Farmlands Co-operative have teamed up with the Gallagher Chiefs to bring top flight rugby to Te Kuiti on 2nd February.

The Farmlands Rural Legends Shield will pit the two-time Investec Super Rugby champions, the Gallagher Chiefs, against three-time winners the Blues at Te Kuiti’s Rugby Park. The game, which kicks off at 4.00pm, is an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution rural New Zealand has played in shaping our national sport.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Colin Cooper says the team is looking forward to visiting the proud rugby town, in what will be their first pre-season match prior to the Investec Super Rugby season.

“It’s a great opportunity to integrate the new coaching group together, as well as bring some of the new Chiefs into the playing squad and help them get match ready,” he says. “It is great to be working with Farmlands to connect with our rural communities and we are excited to meet our supporters in Te Kuiti.”

Farmlands Chief Executive Peter Reidie says the game will be played on the same park that produced King Country grassroots heroes like the Meads brothers and Paul Mitchell.

“We’ve worked with the Gallagher Chiefs to bring this game to Te Kuiti, as it is the home of one of New Zealand’s greatest ever rugby legends,” he says. “Farmlands was created by and continues to service rural communities just like Te Kuiti. It’s an honour to bring the Rural Legends Shield to town and I hope the local community enjoys seeing this new generation of heroes up close.”

Tickets will be available exclusively to Farmlands shareholders initially, first through an in-store promotion at selected locations. Exclusive pre-sale tickets will be available to Farmlands shareholders from 1st December, before any remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public in January.

 We are in the process of confirming our competition game venues and we will be announcing this shortly.

The CEO of Taranaki Rugby, Michael Collins has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the Chiefs Rugby Club, Chairman, Dallas Fisher announced today.

Michael Collins will take up the role on 18 December 2017 following the departure of CEO, Andrew Flexman.

Collins, 43, has been at the helm of Taranaki Rugby since 2013 and leaves after a stellar 2017 season for Taranaki, who won the Ranfurly Shield and were top qualifiers in the Mitre 10 Cup premiership. He joined Taranaki Rugby in 2008 as the union’s rugby development manager and was also the national provincial championship team’s scrum coach for several seasons.

At a national level, Collins has been involved in the progression of the sport with the NZRFU Respect and Responsibility Review and the Collective Employment Agreement Sub Committees.

Collins, an experienced business leader, rugby coach and player, began his professional rugby career at the Chiefs in 1997 and captained the side in 1999. During his time as CEO, Taranaki Rugby invested in the Chiefs franchise, and through that agreement has hosted regular Super Rugby matches at Yarrow Stadium.

Chiefs Chairman, Dallas Fisher said that after an extensive executive recruitment process the board was delighted to welcome Collins as the Chiefs new CEO.

“He’s a proven and respected CEO and leader who brings both strong business acumen and a high performance sports background to this role. Michael has built an excellent reputation as a leader in professional sport in New Zealand and we’ve had the opportunity to observe his tenure at Taranaki since 2013 with the close ties between the Chiefs and Taranaki Rugby.

“We look forward to welcoming Michael back to the Chiefs and working with him to lead the organisation and execute the Club’s business strategy.”

Collins said he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead the Chiefs.

“I’ve had a close association with the Chiefs, first as a player, then through Taranaki’s connection as a franchise partner, so I have an affinity with Chiefs rugby and am eager to help the organisation to further success,” he said.

“I am proud of the success Taranaki Rugby has achieved in recent years and will use the experience I have gained to make a positive difference in this challenging role of leading a well-performed Super Rugby franchise.”

Collins said he was excited about the opportunities ahead for the Chiefs Rugby Club.

“The Chiefs have a dedicated and experienced new coach in Colin Cooper, exciting young recruits, and a talented core group of players who have played a lot of Super Rugby. So there is plenty of potential for success and growth in the coming years both on the field and off it.”

