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In the 46th minute of the first test of the All Blacks June series against France, Gallagher Chiefs prop Karl Tu’inukuafe came on for his All Blacks debut at Eden Park, the same stadium he made his Chiefs debut for just over three months ago.

A thunderous scrum followed led by Karl in the front row, and at the close of play, Karl Tu’inukuafe had passed his first international test with flying colours.

Not one person could have foreseen the remarkable rise Karl has made in the last three months. Coming in as injury cover for the Gallagher Chiefs, the humble prop had trained with the team throughout pre-season and was deservedly awarded a place in the team as an injury replacement player where he made his debut against the Blues at the start of the month. 

A Chiefs fan from his high school days, Karl couldn’t believe he was finally putting on the Chiefs colours and taking the field.

“I never thought I’d get the chance to step on the field and make my debut against the Blues. It was a dream come true because at high school I was always a big fan of the Chiefs, it was such a special feeling.”

The Chiefs culture has stood out to Karl since he has been in the team environment and he noted that emphasis on the team and not the individual.

“The culture at the Chiefs is unreal. I guess playing is something that every player knows what to do, and the brotherhood here helps to push you further.

“Everyone is really helpful. No one is out for themselves and they care about the team, we all back each other.”

A highlight for Karl this season has been the travel and seeing different parts of the world such as Japan and South Africa.

“I loved going overseas and seeing different parts of the world that I definitely wouldn’t have if I wasn’t playing right now. I’ve loved seeing South Africa and Japan. Playing in Cape Town was unreal with the crowd over there.”

The powerful prop commented on how strong fans support of the team is and the loyalty they show.

“Even before I made my debut for the team, I notice that the Chiefs fans are some of the most loyal around, win or lose, the support is unreal from the fans here.”

And when the call up for the All Blacks came, it was such a surreal moment for Karl, one he struggled to believe was true.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I thought it was someone playing a joke! When I knew it was serious, I was so happy.”

Out of rugby, Karl mentions he is a sweet tooth, and that it was a highlight to try out sweets he hadn’t had before in South Africa!

“I am a bit of a sweet tooth! I remember when I was in South Africa, I was trying sweet food I haven’t had before – it was unreal.” Laughs Karl.

Karl is in the All Blacks squad for the remaining two games of the June International series against France, where he will then link back up with the Gallagher Chiefs squad for the last three round robin home games of the season against the Highlanders, Brumbies and Hurricanes.

The Investec Super Rugby 2019 Draw has today been confirmed, with the Gallagher Chiefs kicking off at home in the opening match of the competition in a gripping New Zealand derby, on Friday the 15th of February against southern foes the Highlanders.

The Gallagher Chiefs will again face all the New Zealand teams home and away with home derbies to be played against the Hurricanes in Round 5, Blues in Round 9, and the Crusaders in Round 16 for a fiery last round robin home game of the season.

We are excited to welcome the Sunwolves back to Chiefs Country in Round 3 and also host the Lions, Sharks and Reds. It will be the first time facing off at home against these tough South African opposition since 2016.  

A tough and intriguing international tour beckons where the team will face the Bulls in South Africa, before travelling to Argentina to take on the Jaguares.

The Investec Super Rugby competition structure will run uninterrupted for 21 weeks as there is no June inbound international matches in 2019 due to the World Cup in Japan. That will make for an action packed Round Robin series for fans to enjoy with the playoffs beginning on the 22 June, with the final to be played on Saturday 6 July.

The Chiefs Rugby Club are currently working on securing the eight home game venues and will let fans know these as soon as they are confirmed.

Get ahead of the game with a great membership offer for 2019 – all the best Investec Super Rugby in Chiefs Country plus the Sevens and a bonus of the last two round robin home games of the 2018 season at FMG Stadium Waikato facing the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. Visit chiefs.co.nz for more information.


The Gallagher Chiefs will play the Hurricanes on Hicks Park at the TSB Hub in Hawera, on Thursday 21 June.

This is the farthest south the Chiefs Rugby Club have taken a game.  The Club felt it was a fitting location for two passionate teams to go head to head and acknowledge the immense contribution to rugby of Hawera local Craig Norgate. 

South Taranaki District Mayor Ross says it was a real coup that Hawera was able to secure the match which would be played as a midseason ‘friendly’ game during the international window of the Investec Super Rugby season, while the All Blacks were playing France.

