|World Rugby affiliation||1949|
|Men's coach||Ian Foster|
|Women's coach||Glenn Moore|
|Sevens coach||Men's: Clark Laidlaw|
Women's: Allan Bunting / Cory Sweeney
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is the governing body of rugby union in New Zealand. It was founded in 1892 as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU), 12 years after the first provincial unions in New Zealand. In 1949 it became an affiliate to the International Rugby Football Board, now known as World Rugby, the governing body of rugby union for the world. It dropped the word "Football" from its name in 2006. The brand name New Zealand Rugby was adopted in 2013.Officially, it is an incorporated society with the name New Zealand Rugby Union Incorporated.
The organisation's main objectives, as displayed in the NZR Constitution,are to promote and develop rugby throughout New Zealand; arrange and participate in matches and tours in New Zealand and overseas; represent New Zealand in World Rugby; form and manage New Zealand representative teams; and encourage participation in the sport. NZR Headquarters are located in Wellington, New Zealand, with an office in Auckland.
New Zealand Rugby has a staff of approximately 90 people, mostly based in Wellington and Auckland but also working in locations all around New Zealand.
NZR was initially governed by a committee of delegates from the provincial unions until replaced in 1894 by a seven-member Wellington-based management committee. Administrative responsibilities were initially held by honorary secretaries, and then secretaries, from 1907. This was expanded 43 years later to create two entities, the ruling NZRU Council and an executive committee. In 1986, three geographical zones were formed to elect the members of the ruling council, and the executive committee was replaced by an administration committee. Since 1990, the NZRU has been managed by a CEO.
In 1996, the NZRU's ruling council was replaced by an expanded board to include independent members and an elected Maori representative. In 2015, the geographical zones were abolished so that vacant elective seats on the board could be contested by nominees from any provincial union in New Zealand without restriction on place of residence.
New Zealand Rugby's Patron fills an honorary role as the figurehead for the organisation. The position of Patron is currently vacant following the death of Sir Brian Lochore in August 2019.
The President and Vice President are the Union's two officers who represent New Zealand Rugby at functions and events. Unlike the Patron, the President and Vice President may attend board meetings of New Zealand Rugby, although they are not entitled to vote on board matters. The President and Vice President are elected for two years each. The current President is Bill Osborne and the current Vice President is Max Spence.
The Board is charged with setting strategy, direction and policy for the New Zealand Rugby Union, and is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of NZRU management and staff. Many of the decisions concerning New Zealand's national teams, domestic competitions, financial management and rugby traditions are made by the Board.
As of September 2018, the Board has nine members: six elected members (including one Maori representative) and three independent members. Any provincial union in New Zealand may nominate candidates for vacant elective positions.Nominations are passed to an Appointments and Remuneration Committee (ARC) which recommends two candidates per vacancy, to be voted on by delegates at the Annual General Meeting. The Maori representative is automatically appointed as New Zealand Rugby's representative on and Chairman of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board.
The independent board members must be independent of any provincial union and are not nominated for the role. Instead, independent members must apply for the position and are selected on the basis of their professional qualifications and experience by a committee from the Board of New Zealand Rugby.
New Zealand Rugby's management and staff reports to an executive team headed by the Chief Executive Officer. This team includes various managers for all aspects of New Zealand Rugby ranging from community and provincial rugby to the All Blacks teams.The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), working with the Board, is responsible for the establishment of the vision and strategy for the organisation, and acts as the key link between the Board and the staff. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the administrative and operational aspects of New Zealand Rugby. The current CEO is Mark Robinson, who took up the post in January 2020, succeeding Steve Tew.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) was formed in 1892 to administer the game of rugby union at the national level. At that time, the national union was known as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union or NZRFU. The name was officially shortened in 2006 with the removal of the word "Football". The brand name New Zealand Rugby was adopted in 2013 for "everyday" use because it was seen as less "stuffy"and the word "Union" had some negative connotations.