Dallas Fisher also announced two new independent director appointments to the Chiefs Rugby Club Board. Following a thorough process through the Independent Selection Panel after the resignation of director Bill Osborne and retirement of director Jon Mayson earlier this year, Tonia Cawood and Simon Graafhuis have been appointed to the Board.

Tonia Cawood is an experienced independent chartered director involved in a wide variety of organisations in the sporting, manufacturing and aged care sectors including Rowing New Zealand. She is also the director of her own business advisory company Pro-ject Management.

Simon is the Chief Financial Officer at Gallagher Group Limited. He has been the CFO for the Gallagher Group since 2008 with responsibility for the global finance function. Simon is also a Ministerial appointee on the Waikato University Council and Chair of the University’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Dallas Fisher said the Board is delighted to have directors of this calibre joining the Chiefs and is looking forward to their contribution.

2018 Squad Announcement

  • Seven 2017 All Blacks in the squad
  • Nine 2017 Maori All Blacks
  • 31 returning players from 2017 season 
  • Six new Chiefs players and one returning player
  • 24 players from Chiefs region provincial unions (Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki). 

The Gallagher Chiefs have named an exciting and experienced squad as they enter a new era in 2018.

31 players return from the 2017 season, including Jonathan Taumateine, Alex Nankivell, Aidan Ross, Fin Hoeata and Samisoni Taukei’aho who all impressed as squad replacement players in 2017.

The squad is boosted by seven current All Blacks, featuring stars Brodie Retallick, Damian McKenzie, Sam Cane, Nepo Laulala, Kane Hames, Nathan Harris and Anton Lienert-Brown who have all performed key roles throughout the season.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper is thrilled with the makeup of his new squad and the balance between experience and new players.

“We are very excited about the squad we’ve assembled to the take the Gallagher Chiefs forward into the 2018 season. There’s a high level of experienced players returning in 2018, which combined with the addition of new ambitious and enthusiastic young players completes a great group of men which we’re really looking forward to guiding, developing and working with. For five of these men, it’s a special day for them and their whanau being named in a Super Rugby team for the first time. We congratulate Luke, Tiaan, Tyler, Regan and Levi and their families on this wonderful achievement.

I am also really happy with the coaching team we’ve assembled, with the addition of Tabai Matson completing a group who collectively brings a great deal of experience in Super Rugby, with plenty of technical and tactical knowledge. I am excited about leading this group of players, coaches and management team into the 2018 season.”

Sam Cane is also excited about a fresh look in 2018.

“I’m really excited about some of the changes we have in place. We have a new coaching/management team and new players coming in. I think it’s going to be a squad that’s new, fresh and exciting and I hope we can gel quickly and play some great Chiefs footy. We’re looking forward to it for sure.”

In addition to the high number of returning players for the Gallagher Chiefs, the 2018 squad has six new players vying to make their Investec Super Rugby debuts for the team. These players are Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Luke Jacobson, Tiaan Falcon, Tyler Ardron, Regan Verney and Levi Aumua and add to the experience and depth across the squad.

A familiar face also returns with Chief #250 Marty McKenzie back after a stint down south with the Crusaders.

Waikato’s Luke Jacobson has progressed through the Chiefs Development programme and his squad berth caps off an impressive 2017 for the 20-year old, after captaining the New Zealand u20 side to the World Rugby Championship earlier this year as well as winning the Under 20’s Player of the Year accolade at the 2017 Chiefs Awards.

Luke was thrilled to be named in the team and is keen to get going for the upcoming season.

“It’s really exciting to be a Chief for 2018. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do as a little fella to play for my own region’s Super Rugby team, I’m really excited to be a part of it all. I can’t wait to be part of the environment and work on myself and get better, and hopefully get out on the field and get my first cap for the Chiefs.”

First Five-Eighth Tiaan Falcon was also part of New Zealand u20s winning campaign this season, and has gained experience playing in the Mitre 10 Cup with Hawkes Bay.

