The University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development team has been named to tour Hong Kong from 17-25 April.  It is the third tour in as many years, serving as an important part of the Chiefs high-performance partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

The tour sees the University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development team train together with the Hong Kong national squad and play a match against them on Saturday the 22nd of April at the Hong Kong Football Club. The players will also immerse themselves in the local community, delivering coaching sessions with local age grade players together with the Hong Kong Rugby Union during their stay.

Chiefs High Performance Manager Chris Tindall said: “It is exciting to return to Hong Kong with the University of Waikato Chiefs Development team to continue our rugby development work in partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union. This tour to Hong Kong is a special opportunity for our players’ learning and development to experience international touring and fulltime preparation and performance as a team to play against the Hong Kong national squad, as well as Hong Kong being a great place to experience.  It provides a real opportunity for the players to impress on and off the field for future Chiefs selection, as players have done from the tours in the last two years.”

Dai Rees, Chief Rugby Operations Officer for the HKRU said:  “The partnership with the Chiefs has grown from strength to strength over the past three years.  Each year the training and joint sessions have become more intense offering great preparation to the Hong Kong Team for the Asia Rugby Championships in May and June. Both squads provide a great training camp environment with joint sessions throughout the weeklong tour.  This all comes to a head at the Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday 22 April  with both teams competing in a full game in front of a packed house as part of the annual Taipans celebration.”

The University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development touring squad of 27-players includes an exciting mix of youth and experience, including former Chief Lelia Masaga who has returned to New Zealand from playing in Japan, 2017 Chiefs Squad replacement players Samisoni Taukei’aho, Matiaha Martin and Latu Vaeno and eight players selected from the Chiefs Under 20s Squad this year.  Four players return to Hong Kong from the touring squads in the last two years:  Ayden Johnstone, Sekope Moli, Luteru Laulala and Elijah Nicholas. The squad includes players from across the Chiefs region, with representation from Provincial Unions Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.           Thirteen of the squad played in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup.

The squad also includes three players visiting with the Chiefs from the Kobelco Steelers in Japan:  prop Motoki Yamazaki, lock Jang Seokhwan and midfielder Shintaro Hayashi.

Former New Zealand Under 20s representative and Waikato loose-forward Mitchell Jacobson will captain the team.

Previous University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development team tourists to Hong Kong in the last two years who have progressed to the 2017 Gallagher Chiefs Super Rugby squad are Shaun Stevenson, Atu Moli, Liam Polwart, Mitchell Brown, the newly capped Gallagher Chiefs players Sefo Kautai and Aidan Ross.

The University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development touring squad to Hong Kong is:



Ayden Johnstone (Waikato)

Reuben O’Neill (Taranaki)

Kalolo Tuiloma (Counties Manukau)

Joshua Iosefo-Scott (Waikato)

Motoki Yamazaki (Kobelco Steelers)



Samisoni Taukei’aho (Waikato) 

Sekope Moli (Waikato)



Matiaha Martin (Counties Manukau)

Viliame Rarasea (Counties Manukau)

Lachlan McWhannell (Waikato)

Jang Seokhwan (Kobelco Steelers)


Loose Forwards 

Jahrome Brown (Waikato)

Mitchell Jacobson (Waikato) – captain

Du’Plessis Kirifi (Waikato)

Ajay Lafaele-Mua (Bay of Plenty)

Matt Vai’i (Counties Manukau)



Logan Crowley (Taranaki) 

Luke Campbell (Bay of Plenty)


1ST fives

Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau) 

Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty)



Matthew Lansdown (Waikato) 

Elijah Nicholas (Bay of Plenty)  

Shintaro Hayashi (Kobelco Steelers)


Outside backs

Latu Vaeno (Taranaki)

Lelia Masaga

Sheldon Tovio (Waikato)

Tyler Campbell (Waikato)

The University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development team will be coached by Leo Crowley, Andrew Douglas and Paul Tito.


University of Waikato Chiefs Development Squad players not available for the tour: 

Fin Hoeata (Taranaki), Jacob Skeen (Waikato), Jesse Parete (Bay of Plenty), Richard Judd (Bay of Plenty),

Harrison Levien (Waikato), Liam Steele (Bay of Plenty), Lalakai Foketi (Bay of Plenty), Bailyn Sullivan (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato).

New Zealand U20 Squad players:  Ryan Coxon (Waikato), Sam Caird (Waikato), Luke Jacobson (Waikato), Ciarahn Matoe (Taranaki) and Orbyn Leger (Counties Manukau)


The 2017 University of Waikato Chiefs Taua Development Management Team for the Hong Kong tour is:

Coach: Leo Crowley

Coach: Andrew Douglas

Coach: Paul Tito

Manager: Gareth Duncan

Trainer: Brad Mayo

Physio: Paul Smiler

Analyst: Mark Ray
High Performance Manager: Chris Tindall


Purchase your tickets and join rugby fans from far and wide as we celebrate the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 in Hamilton this June. On the eve of the British & Irish Lions match against the Gallagher Chiefs Chiefs, enjoy an evening of great entertainment and good humour. Relive the famous 'Lions Moments' with legends of years gone by, and life on the road with the Lions. This event includes a three course meal, a continuous premium beverage service and much more. Ideal for all rugby fanatics!

WHEN: Monday 19 June
WHERE: Claudelands, Hamilton
TICKETS: Purchase here

Click here for more info or contact Kate Shirtcliff, Chiefs Sponsorship Manager 

The Gallagher Chiefs winning streak to start the season has ended with the Stormers coming out on top 34-26 in a highly entertaining match between two of Super Rugby’s form teams at Newlands in Cape Town.

