November 08, 2023

Crystal Kaua to head Chiefs Manawa coaching team

The Chiefs Rugby Club today announced that Crystal Kaua has re-signed as head coach for the Chiefs Manawa in 2024.

Previously the Set Piece coach for the side, Kaua took over the top job from Allan Bunting in 2023. In her first season, the team had an unbeaten run to only go down to Matatū in the nail-biting final.

Kaua coached alongside a successful playing career where she was part of the wider Black Ferns squad. Kaua and her husband, Brent, led Hamilton Girls High to three consecutive Condor Sevens national titles and 2 Super Four National 15s titles, going on to spend time with Auckland Rugby, Cook Islands Sevens, and professionally with the Mie Pearls in Japan.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis said: “It is great to have Crystal back on board. She has been instrumental in developing the culture within this team and driving progression within the women’s game. We look forward to seeing her work continue.”

Her aptitude to play both sevens and 15’s transferred to her coaching too where she has successfully mentored teams in both codes. Kaua previously held a skills coach and performance analyst role with the Black Ferns Sevens and is currently with the Black Ferns as part of her World Rugby Internship.

“This region means a lot to me, I have spent thousands of hours on the grass as a player and coach, deeply connected to the high school, club and provincial teams that I have been a part of.

It’s always a privilege to whakamana a group of wāhine toa. The final was tough last year but we know every player and staff member that went through that will come into this season better, there will be another layer of edge, of resilience, of hunger, of connectedness. That was our first loss in our three year history. Personally, it’s made me dig deep over the off season, look hard at myself and how I can be better, and how we as a management and team can be better.

We have a skilled and uncompromising playing group, who by nature play with both brutality and beauty. Ultimately we want to dominate rugby and grow mana in the process, for our players and our management, for our communities and women’s rugby as a whole. ”

From 2024, the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season will feature an extended preseason, six games of round-robin and a final. Fans can be there for all the action with a Chiefs Rugby Club membership that gives them access to all Chiefs Manawa and Gallagher Chiefs home games at FMG Stadium Waikato. Available now from

The Sky Super Rugby Aupiki draw, Chiefs Manawa squad, and the rest of the Chiefs Manawa coaching squad will be announced later this year.

2024 Chiefs Memberships On Sale NOW

Crystal Kaua to head Chiefs Manawa coaching team