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi returns to Chiefs Country after past experience playing for Rotorua Boys High School and the Chiefs Schools U18 teams. Tahuriorangi made the Maori All Blacks squad for the British & Irish Lions match and the current tour to Canada and France.

Regan Verney and Levi Aumua caught the coaches’ eye after impressive performances for Wellington and Tasman respectively in the Mitre 10 Cup. Verney hails from Taranaki and played for New Plymouth Boys High School, before going on to make his Mitre 10 Cup debut this year against Manawatu. Aumua is a powerful back who offers versatility, with the ability to play in the midfield and outside back roles. Aumua capped off an impressive Mitre 10 Cup campaign with a try in the Premiership final against Canterbury.

Canadian forward Tyler Ardron adds more international experience to the squad, having captained Canada at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, as well as playing for Ospreys in Wales. Ardron has integrated nicely to rugby in New Zealand, being part of the Bay of Plenty side who reached the Championship final of the Mitre 10 Cup. Ardron will again link up with forwards coach Neil Barnes whom he worked with during the World Cup with Canada.

24 of the 38-man squad are from the Chiefs region provincial unions of Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.  

We will kick off their 2018 campaign with a heated NZ derby away to fierce rivals the Crusaders. Our first game at home will be against the Bulls on Friday 16 March.

 

PROP:

Aidan Ross

Atunaisa Moli

Kane Hames

Mitchell Graham

Nepo Laulala

Sosefo Kautai

HOOKER:

Liam Polwart

Nathan Harris

Samisoni Taukei’aho

LOCK:

Brodie Retallick

Dominic Bird

Fin Hoeata

Michael Allardice

LOOSE FORWARD:

Lachlan Boshier

Liam Messam

Luke Jacobson

Mitchell Brown

Mitchell Karpik

Sam Cane

Taleni Seu

Tyler Ardron

HALFBACK:

Brad Weber

Jonathan Taumateine

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi

FIRST FIVE EIGHTH:

Damian McKenzie

Marty McKenzie

Tiaan Falcon

MIDFIELD:

Alex Nankivell

Anton Lienert-Brown

Charlie Ngatai

Johnny Faauli

Regan Verney

MIDFIELD/OUTSIDE BACK:

Tim Nanai-Williams

OUTSIDE BACK:

Levi Aumua

Sam McNicol

Shaun Stevenson

Solomon Alaimalo

Toni Pulu

On the eve of the Gallagher Chiefs squad announcement, head coach Colin Cooper has named a highly experienced coaching team to prepare his men for their 2018 Investec Super Rugby title hunt.  Cooper will be joined by returning coaches Neil Barnes, Andrew Strawbridge and Carl Hoeft, with the exciting addition of Tabai Matson completing a quintet that features a combined 70 years of professional coaching experience.
 
“I’m really pleased with the coaching team we’ve assembled to lead the Chiefs in 2018 and beyond. Neil and Andrew have been a core part of the Chiefs success over the past few years so it’s great to have that continuity and their expertise for the Club. Carl finished playing professionally in 2011, so he’s really at the beginning of what will undoubtedly be an impressive coaching career. As a player he was a renowned scrummager, so it’s great to keep him in the coaching ranks with the Chiefs to continue sharing that experience and inspiring our forwards. Tabai is a great coaching acquisition for the Chiefs. His experience coaching at provincial, Super and International levels of the game will add something special to our coaching group. It’s great to connect with Carl and Tabs again having worked with them both with the Maori All Blacks, and I’m really looking forward to working with Neil and Andrew.”
 
Tabai Matson, 44, has an astute rugby mind and an impressive rugby resume. The midfielder made 58 appearances for Canterbury and played 25 games for the Crusaders in the 1990s, before continuing his playing career abroad. Born in Fiji, Matson played two Tests for Fiji at the 1999 Rugby World Cup, a team he also assisted as an attack coach in the 2015 RWC. He also played five matches for the All Blacks before turning his hand to coaching.
 