The first rugby match to be played in New Zealand took place in Nelson in May 1870, between Nelson College and Nelson Football Club. The game spread quickly and in September 1875 the first interprovincial match took place in Dunedin, between Auckland Clubs and Dunedin Clubs. In 1879, the first provincial unions were formed in Canterbury and Wellington.
|The NZRU's strongest advocate and first secretary, Ernest Hoben, was a driving force behind the formation of the national union. In recognition of Hoben's contribution, the "Ernest Hoben Room" at the NZRU's offices in Wellington now displays all 26 provincial jerseys alongside photos of past All Blacks teams and the names of every All Black in New Zealand rugby history.|
On Saturday 16 April 1892, in a meeting held in Wellington, the New Zealand Rugby Union was formed. Inaugural members were the provincial unions of Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Marlborough, Nelson, South Canterbury, Taranaki, Waiararapa, Wanganui and Wellington. At the time, three major South Island provincial unions – Canterbury, Otago and Southland – resisted the central authority of the NZRU.
In 1893, the NZRU formally adopted the black jersey as the national playing strip and selected the first NZRU-sanctioned national team, for a tour of Australia. However, the earlier New Zealand team selected to tour New South Wales in 1884 is recognised as a New Zealand team and its players recognised as All Blacks.
By 1895, with the additions of the Bush, Canterbury, Horowhenua, Otago, Poverty Bay, Southland and West Coast unions, the NZRU was considered to be a complete and united collection of all New Zealand rugby players. However, the New Zealand rugby mapwould be repeatedly redrawn in the following decades.
At the Annual Meeting in 1921, the NZRU elected its first Life Member, George Dixon, manager of the 1905 “Originals” All Blacks and the NZRU's first Chairman, appointed in 1904. In another innovation, provincial delegates met prior to the Annual Meeting to arrange representative fixtures for the season ahead, introducing a new level of national coordination.
In 1976, the National Provincial Championship was formed to help organise matches between provincial unions, it had two divisions in its first year of play but the format was repeatedly reorganized throughout its 30-year history, notably in 1992 the bonus points system was brought in to determine the top placed team. Auckland have been the most successful team in the NPC's history with 16 championships including the last in 2005.
At the conclusion of the NPC there were three divisions and 27 unions under the NZRU's jurisdiction, it was replaced by the Air New Zealand Cup and Heartland Championship in 2006 with 14 teams in the top competition, including the new Tasman Makos, who formed with the amalgamation of the Marlborough and Nelson Bays Rugby Unions, and 12 teams in the amateur Heartland Championship. After changes in sponsorship in 2010 and 2016, the Air New Zealand Cup first became the ITM Cup and is now the Mitre 10 Cup.
The All Blacks are New Zealand's number one national rugby side and have rated among the best in the world for well over 100 years. Their name and distinctive all black playing strip have become well known to rugby and non-rugby fans worldwide.
The first New Zealand team was selected in 1884, for a tour to New South Wales. The team played its first match at home, against a Wellington XV, before recording eight wins in eight matches in Australia. Otago prop James Allan, who played eight matches for the 1884 team, has the title of All Black No 1.
In 1893, the first official NZRU-sanctioned New Zealand team was selected, for an 11-match tour to Australia. The team lost just once, to New South Wales in Sydney.
In 1894, an official New Zealand team hosted visiting opposition on home soil for the first time, in a match against New South Wales at Christchurch won 8–6 by the visitors, two years later, New Zealand beat Queensland at Wellington to record its first home win against visiting opposition.
New Zealand's 1905–06 tour to the United Kingdom, France and North America might be considered the most important in New Zealand rugby history. The team played 35 matches in total, the only team to beat them was Wales. In the United Kingdom especially, the team's largely confident, attractive and comfortable wins made a strong statement about the quality of rugby in the colonies and New Zealand in particular. Moreover, the 1905–06 tour gave rise to the famous “All Blacks” moniker, as the fame surrounding the black-clad team spread. Nowadays, this team is known as “the Originals” – they were the first team to demonstrate the power and skill of New Zealand rugby, the first to make rugby a part of New Zealand's cultural identity, and the first to be known as All Blacks.
In 1924–25, the All Blacks embarked on a 32-match tour to the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Going one better than the 1905–06 Originals, this team won all 32 matches, including Test wins over Ireland, Wales, England and France, and earned the nickname “the Invincibles”.
In 1956, the All Blacks won a Test series against South Africa for the first time. The Springboks were the All Blacks’ greatest traditional rivals and had delivered some of the All Blacks’ worst defeats.
