The Chiefs Super Rugby club has formed a partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union which is being initiated with a Chiefs Development squad tour to Hong Kong.
A 26-man squad representing the Chiefs Development team will begin their eight day tour of Hong Kong today to train and play a match against the Hong Kong national squad. The tour will serve as preparation for the Hong Kong national squad’s upcoming test matches against South Korea and Japan and part of its future goal of qualifying for the RWC in 2019 in Japan.
The Chiefs Development side will join with the Hong Kong Rugby Union to undertake local rugby development community engagement with local junior players and have interaction with a group of coaches in Hong Kong during the tour.
Former iconic Chiefs player and All Black Richard Kahui will join the first part of the tour in a personal capacity helping the squad and joining in community engagements.
Chiefs High Performance Manager, Chris Tindall, said “This tour to Hong Kong is a great opportunity for the player’s rugby and personal learning, development and experience. It is also a chance for these young players to impress for the future”.
“We are really pleased to form a partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union commencing with this tour which stemmed from our discussions on working together. We are looking forward to working alongside the Hong Kong Rugby Union in our shared rugby development for players and coaches in exchanges of activity between us to build a beneficial and progressive long term partnership together”.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union General Manager of Performance Rugby Dai Rees commented on the three year partnership saying “We are delighted to have the Chiefs Development in Hong Kong. The tour is an idea way to launch this new partnership with its focus on growing the game.
The week ahead will see the Chiefs and the HKRFU working with our local rugby communities at every level, from grassroots right through to the national team programme. The tour really symbolizes the goals that we are hoping to achieve in this unique partnership. We look forward to more interaction with the Chiefs as the partnership develops.”
The Chiefs Development touring squad contains selected available promising young players from across the Provincial Unions that are part of the Chiefs region. It includes players from Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.
The squad includes Atunaisa Moli, Scott Mellow and Brian Alainu’uese who all played in the 2013 and 2014 IRB Junior World Cups, representing New Zealand and Samoa.
Four of the squad have played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools over the last two years. Those four are Moli, Ayden Johnstone, Fin Hoeata and Shaun Stevenson
Chiefs Development Head Coach and Chiefs Player Identification & Development Manager Dave Dillon will lead the tour as part of the Development team programme. Dillon has coached the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians Development team and several Provincial Union age grade sides.
Dillon is joined in the coaching team by 2014 ITM Cup Premier Champions Taranaki, Assistant Coach Leo Crowley who will be the Assistant Coach along with former Chiefs captain Deon Muir. Muir captained the Chiefs from 2000 until 2002 and played professionally in Japan. He has coached the Te Awamutu Premier side in the Waikato Club Rugby competition and coached the Waikato U19 team in the National tournament.