Matson joined Canterbury as their assistant coach in 2009, a role he held for three seasons before being promoted to head coach in 2012. He led Canterbury to their fifth successive national provincial championship title in his maiden year at the helm. In 2013 he joined the Crusaders coaching team and was also appointed assistant coach of the Maori All Blacks that same year, working alongside Colin Cooper for his three years with the national team.
 
In September Matson announced he was stepping down from his role as head coach of English club Bath in order to return to New Zealand for family reasons. His return home presented an opportunity for the Chiefs who quickly moved to secure the expertise of Matson, with his addition completing Coopers coaching team for 2018 and 2019.
 
Tabai Matson said: “Unfortunately it was illness in my family that drew me back to New Zealand a lot sooner than I had planned.  Although it was disappointing to leave Bath, the unexpected opportunity to be involved with the Chiefs was too good to pass up. I’ve really enjoyed working with Colin historically and we share a lot of similar values which will align closely with the culture of the Chiefs. I’d like to acknowledge Bath for their support during a challenging personal time for my family and I. It’s great to be involved in Super Rugby again and I’m really looking forward to the journey ahead with the Chiefs.”
 
Experienced assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge has re-signed for a further two seasons and will also continue his valued involvement in the Chiefs wider high performance programmes.   
 
“The last six years with the Chiefs Rugby Club have been an exciting time and has been relatively successful in terms of results. With changes in playing roster and team management for 2018, the club has a new exciting look. It was an easy decision to commit to a new contract and climb on board to help maintain the momentum we have developed. Working with Colin, Tabai, Neil and Carl provides me with an opportunity to work with very experienced coaches and I look forward to learning from them.”
 
Current assistant coach Neil Barnes has extended his contract for two years and is looking forward to building on the work they’ve put in during his time with the Club.
 
“I’ve absolutely loved my time at the Chiefs. It’s been challenging but very rewarding, so it was a bit of a no brainer to sign up again when the opportunity was offered. For me, we have unfinished business, having dropped out at the semis two years in a row. We have a large proportion of last year’s squad back and some exciting young men to come in, so it about getting back on the horse, working hard, and finishing the job this coming season.”
 
As well as the two seasons experience as assistant coach of the Gallagher Chiefs, Barnes also spent seven years as forwards coach of the Canadian Maple Leafs, won seven club rugby titles with New Plymouth Old Boys and was the assistant coach for the Taranaki provincial side.
 
Carl Hoeft will continue his role at the Chiefs for the fifth successive season. The former All Black and current assistant coach of the Maori All Blacks worked alongside Cooper with the national side from 2013 – 2017. Hoeft began his coaching career with Waikato Rugby after retiring in 2011 from an impressive playing career, where he achieved 30 caps for the All Blacks and represented Otago and the Highlanders domestically.
 
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue at the Chiefs. Working with good people throughout the organisation is what’s drawn me to continuing working there. It will also be great working with coaches who I respect and trust. Reconnecting with Coops and Tabai who I worked with in the Maori All Blacks in the past will make for a smooth transition. It's an exciting time and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
The Gallagher Chiefs squad will be confirmed on November 1, with the squad commencing pre-season training at the end of November.

The ever-dependable Sam Cane has re committed to the Gallagher Chiefs, signing on for a further four years.

The hardworking forward has put pen to paper this week, extending his contract until the end of the 2021 season.

Entering his seventh season with the Chiefs, Cane is a key part of the team’s leadership, co-captaining the side for the past two seasons and leading them to consecutive semi-final finishes. 

Sam said he was really looking forward to extending his stay in New Zealand and leading the club into a new era.

“Even though I’ve been in the All Blacks for five years now, there is still heaps more I want to achieve in the black jersey. I’m in a leadership role with the All Blacks and the Chiefs and that’s something I enjoy, and I want to contribute any way I can in helping lead and drive both those teams to succeed.”

Incoming Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Colin Cooper said: "Personally, I'm really excited to be working alongside Sam. It's great he's committed to the Chiefs for so long, a team he's already contributed a lot to. As a player he's physical, he's tough, he's a leader and people want to follow him and work with him."

