-finals that went exactly to the formbook, at least on the scoreboard but who impressed and who left the guys a bit cold even in progressing through to the last four.
With the Highlanders and Hurricanes signing off for the year, we also review where it went wrong (and right in some areas) for them this year and where both sides need to improve if they're to be contenders for next year.
We also outline what we want to see...


Rugby Direct - Episode 36
05/30/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier debate the final round of Super Rugby Pacific before the playoffs, including the race for the eighth spot eventually won by the Highlanders.
We wave farewell to the Drua and Moana Pasifika (as well as the Rebels and Force) and assess the two maiden campaigns from the Pacific expansion sides and where they need to improve on next year.
The guys debate what the Blues need to fix as they try and convert their top seeding into a title, while also ponder a controversial non-red card...


Rugby Direct - Episode 35
05/24/2022

On this weekend’s episode of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith is joined by Liam Napier, who returns from watching the other code in Brisbane to help analyse week 14 of Super Rugby Pacific, the penultimate round before the playoffs which saw big wins for three kiwi-based sides and a narrow win and narrow losses for a couple of others.
Elliott and Liam dish out the usual MVP points and tipping, as well as ponder the merits of the current playoff structure, whether an Australian side is capable of going all the way and winning the competition and also assess the fi...


Rugby Direct - Episode 34
05/17/2022

On this week's edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and special guest Christopher Reive from the New Zealand Herald (@ChrisReive) break down the weekend of rugby that was from Super Rugby Pacific, as the Kiwi sides went 5-nil over their Australian opponents, along with a feisty Pacific derby in Sydney.
Elliott and Christopher also discuss the growing reputation of Stephen Perofeta and whether an All Blacks jersey awaits him in the July series against Ireland, as well as pondering on the back of a kiwi sweep over the weekend whether the Australians have really closed the gap or if...


Rugby Direct - Episode 33
05/09/2022

On the latest edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier review week 12 of Super Rugby - as the Brumbies continued on their merry way against New Zealand sides with a win over the Chiefs in Hamilton, while the Highlanders sneaked a close one against the Reds.
There were comprehensive wins for the other New Zealand sides, so we debate whether the chatter about the gap closing was misguided last week.
Stephen Perofeta continues to look classy in the Blues line-up whether at 10/15 so we debate how far away he might be from an All Blacks jersey...


Rugby Direct - Episode 32
05/02/2022

On the latest edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott and Liam discuss what amounted to a poor round for the New Zealand sides - even the ones that banked full competition points. A one-off or have Australia found their mojo in Super Rugby Pacific?
The guys debate whether the Crusaders empire is crumbling after a recent-record of three defeats this year, while the fortunes and selections of the Hurricanes continue to confound - will they settle on a first choice squad at any point this year?
Elliott and Liam also find a way to dish out some MVP points...


Rugby Direct - Episode 32
04/27/2022

On this week’s edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier evaluate the Super Round in Melbourne and ask if it was really Super or if it was shoddy, with the scoreline at 4-1 after the weekend.

The Highlanders lose to the Brumbies and while they're still in the mix for the playoffs, Elliott and Liam debate where this team is going and whether Tony Brown is the right man to take the team forward.

Liam and Elliott also discuss what Roger Tuivasa-Sheck needs to do to make the All Blacks this year and wh...


Rugby Direct - Episode 31
04/19/2022

On this weekend’s edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier take the temperature of Super Rugby after the last round of all-New Zealand matches, with the Blues finally winning in Christchurch for the first time since 2004 in a thriller against the Crusaders, while the Hurricanes hold on in a bit of controversy against the Highlanders. 


Elliott and Liam discuss the red-cards issued over the weekend and ask whether the subsequent punishments from the judiciary are too lenient, as well as whether there’s any chance of an Australian victor in Super Rugby Pacific.

See o...


Rugby Direct - Episode 30
04/11/2022

On this week’s edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott and Liam debate the weekend’s big rugby issues – primarily the closing moments of the Hurricanes v Crusaders game, which saw a chance at golden point turned down... and a penalty denied by the referee.
Were the ‘Canes in the right by taking the kick for the corner? The guys also debate the Blues’ crushing win over the Chiefs and the Highlanders finally get on the board, but is it too little to late in the playoff run?

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Rugby Direct - Episode 29
04/04/2022

On the latest edition of Rugby Direct, Elliott Smith and Liam Napier delve into the weekend’s rugby issues and debate the red cards that were dished out including the most contentious one – supposedly – to Caleb Clarke. 


The Crusaders ensure it’s another winless week for the Highlanders, but only just and debate whether Jordie Barrett’s switch to 12 has long-term merit after his return to the role in the Hurricanes’ loss to the Chiefs. 


Oh and Tiger Woods gets a mention too.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 28
03/28/2022

Elliott and Liam are back for another week of rugby discussion - with the big win for Moana Pasifika dominating discussion - the win no-one saw coming, while the Crusaders underline their title credentials with a bounce-back win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The guys also update the MVP race, while we debate Beauden Barrett's latest head knock, whether the crowds were good for two days notice or not and the addition of some star power to the Black Ferns staff.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 27
03/21/2022

This week on Rugby Direct, Elliott and Liam debate the key talking points from the weekend – including the completion of the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki competition, as well as France winning the Six Nations but Italy almost stealing the limelight and the guys dish out their MVP points for the weekend just been of Super Rugby Pacific, after a making an urgent rewrite to the competition rules.

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Rugby Direct - Episode 26
03/14/2022

New frontrunners?

Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald chiefs sports writer) review the latest round of Super Rugby Pacific, with the Blues coming from behind to beat the Highlanders at North Harbour Stadium and the Chiefs make a real statement in knocking off the Crusaders in Christchurch.

They also review the opening game of Super Rugby Aupiki and cram in plenty of rugby discussion on the Six Nations, Gayle Broughton's shock retirement and how Covid might continue to impact the NZ Rugby scene.

In addition, a health of...


Rugby Direct - Episode 25
03/07/2022

On this week's edition of NZME's rugby podcast, Elliott Smith (Newstalk ZB's lead rugby commentator) and Liam Napier (NZ Herald rugby writer) debate the third round of Super Rugby Pacific and give some much deserved plaudits to Moana Pasifika and eat a little bit of humble pie while doing so.
The Blues escape against the Chiefs and the Hurricanes get the job done against the Highlanders who are still searching for their first win.

Elliott and Liam also update the race for the Rugby Direct MVP voting - Will Jordan had the week off and a new...


Rugby Direct - Episode 24
02/28/2022

Week two of Super Rugby Pacific is in the books, the Crusaders have two wins and the Blues should have had one but they don't and the Hurricanes do instead.
Elliott and Liam discuss how on earth the Blues blew it and what the Hurricanes did to spark themselves back into life.
Plus we reflect on the two sad deaths in NZ rugby last week.

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