Chiefs Logo

The Chiefs Rugby Club was founded in 1996 for the inaugural Super 12 season. The team, initially called the Waikato Chiefs, was one of the five New Zealand professional rugby unions (alongside the Hurricanes, Crusaders, Blues and Highlanders) who joined the competition and remain part of it still today.

Based in Hamilton, New Zealand the Chiefs’ primary home ground is FMG Stadium Waikato which is central to the six provincial unions that make up Chiefs Country. Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Counties Manukau are regions that play in the National Provincial Championship (NPC), with Thames Valley and King Country competing in the Heartland Championship.

The Chiefs field three main teams now, the Gallagher Chiefs who compete in DHL Super Rugby Pacific, the Chiefs Manawa who compete in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and their age-group team the University of Waikato Chiefs U20s.

The Chiefs teams play in red, black and yellow colours with jerseys in recent years having strong Māori cultural elements to tie the club to its region. Māori culture, values and traditions are also a cornerstone of the club’s culture, implemented during Dave Rennie’s time as head coach and continued by current head coach Clayton McMillan.

Our History

• Chiefs founded for the inaugural Super 12 season. Known as the Waikato Chiefs in the early years

• Winger Roger Randle sets the franchise record for most tries in a season (12) from 11 appearances.

• Chiefs qualify for a Super Rugby semi-final for the first time

• Become finalists for the first time but lose to the Bulls 61-17

• Dave Rennie was named as head coach and Wayne Smith as assistant coach
• Chiefs claimed their first title by beating the Sharks 37-6 at home.

• Chiefs became the fourth team ever to win back-to-back titles
• Win the BNZ Cup for being the New Zealand team with the best record in intra-conference matches.
• Taranaki shifts affiliation from Hurricanes to join Chiefs

• First NZ Super Rugby franchise to defeat an international team when they defeat Wales 40-7.
• Gallagher comes on board as principal partner, naming rights sponsor and front-of-jersey sponsor of the Chiefs

• Wales head coach Warren Gatland named as Gallagher Chiefs head coach.
• Chiefs break record for most consecutive playoff appearances by a Super Rugby team (8)

• Loose Forward Liam Messam sets the franchise record for most games played (183)
• Clayton McMillan named as Interim Head Coach for Gallagher Chiefs. The team went on to face Crusaders for the Super Rugby Aotearoa final.
• Chiefs Manawa play first women’s Super Rugby match against the Blues at Eden Park

• Super Rugby Aupiki competition was established with Chiefs Manawa taking out the inaugural title under coach Allan Bunting going unbeaten all season.

• Gallagher Chiefs win a franchise record 10 games in a row, one more than the 2012 season 9 games in a row.
• Gallagher Chiefs host Super Rugby Pacific final for the first time since 2013 at FMG Stadium Waikato
• All Black and Gallagher Chiefs captain Sam Cane celebrates his 150th game at the Super Rugby Pacific final becoming the second most capped Chief of all time.
• Chiefs Manawa continued their unbeaten streak until the Super Rugby Aupiki final against Matatū where they were defeated 33-31.

• Gallagher Chiefs set franchise record for most tries in a game (10) and biggest winning margin (68-12) against Moana Pasifika at FMG Stadium Waikato