Hailing from small Bay of Plenty town Reporoa, Cane is renowned for his huge workload on the pitch, and his dominance at the breakdown and in open play. He has displayed ruthless consistency throughout his career, establishing himself as a true fan favourite within Chiefs Country.

The loose forward started his Chiefs career in 2009, joining the Chiefs u19 camp, before representing the first Chiefs u19 team later that year. He then made his first-team debut in 2011 at just 18 years old against the Lions in Johannesburg and has gone on to play 95 games for the club, scoring 60 points from 12 tries. He took on the leadership role of co-captain for the 2015 season alongside Aaron Cruden.

At just 25 years of age, Sam has enjoyed an exceptional all round career to date. The former NZ age group Player of the Year has won back to back Investec Super Rugby titles, an u20 Junior World Championship gold medal, and the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He is a mainstay in the All Blacks squad, and has valuable experience captaining the team against Namibia and Italy.

Cane was promoted to the All Blacks leadership group in 2013, which was rare for players not regularly in the starting 15.

BIO:

Sam Cane enters his seventh season with the Gallagher Chiefs and is a key part of the team’s leadership. 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.

The loose-forward has played rep rugby at every level through to the Bay of Plenty Steamers as well as NZ Secondary Schools, NZ Under-20s, Chiefs and the All Blacks.

Sam has co-captained the Gallagher Chiefs with Aaron Cruden for the past two seasons and is a fundamental part of the All Blacks leadership group. He hails from Reporoa in the Bay of Plenty.

Gallagher Chiefs fans can look forward to eight Investec Super Rugby home matches in 2018, including four gripping New Zealand derbies.

The team will kick off the 2018 Investec Super Rugby season away to defending champions the Crusaders before visiting northern neighbours, the Blues.

After these two tough New Zealand battles, the Gallagher Chiefs will host Pretoria-based Bulls in their first of eight home matches.

A first-ever trip to Japan to face the Sunwolves beckons in week five, followed by two huge home NZ derbies with the Highlanders and Blues visiting Chiefs Country in week seven and eight respectively.

The other home NZ-derbies include a bruising showdown between the Crusaders on 2 June, as well as matching up against the Hurricanes in the last round robin game of the season (13 July).

Inter-conference home games will see the Jaguares visit Chiefs Country for the very first time (4 May), as well as two trans-Tasman clashes between the Waratahs (26 May) and Brumbies (7 July). 

The best way for fans to enjoy this feast of Super Rugby is by purchasing a 2018 ALL FOR ONE membership. This includes six home games at FMG Stadium Waikato, as well as a two-day pass to the HSBC NZ Sevens, a free exclusive members gift and much more. You can secure your membership hassle-free here NOW!

Click here for the full draw.

The Chiefs Rugby Club welcome the review findings and we look forward to working with NZ Rugby and our rugby community to achieve the goals identified.

We are committed to playing our part in cultivating an inclusive, diverse and respectful culture in New Zealand rugby.

To read the review, click here. 

The Gallagher Chiefs will kick off 2018 with the defence of their title at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, with the showcase pre-season tournament to be held on Friday 9 and Saturday February 10 at Suncorp Stadium.

Following a hugely popular debut in 2017, the event switches to a day-night format, with matches to begin in the afternoon and run into the evenings.

The Liam Messam-captained Chiefs surged to the title at the inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, defeating the Crusaders in the final after battling past the Queensland Reds in the quarterfinals and South Africa’s Bulls in the semi-finals.

“This year’s tournament was incredible and I can’t wait to get back there again to defend our title in February,” Messam said.

“It was a great fun but also bloody tough, which is exactly what we need at that time of the year. We actually lost our first game to the Rebels so to come back and win it from there was awesome.”

The Gallagher Chiefs were the best-supported club at the 2017 tournament and chief executive Andrew Flexman expected that to continue in 2018.