Both sides were unbeaten heading into the contest, and the match up did not disappoint with plenty of running rugby on display as the Stormers claimed a four tries to three victory.

The tension between the two sides was clear right from the opening minutes, as a huge shoving match broke out early on to set the scene for a physical and competitive encounter.

From the resulting penalty the Stormers were quick to make their mark as they drove downfield with several strong runs and crossed the line for the opening try to Number 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, well converted out wide by first five Robert du Preez.

The Gallagher Chiefs responded with their high tempo attacking game and immediately looked threatening. A yellow card for the Stormers then made the task even more difficult for the home side.

A relentless wave of over a dozen phases saw the Gallagher Chiefs go close to scoring, but they had to settle for a penalty from the boot of first five Aaron Cruden to get their scoring underway.

From their own goal line the Gallagher Chiefs then produced one of the tries of the season so far, as outside backs James Lowe and Damian McKenzie sparked an attack that went through nine sets of hands before being finished off by wing Toni Pulu.

Cruden’s conversion put the Gallagher Chiefs in front 10-7 after a pulsating opening 15 minutes.

The action continued as the Stormers swung back onto attack and, after a patient build up, they cracked the Gallagher Chiefs defence once more with a pick and go try to loose forward Siya Kolisi. Robert du Preez converted to restore their four-point lead.

McKenzie narrowed the gap with a well struck penalty attempt from over 40 metres out, before the young fullback launched another attack from deep inside his own half. After splitting the defence up the middle he found an unmarked Pulu who crossed for his second of the afternoon in the right hand corner.

As the frantic pace of the match continued, Stormers fullback SP Marais slotted a penalty from halfway, and an attacking raid right on the stroke of halftime ended in a well worked try to du Preez. He converted his own try to give the Stormers a 24-18 lead at the break.

An early scrum penalty to start the second half saw Marais on target with his second penalty attempt, but the Gallagher Chiefs responded quickly with a three-pointer of their own from Cruden.

After conceding two long range tries in the first half, it was then the Stormers turn to produce some magic with a turnover on their own 22 leading to a chip kick ahead and a wonderful no look pass, and SP Marais ran clear to score.

With the Stormers’ lead now out to 13 points the Gallagher Chiefs needed to strike back quickly. Cruden turned down a kickable penalty and from the lineout the ball was swung wide and space was created for wing James Lowe to finish off.

Cruden’s conversion struck the upright but the try to Lowe had the Gallagher Chiefs right back into the match midway through the second half.

Some good ball control from the home side saw them keep possession for a long period, taking nearly 10 minutes off the clock, and the pace of the match began to take its toll with plenty of substitutes rolled out from both benches.

The Gallagher Chiefs found their second wind as the match moved into the final 10 minutes and went desperately close to adding their fourth try before a timely intercept just metres from their own line saved the Stormers.

More possession for the Chiefs saw them rumble downfield once more but again the Stormers defence was up to the task, stopping wave after wave of Chiefs attack as the clock wound down.

A breathtaking passage of play to close out the match, with the ball in play for four minutes, was again repelled by the hosts as the Stormers kept their unbeaten record intact and handed the Chiefs their first defeat of the season.

Gallagher Chiefs 26 (Toni Pulu 2, James Lowe tries; Aaron Cruden con, 2 pens, Damian McKenzie pen) Stormers 34 (Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Siya Kolisi, Robert du Preez, SP Marais tries; du Preez 4 cons, Marais 2 pens) HT: 18-24.

The Gallagher Chiefs now head to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs in their Round 8 match on Sunday 16 April (1.05am NZ time).

The Gallagher Chiefs are preparing for a bruising encounter against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon (SAST). Both teams enter Round 7 unbeaten, having recorded five wins from their opening five games of the 2017 Investec Super Rugby season.


Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made five changes to the starting fifteen which defeated the Bulls 28-12 last Saturday in Hamilton. In the forwards, Kane Hames and Atu Moli are promoted from the bench to start alongside veteran hooker Hika Elliot in the front row. Taranaki loose-forward Lachlan Boshier returns to the 23 to replace the injuredSam Cane in jersey 7. 


There are two changeto  the backline with explosive Counties Manukau back Toni Pulu returning from a hamstring strain to start on the right wing and  fan favourite Stephen Donald moving from the bench to claim jersey 12.  


Of note in the reserves is the inclusion of 20-year-old Waikato prop Sosefo Kautai. The former New Zealand Under 20s representative is in line to make his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench. It’s also an exciting night for Sam McNicol who has diligently worked his way back from concussion to make his first appearance in the 23 for 2017. 

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the Stormers at 3.15am Sunday (NZT) is:

  1. Kane Hames
  2. Hika Elliot
  3. Atu Moli
  4. Dominic Bird
  5. Brodie Retallick
  6. Liam Messam
  7. Lachlan Boshier
  8. Michael Leitch
  9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  10. Aaron Cruden
  11. James Lowe
  12. Stephen Donald
  13. Anton Lienert-Brown
  14. Toni Pulu
  15. Damian McKenzie


  1. Brayden Mitchell
  2. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi
  3. Sosefo Kautai
  4. Taleni Seu
  5. Mitchell Brown
  6. Finlay Christie
  7. Sam McNicol
  8. Shaun Stevenson