In 1978, the All Blacks achieved a Grand Slam for the first time. For southern hemisphere sides like New Zealand, a Grand Slam includes victories over the four Home Unions – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – in the course of a single tour. The team achieved a second Grand Slam in 2005 and a third in 2008
In 1987, the All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby World Cup against France, hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand also won the Rugby World Cup Finals— in 2011, after an 8–7 victory over France in front of a home crowd, and in 34–17 victory over Australia at Twickenham in 2015. The latter win made the All Blacks the first side ever to successfully defend a Rugby World Cup title.
In 1995, following the Rugby World Cup tournament in South Africa, international rugby turned professional with the IRB's repeal of all amateurism regulations. For the first time, the NZRU negotiated with and contracted New Zealand rugby players.
The NZRU also joined with the national unions of Australia and South Africa to form SANZAR, which sold the television rights for major southern hemisphere rugby competitions and helped to build the commercial foundation on which professional rugby is based. SANZAR, renamed SANZAAR with the 2016 entry of Argentina as a full member of the body, remains an important rugby organisation and organises The Rugby Championship (originally the Tri Nations) and the Super Rugby competition.
The NZRU has several teams under its control.
The New Zealand Rugby Union have a number of contracted referees who officiated in levels from Heartland matches to ITM Cup and Super Rugby. The system in which referees are selected, appointed to matches and progress through to the next stage is very structured with a number of referee coaches, viewers and managers assisting them with their performances. However, only 5 referees are on professional contracts, Glen Jackson, Brendon Pickerill, Ben O'Keeffe, Paul Williams, Nick Briant and Mike Fraser. The professionals are appointed to refereeing Super Rugby matches by SANZAAR with some refereeing test rugby.
The NZRU comprises 17 North Island provincial unions and 9 South Island provincial unions.
The North Island provincial unions are:
The South Island provincial unions are:
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, commonly known as the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's international rugby union, which is considered the country's national sport. The team won the Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011 and 2015.
The Mitre 10 Cup is a rugby union professional competition for New Zealand unions. It consists of 14 teams, divided equally between the Premiership Division and the Championship Division. The Mitre 10 Cup is the second highest level of professional rugby union in New Zealand, after Super Rugby. The Mitre 10 Cup's 11-week regular and finals season runs from two weeks after Super Rugby ends to the third week after Labour Day, with each team playing 10 games and having one week playing twice. Following the conclusion of the regular season, four teams from each division advance to their respective playoffs, a single-elimination tournament of semi-finals and final.
The Ranfurly Shield, colloquially known as the Log o' Wood, is a trophy in New Zealand's domestic rugby union competition. First played for in 1904, the Shield is based on a challenge system, rather than a league or knockout competition as with most football trophies. The holding union must defend the shield in challenge matches, which are played at the shield holders home venue, and if the challenger is successful in their challenge they will become the new holder of the Shield.
The Canterbury Rugby Football Union is the governing body for rugby union in a portion of the Canterbury region of New Zealand. Its colours are red and black in a hooped design. The CRFU govern the running of the Canterbury representative team which have won New Zealand's first-tier domestic competition National Provincial Championship 14 times including a "six-peat" from 2008 to 2013 – with five in the National Provincial Championship, two in the Air New Zealand Cup, five in the ITM Cup and one in the Mitre 10 Cup. Their most recent victory was the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup. Canterbury also acts as a primary feeder to the Crusaders, who play in the Super Rugby competition.
Rugby union is the unofficial national sport of New Zealand. The national team, the All Blacks, is currently ranked the second best international rugby team in the world, after South Africa. The sport has been known in New Zealand since 1870. The top domestic competitions are the semi-professional Mitre 10 Cup and amateur Heartland Championship, and above them Super Rugby, in which New Zealand has five franchises. The country co-hosted and won the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987, and hosted and won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They have won three World Cups, tied with South Africa, the most of any other country. They are also the current World Champions in 7s rugby for men and women.
The Manawatu Rugby Football Union (MRU) is the governing body of the sport of rugby union in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand.
Glen Warwick Jackson is a professional full-time referee for New Zealand Rugby. Jackson is also a former New Zealand rugby union player. During his playing career, he was a first five-eighth. Domestically, he represented Bay of Plenty and Waikato in the NPC and the Saracens in the UK's Guinness Premiership. His strong performances saw him named in the Chiefs squad for the 1999 Super Rugby season and had international experience as well with New Zealand Māori and the Barbarians.