“Chiefs fans once again showed just how passionate and loyal they are by backing the boys in huge numbers in Brisbane,” Flexman said. “It was a brilliant weekend of rugby – with the perfect result – and 2018 is set to be even bigger and better. I’d encourage our fans to get to Brisbane to experience what is a truly superb weekend of top class rugby.”

The 2018 tournament is set to feature new talent, with French powerhouse club Pau – the current home of former All Blacks Conrad Smith, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor – set to make their debut alongside fellow newcomers Fiji.

“Pau have already confirmed that Conrad Smith will be in their line-up and they’ll be bringing a side stacked full of international talent,” tournament chief executive Rachael Carroll said.

“And we’re also delighted to have Fiji taking part. There was a very strong Fijian presence across the 14 teams last year so it’s fitting that Fiji will now join Samoa, Pau and Japan’s Panasonic Wild Knights at the tournament.

“We’ve got an incredible amount of top class rugby talent lining up to take part - and with the move to a day-night format - Brisbane will be in full party mode. The 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens will be an unmissable event.”

 

Corporate packages can be booked via www.brisbaneglobaltens.com

General admission tickets are on sale from Friday at ticketek.co.nz/brisbanetens

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Andrew Flexman has announced his decision to step down from the role after four years with the club.

Flexman was appointed to the role in 2013 and has led the Club through the transition to private ownership and increased profitability. On the field, the Chiefs have made the playoffs every year since he took up the role.

Chiefs Chairman, Dallas Fisher thanked Flexman for his contribution to the club’s success on and off the field.

“A role like this is 7-days a week during the season. The Board and shareholders thank Andrew for his commitment to the Club and wishes to acknowledge the role he has played in the many achievements of the Club. I have no doubt he will make a success of his next career move. We also thank his family for their support to him in the role over the past four years.”

Flexman said he is proud of what the Club has achieved and says it is well positioned for the future.

“I have loved my time with the Chiefs, but it now feels like the right time to hand over the reins. I would like to thank the Board, staff, players, sponsors and stakeholders for making my time at the Club rewarding and enjoyable.”

Flexman said he’ll finish at the club on Friday, 8 September 2017 and is looking forward to a break post season to pursue new opportunities.

Dallas Fisher said The Chiefs will begin the process to recruit the Club’s next CEO.

Two talented young rugby players with immensely promising futures have signed with the Gallagher Chiefs. 2017 World Rugby Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20s captain Luke Jacobson has committed to the Chiefs until 2020, and his NZ U20s teammate - exceptional playmaker Tiaan Falcon, has signed for two years.

Incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said: “We are really rapt that Luke and Tiaan will be joining us for the next few years. These are two exceptional signings for the Club which secure the future of the Chiefs. I’m pretty excited to work with both these young men who are quality players with huge potential.”

“It has always been a dream of mine to be a Chief,” said 20-year-old loose forward Luke Jacobson. “I had a small taste of it this year, being a part of the Chiefs team to play in the Global Brisbane 10s tournament and also attending some trainings throughout the year and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”

Tiaan Falcon, 20, said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity with the Chiefs, especially being able to develop my game at 1st five. I’ve heard really good things about the culture and the people at the Chiefs so I’m looking forward to getting there and really embracing this opportunity later in the year.”

Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobson is forging an impressive rugby career. Born in Te Awamutu and raised in Cambridge, Jacobson attended Cambridge High School, earning selection for the New Zealand Schools team in 2014. In 2016 he captained the Waikato U19s in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19s Tournament, leading his team to Graham Mourie Cup victory and being awarded Player of the Tournament in the process. Jacobson has experienced the Chiefs development pathways firsthand, having played for the Chiefs U20s team and the University of Waikato Taua Development team, with the latter captained by his older brother Mitch. This year he received the Chiefs Under 20s Player of the Year award. The 20-year-old was a prominent figure in the Gallagher Chiefs Brisbane Global Rugby Tens squad, scoring a superb individual try in the final against the Crusaders.

