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Contributors

Ben Smith

A former financial analyst & auditor in retail banking, Ben is a columnist at RugbyPass specialising in opinion-based analysis, breaking down rugby as he sees it, to uncover what professional teams are trying to do around the world.

New Zealand U20 team named to play South Africa in U20 Rugby Championship opener

New Zealand U20 head coach Jono Gibbes has named a 23-man team to play South Africa on the Sunshine Coast in the inaugural U20 Rug…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
30 Apr 2024, 20:38

'It's ridiculous': Ex-All Blacks defend Samipeni Finau after Tane Edmed hit

Two former All Blacks have come to the defence of Chiefs' blindside Samipeni Finau after his crunching tackle on Tane Edmed was pu…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
28 Apr 2024, 20:35
Opinion

Super Rugby takes: Brumbies deserve more respect, Highlanders should raid Hurricanes

After ten rounds of Super Rugby Pacific, the top four is yet to be decided while many teams are fighting for their seasons. 

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
28 Apr 2024, 0:42
Opinion

Scott Robertson's strongest possible All Black side

Weighing up form versus experience, and returning players from overseas, how would Scott Robertson's strongest All Black side look…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
23 Apr 2024, 21:11

'Reminds me a bit of Christian Cullen': Ex-All Black makes Love comparison

The Hurricanes impressive fullback Ruben Love is the form No 15 in Super Rugby according to former All Black Justin Marshall.

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
22 Apr 2024, 16:54
Opinion

The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

An AI model trained on enough games of professional rugby will find every weakness or vulnerability in every single player on the …

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
21 Apr 2024, 20:28
Opinion

Jordie Barrett's sabbatical isn't going to make a difference for Super Rugby Pacific

The sabbatical as a retention tool for keeping top All Blacks around has been widely criticised but on-balance is more attractive …

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
20 Apr 2024, 23:56

Crusaders captain Christie urges side to 'get up to the level of Sevu Reece'

Crusaders captain Tom Christie has urged his side to 'get up the level of Sevu Reece' in order to make a playoff push after going …

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
20 Apr 2024, 19:35

'Adults versus kids': Ex-Wallaby says Crusaders are now out of the picture

Former Wallaby Mat Rogers has put a fork through the Crusaders' playoff hopes after the side's 37-15 defeat at the hands of the We…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
20 Apr 2024, 20:07

Hurricanes re-sign pair of locks to extensions

The Hurricanes have re-signed locks Isaia Walker-Leawere and Caleb Delany on long-term deals.

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
17 Apr 2024, 22:01

Super Rugby Pacific: Shades of Larkham in Gordon, Love the complete fullback

We knew he was good, but this season Ruben Love has performed at a new level in 2024. The dynamic fullback burst onto the scene an…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
16 Apr 2024, 17:56
Opinion

Super Rugby takes: Canes surprisingly stronger without Savea, Barrett deal win-win

Round eight of Super Rugby Pacific saw more teams enjoy the bye week with four fixtures on offer, including the game of the round …

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
15 Apr 2024, 17:53

Hurricanes 'special' pack and game-changing bench praised after win

Hurricanes captain Brad Shields has credited the 'game changing' bench for lifting the side to a 36-23 win over the Chiefs.

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
13 Apr 2024, 22:06

Folau Fakatava's verdict on Ajay Faleafaga's first start for Highlanders

Despite the loss there were plenty of positives for the Highlanders with former New Zealand U20 first five-eighth Ajay Faleafaga s…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
13 Apr 2024, 23:34

TJ Perenara on losing Cam Roigard and his battle with Cortez Ratima

TJ Perenara squared off against Chiefs upstart Cortez Ratima in a battle of potential All Black halfbacks as the Hurricanes mainta…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
13 Apr 2024, 18:35
Opinion

Why Ireland has two unofficial world titles and South Africa has none

The Nations Championship will bolster the in-between years of a Rugby World Cup, but there has been an irregular, unofficial world…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
10 Apr 2024, 16:56
Opinion

Super Rugby Pacific: McKenzie the MVP, Chiefs still title favourites

The RugbyPass Round Table writers review the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season at the half-way point in the competition after seven …

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
10 Apr 2024, 20:53

Chiefs new blockbusting No 8 retained for Hurricanes

After the impressive starting debut by Wallace Sititi against Moana Pasifika, the Chiefs have named the young No 8 to play again a…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
09 Apr 2024, 23:47

Hurricanes name strongest team possible to play the Chiefs

After their bye week the Hurricanes have named their top side as they prepare to to play the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday nigh…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
09 Apr 2024, 23:11
Opinion

A radical merger for Super Rugby to revive itself

The revamped Super Rugby Pacific competition, now in its third year, is still trying to capture imagination and relevance post-Sou…

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
07 Apr 2024, 20:41
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