Tasesa James Lavea is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former professional rugby league and rugby union footballer. He is of Samoan and Māori descent and heritage, and he coaches the 1st XV for Saint Kentigern College.
The National Provincial Championship, or NPC, was the major domestic rugby competition in New Zealand. The NPC saw many alterations to its format and brand. Since 2006, it has been replaced by two competitions, the Mitre 10 Cup and the Heartland Championship. From the 2011 Season, the top Division was split into two tiers based on the 2010 Table after Pool Play. Teams 1–7 were assigned to the Premiership and teams 8–14 to the Championship. There is automatic Promotion/Relegation between the two tiers and also "crossover" matches, as well as full Round Robin Matches within each tier. The Heartland Championship is also split into two tiers after pool play with the top tier playing for the Meads Cup and bottom tier playing for the Lochore Cup. Currently, all 26 of New Zealand's Provincial Unions participate in either the Mitre 10 Cup or Heartland Championship. The NPC was first contested in 1976, and although the basic format of Division One was much the same from then until the 2006 reorganisation, there were a number of changes to the lower divisions.
The Wanganui Rugby Football Union (WRFU) is the governing body for rugby union in the Whanganui region of New Zealand. The Wanganui Rugby Football Union was formed in 1888.
The Buller Rugby Union (BRU) is a rugby union province based in the town of Westport, New Zealand. The Buller provincial boundary also includes other notable towns such as Reefton, Karamea, Granity, Charleston, Punakaiki and Murchison.
The Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union is the governing body for rugby union within the Gisborne district, in the area surrounding Poverty Bay on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The men's representative team play from Rugby Park, Gisborne, and currently compete in the Heartland Championship.
Tamati Edward Ellison is a New Zealand rugby union footballer.
The Heartland XV rugby team is one of several New Zealand national representative rugby union teams, although it is at a lower level than the All Blacks, the second-level Junior All Blacks and the New Zealand Māori. The side is drawn exclusively from players for provincial unions that compete in the Heartland Championship, a nominally amateur domestic competition below the fully professional Mitre 10 Cup.
Joseph Astbury Warbrick was a Māori rugby union player who represented New Zealand on their 1884 tour to Australia and later captained the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team that embarked on a 107-match tour of New Zealand, Australia, and the British Isles.
Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison, also known as Tom Ellison or Tamati Erihana was a New Zealand rugby union player and lawyer. He led the first New Zealand representative rugby team organised by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) on their 1893 tour of Australia. Ellison also played in the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team on their epic 107-match tour, scoring 113 points, and 43 tries with the side.
Kelvin Deaker is a former New Zealand rugby union international referee and member of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union, who has now retired from all refereeing. Deaker took up refereeing in 1991, and refereed his first representative match in 1996, when he took charge of a National Provincial Championship Division 3 match between Buller and Horowhenua. In 2001, the year he turned professional, Deaker refereed his first international rugby match, taking charge of the match between Wales and Japan on 17 June 2001. Two years later, Deaker was named as one of the referees who were to take charge of matches at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and was subsequently named as a touch judge for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Off the field, Deaker is a qualified chartered accountant, currently works for Taylor Pass Honey Co, in the town of Blenheim, New Zealand.
The 2009 Air New Zealand Cup was the 33rd provincial rugby union competition, the fourth since the competition reconstruction in 2006, involving the top 14 provincial unions in New Zealand. It ran for 15 weeks from 30 July to 7 November. It was also the last edition of the provincial competition to use the Air New Zealand Cup name, as the competition's sponsorship contract with Air New Zealand ended after that season. The 2010 competition will be held under a new name, the ITM Cup.
Rugby union in New Zealand is structured into four tiers. The top tier is composed of the national representative teams, with the men's team – known as the All Blacks – at the top, followed by other representative sides such as the Junior All Blacks and Māori All Blacks. These national sides are administered by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). Below this level is Super Rugby, where there are five New Zealand sides, each representing a different region of the country. Below this level is provincial rugby, the third tier – each province has a representative side that plays in either the semi-professional Mitre 10 Cup, or amateur Heartland Championship. These provincial sides are selected of Super Rugby players, and club players from within the province. Club rugby is the fourth and lowest tier, and consists of clubs competing in local leagues organised by a provincial union.
Rugby union has a long history in New Zealand. Today, New Zealand holds tier one status with World Rugby.