“It’s fantastic to see the Super Rugby clubs returning to the provincial grass roots and giving fans, both young and old, the opportunity to see these elite players play on their home turf,” says Mayor Dunlop. “And given the history of the Hurricanes and Chiefs Super Rugby clubs in the region, I’m sure there will be strong support for both teams.”

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper was looking forward to visiting the strong rugby community.

“We are really looking forward to visiting Hawera to play the Hurricanes and meet the passionate Taranaki fans. It’s a great opportunity to get some game time and preparation under our belt in the June break before we go to Fiji to face the Highlanders. We’re excited to come to Hawera and to bring a game to the Taranaki region and it’ll be special to commemorate past Chiefs board member Craig Norgate for this game.  Craig was a deeply competitive, intelligent and passionate man and it is fitting to play a game in the same spirit in his home town.”

Taranaki Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Jeremy Parkinson was thrilled to see the Gallagher Chiefs visiting the region and displaying the pathway from province to Super Rugby. 

"The Taranaki Rugby Football Union are looking forward to the Chiefs travelling to our region and taking a game against the Hurricanes out into our community.  As a stakeholder in the club it is important that we stay connected and showcase the pathway through the province into Super Rugby.  We have a significant number of Taranaki players in the Chiefs and it will be good to see them on display in Hawera later in the month playing in the region that developed and promoted them to this level."

The Gallagher Chiefs team are looking forward to meeting many fans throughout South Taranaki and New Plymouth over the two days.

The Gallagher Chiefs and Hurricanes share a fierce rivalry, and will be using this match as motivation to prepare for the business end of the season. The teams will then face off again in the final round of the Investec Super Rugby competition on Friday 13 July in Hamilton.

The game starts at 1pm on Thursday 21 June and entry is free. 

The Chiefs Rugby Club is launching its new Alumni programme created by Gallagher Chiefs players Brodie Retallick, Liam Messam and Stephen Donald.

The Alumni programme is for players and ex-players of the Chiefs Rugby Club along with team management and staff who have worked for the Chiefs for over five years.

The main purpose of the programme is to raise funds for Alumni members and their families who may fall on hard times or need financial assistance accessing personal or professional development tools.

This year the Alumni programme is raising funds for the five children of late Gallagher Chiefs player #120 Sione Lauaki. We would like to gift a trust account which Sione’s children can draw on for education and training purposes.

This Alumni fundraising event will be hosted by Gallagher Chiefs players and high profile ex-Chiefs including Ian Jones, Richard Turner, Errol Brain and more to be announced. There will be entertainment and live and silent auctions organised and donated by the players themselves.

A table is purchased for nine guests with the tenth guest being a Gallagher Chiefs player hosting you for the evening. Montana Catering are proudly sponsoring all food and beverage for the evening including a table served main meal and dessert and a selection of New Zealand’s premium beer and wine brands.

Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato
Date: Tuesday 3rd July, 5.30pm - 10.30pm
Cost: $1600+GST per table of 9

Download Booking Form Here

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For more information or if you cannot attend the event please contact:

Kate Shirtcliff

Sponsorship Manager

021 224 7898

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A Chiefs Women’s Sevens team has returned from Nanjing, China after a week of extensive training and matches with the Jiangsu women’s sevens team.

In a special first for a New Zealand Super Rugby Club, the Chiefs sent a Women’s Sevens team to China to train and play with the Jiangsu team with the aim of assisting in their rugby development in preparation for Jiangsu’s berth at the 2019 Women’s World Sevens Series.

The team came about through a collaborative effort between New Zealand Women’s Sevens, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Taranaki & Counties Manukau to field a squad and support staff that travelled over to the province of Jiangsu in China.

Chiefs CEO Mike Collins spoke of his excitement at seeing the project succeed.

“It was really exciting to bring this project together. This opportunity has afforded the Chiefs Rugby Club to assemble a Chiefs Women’s Team. Spending some time with the team in China, it is hard, not to appreciate, the player’s athleticism, work ethic and pride they took in representing the Chiefs Rugby Club.”

The partnership between the Chiefs Rugby Club and Jiangsu was formed in February, where the Chiefs hosted the Chinese team. They were preparing for important matches against Shandong, the number one ranked team in China, where the winner of these games would represent China at the World Sevens Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

Following this experience in Hamilton, Jiangsu went on to beat Shandong two games to one, dethroning Shandong who had been the champions for the last eight years. Jiangsu then represented China at the Hong Kong tournament, where they played exceptionally well and ended up remarkably beating South Africa in the final to gain entry to the 2019 Women’s World Series.