Exciting first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon was a standout for the New Zealand U20s at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia this year. The accomplished goal kicker was born in Penrith, Australia and moved to New Zealand at age two. He is the son of former Maori All Black and Hurricanes representative Gordon Falcon and is a product of Lindisfarne College in Hastings. In 2016 at just 19 years old, Falcon made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for Hawke’s Bay, demonstrating great composure and tactical nous in his 10 appearances last year. He is set to play a pivotal role for Hawke’s Bay again this season and further develop his halfback/1st five partnership with Hawke’s Bay and Gallagher Chiefs teammate Brad Weber.

Three spirited and skillful halfbacks have signed with the Gallagher Chiefs for 2018. The Chiefs welcome Rotorua-born Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi who will join the team on a two-year term. The 22-year-old Taranaki halfback has just completed his second season of Investec Super Rugby with the Hurricanes. Tahuriorangi completes the trio of exciting number 9 signings, with experienced Hawke’s Bay halfback Brad Weber, 26, committing to the Gallagher Chiefs until 2020 and promising young Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine signing for two more years.

Incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said: “We’ve secured a great balance of experience and x-factor with the signings of Brad, Te Toiroa and Jonathan. Having worked with Brad in the Maori All Blacks and with Te Toiroa in Taranaki for the past few years, I’m excited and have a lot of confidence in what they’ll bring to the Chiefs in 2018 and beyond. I’m really looking forward to working with Jonathan, at just 20-years of age he has a big future ahead of him and will create great competition amongst our three halfbacks for the starting spot.” 

Jonathan Taumateine, 20, said he was excited to continue his rugby journey with the Gallagher Chiefs.

“It’s been a really enjoyable and challenging year for me experiencing my first season of Super Rugby with the Chiefs. I’ve learned a lot this season and I’m excited to continue learning and growing in the Chiefs environment both as a player and as a person.”

“I’m pumped to announce I've re-signed with the Chiefs,” said experienced Gallagher Chiefs halfback Brad Weber. “The Chiefs gave me my first opportunity as an unknown player four years ago and I'm really looking forward to carrying on playing for this team that I love. The culture here is second to none and there’s no place I’d rather be as I strive to reach the goals I've set for the next few years."

It’s a homecoming for Tahuriorangi who cited family as his main motivator for the move north.

“Coops [Colin Cooper] has really driven the importance of whanau in my time being coached by him, both in Taranaki and with the Maori All Blacks. Rugby is important but family is the reason for everything, so to be able to be based nearer Rotorua and to continue my Super Rugby career in an environment where whanau is number one and I can keep growing as a player is exciting.”

Dynamic halfback Brad Weber has played 41 Investec Super Rugby games for the Gallagher Chiefs to date. He was a mainstay in the Gallagher Chiefs team in 2016 and played a starring role in his side’s celebrated win over Wales. Weber had a breakout year in 2015, earning his All Blacks debut against Samoa in Apia, as well as being a key performer for the Ranfurly Shield-winning Waikato side. Weber is a former Junior World Champion, having won the Title with the New Zealand U20s side in 2011. His 2017 on-field aspirations suffered a set-back when he fractured his femur during this year’s inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens final. The 26-year-old will make his highly anticipated return to rugby for Hawke’s Bay in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup competition.

2017 has been a year of growth for Jonathan Taumateine. He has made six strong appearances for the Gallagher Chiefs in the Investec Super Rugby competition, boasting an 87% tackle completion rate. The Counties Manukau halfback was part of the side that won the inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens competition, and came off the bench to face the British & Irish Lions team in June.  The 20-year-old is a Wesley College graduate known for his quick feet and high skillset.

