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The Chiefs Rugby Club was founded in 1996 as the Waikato Chiefs for the inaugural Super 12 season. The Chiefs are one of five New Zealand professional rugby union sides who play in the Super Rugby competition. Based in Hamilton, New Zealand, the Chiefs primary home ground is FMG Stadium Waikato. The Chiefs play in a unique jersey with black, red and yellow colours a visual representation of the Chiefs Country region.

In 2004 the Chiefs claimed their first semi-final spot against the Brumbies and in 2009 made their first grand final appearance, coming up short against the Bulls in Pretoria. The Chiefs then went on to win back to back Super Rugby Championships in 2012 & 2013 under Head Coach Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith.

In 2016 the Chiefs became the first New Zealand Super Rugby franchise to defeat an international team under Head Coach Dave Rennie.

In 2019 they broke the record for most consecutive playoff appearances by a Super Rugby team with an impressive 8th consecutive appearance.

On May 1, 2021 history was made when the Chiefs Women faced the Blues Women at Eden Park in New Zealand's first ever women’s Super Rugby match. The Chiefs Women were captained by Black Fern forward Les Elder and dominated the historic match, defeating the Blues Women 39 - 12.

Our History

The Chiefs were founded in 1995 as the Waikato Chiefs for the inaugural Super 12 season in 1996. Prior to the Super 12, the Super 10 competition had been in place, which NPC teams took part in, including Waikato. In the first year of competition the Chiefs placed 6th in the overall standings, missing out on making the finals; winning 6 of their 11 regular season matches. The following season the Chiefs placed 11th, winning 4 games and losing 7. In 1998 the Chiefs performed closer to the standard of their 1996 season and placed at 7th in the final standings. In 1999 the side were able to do one better and claimed 6th position on the ladder but were still yet to make the playoffs.

In 2000 the Chiefs won 3 of their regular season games and finished the regular season in 10th place. The following season the team equalled their best position again – finishing 6th. In 2002 the team won 4 games and lost 7 to finish in 8th position, and the season after, 2003 Super 12 season, fell to a 10th place finish. But the season after, the Chiefs won 7 regular season games and came 4th on the ladder – claiming the first semi-final spot in their history. The Chiefs lost the semi-final against the Brumbies. In 2005 the team finished 6th. In 2006, the Super 12 expanded to the Super 14, with the addition of a new Australian and South African club. The Chiefs won 7 of their 13 games and drew once with 5 losses to come 7th. In 2009, the Chiefs made their second ever semi-final, defeating the Hurricanes 14 – 10 to advance to the final for the first time. They lost the final to the Bulls by the biggest-ever margin of 61–17. In the 2010 and 2011 seasons, they were unable to replicate their form of 2009, missing the playoffs in both seasons.

In 2012, following the disappointing results of previous years, the Chiefs underwent a significant change in personnel. This included the recruitment of new coaches, including Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith, and players, including Aaron Cruden, Ben Tameifuna, Brodie Retallick and Sonny Bill Williams. The changes had an immediate impact as the Chiefs finished at the top of the New Zealand conference, qualifying for a home semi-final, which they won, defeating the Crusaders 20–17. They subsequently hosted the final for the first time in the teams's history, comprehensively defeating the Sharks by 37 – 6, claiming their first title. They also set many club records in the 2012 season, including: most home wins, best home streak, best season winning streak, and most points and tries scored.

In 2013, the Chiefs became the fourth team to record back-to-back title wins. Under the duo of Head Coach Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith the club defeated the Brumbies 27–22 in the Super Rugby final at Waikato Stadium.

The Brumbies led early in the final and were ahead 16–9 at half-time following a converted try and three penalties. After penalties were exchanged from both sides early in the second half, the Brumbies were ahead 22–12, before the Chiefs scored two tries and a penalty to take the lead 27–22 with seven minutes remaining. The Brumbies were unable to respond, and the Chiefs went on to win their second consecutive Super Rugby title.

They also won the BNZ Cup, a new trophy established by the NZRU for the New Zealand side with the best record in intra-conference matches.

In 2016 the Gallagher Chiefs played a touring Wales side, winning the one-off encounter 40-7. In doing so they became the first New Zealand Super Rugby franchise to defeat an international team under Chiefs Head Coach Dave Rennie. Wales faced the Gallagher Chiefs under Head Coach Warren Gatland who in 2019 was announced as the Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach for the 2020 Super Rugby season.

In 2019 they broke the record for most consecutive playoff appearances by a Super Rugby team with an impressive 8th consecutive appearance.

Chiefs Huddle