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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.

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Player Profile

  • Player
  • Statistic
  • Matches
  • Photos
Sam Cane
Full Name: Sam Cane
Team: Chiefs
Position:Loose forward
Height:189cm
Weight:103kg
DOB:13.01.92
Super Rugby Games:82
Super Rugby Points:55 (11t)
Super Rugby Debut:2011 v Lions in Johannesburg
Province:Bay of Plenty
Provincial Games:19
Provincial Points:25 (5t)
Provincial Debut:2010 v Auckland in Mt Maunganui
Test Caps:37
Test Points:55 (11t)
Test Debut:2012 v Ireland in Christchurch
instagram:#samcane
Facebook ID:456670991114990
Twitter Username:SamCane7
Youtube:Sam Cane

"Sam is a true professional in every sense of the word.  He thrived as co-captain of the team in 2016 and we look forward to seeing him lead across the field in 2017."- The Chiefs

Sam enters his sixth season with the Chiefs and is a key part of the team’s leadership.  On the back of a stellar Super Rugby season last year he collected  the Chiefs Players’ Player of the Year and showed many mature performances in his role as co-captain.   

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.

If you weren’t a rugby player, what would you be doing?
Guitarist in a rock band

Who was your favourite player as a kid?
Jeff Wilson

What event would you go to the Olympics for … No sevens allowed!
Beach Volleyball

Favourite sportsperson outside rugby?
Roger Federer

Forwards- What position would you put yourself in the backline and why?
Backs- What position would you put yourself in the forward pack and why?

Second Five

What’s your go to meal in the kitchen?
Creamy Chicken Fettucine

What’s your mum’s best meal for her boy?
Roast Lamb

Who is the best singer in the team?
Nathan Harris

Favourite movie quote?
Life is a game of inches, so is football –Al Pacino-Any given Sunday

What would you spend your last $10 on?
Two handles of beer for me and a mate

2017 Investec Super Rugby Table

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