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi is a product of Rotorua Boys High School. He was a key member of his Schools 1st XV, with his strong performances earning him selection into the Chiefs U17s squad. In 2014, Tahuriorangi moved to New Plymouth to join the Taranaki Rugby Academy. Impressive performances in 2015 saw Tahuriorangi selected for the New Zealand U20s team and the New Zealand Barbarians; he then made the Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup team, which capped off a stellar year. The 22-year-old has spent two seasons at the Hurricanes, starting against the British & Irish Lions, as well as making 10 appearances in Super Rugby to date. The promising halfback also has experience playing under Colin Cooper with Taranaki, as well as being named in the Maori All Blacks squad for the 2017 DHL New Zealand Lions Series. 

The Gallagher Chiefs’ 2017 season has come to an end at the hands of an impressive Crusaders side, going down 27-13 in a tough and physical semi-final at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

Despite having very little possession and being forced to defend for most of the match, the clinical Crusaders still managed to produce four tries, to the Chiefs one, to book their spot in next weekend’s Super Rugby final.

The Chiefs got off to a strong start, controlling the opening 10 minutes of the match with plenty of territory and possession, but the Crusaders muscled up on defence to shut them down, which proved to be a theme throughout the encounter.

After absorbing the early pressure, the home side moved swiftly downfield with the Chiefs doing well to keep them out. Eventually a penalty was won as the Chiefs were caught offside defending on their own goal line, and first five Richie Mo’unga was successful with his first kick of the night.

Not long after the restart the Crusaders launched a superb counter attack from their own 22, with several players involved and halfback Bryn Hall the man to take the last pass to score a fine team try.

Trailing 10-0 after the opening quarter of play, the Chiefs needed a quick response and it looked to have come through wing Tim Nanai-Williams who finished off after a neat James Lowe chip and chase, but the try was ruled out by the TMO for a knock on over the line.

They did manage to come away with something to show for their efforts however as fullback Damian McKenzie landed a penalty to get his side on the scoreboard.

Another strong period with ball in hand from the Chiefs saw them build further pressure with the Crusaders successfully defending wave after wave of attack. But with just two minutes left in the half McKenzie managed to land another simple penalty attempt, and the gap was narrowed to just four points.

To end the first half, the Chiefs produced another scintillating breakout from inside their own territory, with McKenzie and Lowe again heavily involved, but the Crusaders scrambled superbly again to deny them, and they went into the break hanging on to their slim 10-6 lead.

After a positive start to the second half, the Chiefs were unfortunate to concede a try at the other end against the run of play. With Lowe looking to clear for touch after a loose pass, the ball was knocked out of his grasp by Mo’unga and Israel Dagg was on hand to collect the ball and score.

The Dagg try seemed to give the home side a lift as they enjoyed the better of the following 10 minutes, but like the first half they struggled to hold onto the ball - until Seta Tamanivalu came into his own against his former team. After initially being held up over the line, the big winger came from the blindside off the resulting five metre scrum to crash his way over the line.

Mo’unga’s conversion took the scoreline out to 22-6, leaving the Chiefs a huge task as the match headed into the final quarter.

Needing to score three times in the final 20 minutes to keep their season alive, the Chiefs began to throw caution to the wind which resulted in some spectacular running rugby but ultimately for little gain as the defence of the home side continued to deny them.

With yet another phase of attack thwarted, the Crusaders set about working their way downfield and, at the end of one of their longest periods of possession in the match, Tamanivalu found a fraction of space on the right hand touchline to touch down in the tackle for his second try.

As the clock wound down the Chiefs didn’t stop trying and were rewarded with two minutes remaining when centre Anton Lienert-Brown burst onto a pass and spun his way into a gap before popping a well-timed pass in the tackle for lock Brodie Retallick to score.

McKenzie quickly added the extras to narrow the deficit to 14, but the Crusaders held possession for the remaining few moments to seal a deserved win.

Gallagher Chiefs 13 (Brodie Retallick try; Damian McKenzie con, 2 pens) Crusaders 27 (Seta Tamanivalu 2, Israel Dagg, Bryn Hall tries; Richie Mo’unga 2 cons, pen) HT: 6-10.