Collins was thrilled by the progress Jiangsu had made since the partnership began.

“It was encouraging to witness the gains the Jiangsu team had made since the Chiefs started working with them in February. To see them beat Shandong, the reigning champions and qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Series was great.”

Chiefs Women’s player Huia Harding spoke of how special it was to represent the Chiefs jersey in China.

“Having a strong interest in the Chiefs, it was a huge honour to put on the Chiefs jersey and represent the team. It was really cool to get out there and connect with the Jiangsu girls and play rugby which we love to do.”

Harding also spoke of the skill and athleticism the Jiangsu team displayed.

“We saw the girls train a couple of days before we played them. They’re fit, strong and talented players. There was so much mutual respect and they were great rugby players. They play a different style of rugby for us and it was great experience for us as players to experience.”

Chiefs team coach Paul Williams witnessed rugby and the Chiefs culture to be a vehicle to bring the two cultures together.

“It was apparent how the Chiefs culture helped to break down barriers and bring us together. The Chinese girls all wished us well and commented how much they enjoyed working with us. It was bigger than the game and it really showed how rugby can bring cultures together.”

Jiangsu also appreciated the skill and experience the Chiefs team brought with them and Williams was delighted at how they represented the Chiefs brand.

“The Jiangsu team were really appreciative of the calibre of players that we brought over and the opportunity to train and better themselves through working and playing against our girls. I was proud to see the girls represent the Chiefs jersey with so much pride and they were a real credit to our brand.”

The Chiefs Rugby Club and Jiangsu are planning further training and player opportunities in the future.

“In conjunction with our Provincial Union partners, it will be good to continue the ongoing conversation of how we can assist Provincial Unions in the development of women’s rugby in the Chiefs region an how we can continue to capitalise on the Jiangsu partnership” said Collins.

The Chiefs Women’s team which travelled to China was:

Paul Williams - Coach
Tony Burgess - Trainer
Kendall Stevenson - Physio

Tiana Davison
Huia Harding
Natahlia Moors
Jessie Aitken-Fowell
Rhiarna Ferris
Shiray Tane
Alena Saili


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Sam Cane
Full Name: Sam Cane
Team: Chiefs
Position:Loose forward
Super Rugby Games:95
Super Rugby Points:60 (12t)
Super Rugby Debut:2011 v Lions in Johannesburg
Province:Bay of Plenty
Provincial Games:19
Provincial Points:25 (5t)
Provincial Debut:2010 v Auckland in Mt Maunganui
Test Caps:50
Test Points:60 (12t)
Test Debut:2012 v Ireland in Christchurch
Facebook ID:456670991114990
Twitter Username:SamCane7
Youtube:Sam Cane

"A player with immense talent and leadership qualities, Sam has been a vital member of the squad for the past seven seasons. Sam has been co-captain of the team with Aaron for the past two seasons."- The Chiefs

Sam enters his seventh season with the Chiefs and is a key part of the team’s leadership co-captaining the side for the third successive season.  On the back of a stellar Super Rugby season in 2016 he collected  the Chiefs Players’ Player of the Year and showed many mature performances in his role as co-captain.   

The talented loose forward has won two Investec Super Rugby titles, the 2015 Rugby World Cup, a U20 Junior World Championship gold medal and is a former New Zealand Rugby Age Group Player of the Year.

If you weren’t a rugby player, what would you be doing?
Guitarist in a rock band

Who was your favourite player as a kid?
Jeff Wilson

What event would you go to the Olympics for … No sevens allowed!
Beach Volleyball

Favourite sportsperson outside rugby?
Roger Federer

Forwards- What position would you put yourself in the backline and why?
Backs- What position would you put yourself in the forward pack and why?

Second Five

What’s your go to meal in the kitchen?
Creamy Chicken Fettucine

What’s your mum’s best meal for her boy?
Roast Lamb

Who is the best singer in the team?
Nathan Harris

Favourite movie quote?
Life is a game of inches, so is football –Al Pacino-Any given Sunday

What would you spend your last $10 on?
Two handles of beer for me and a mate

2018 Investec Super Rugby Table

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