Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union
Hawke's Bay Rugby Union (HBRU) is a progressive, financially robust provincial rugby union based on the east coast of the North Island. One of the oldest and proudest Rugby Unions in New Zealand. An organization with a rich and proud history stretching back over 130 years. HBRU and its flagship team, the Hawke's Bay Magpies competes in the ITM Cup Premiership – the top provincial rugby championship in NZ.
We currently have 3 All Blacks (Brodie Retallick, Israel Dagg and Ben Franks) and 2 Maori All Blacks (Ash Dixon and Brendon Edmonds) in our playing squad.
In 2015, HBRU will have 17 players represented in the Investec Super 15 competition spread through all 5 NZ franchises which is the most out of any provincial sides outside of the main cities.
Below the Magpies, the Union has the following representative teams: HB Sevens (Men & Women), Development, U19s, U16s and U14s. The Hawke's Bay Rugby Academy regularly provides players across NZ national squads including ex member 2014 IRB player of the year Brodie Retallick.
The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union has 22 affiliated clubs, over 9500 registered players and 530 registered coaches.
Past & Present All Blacks
Rugby in Hawke's Bay started in 1875 when the then Napier Football (Soccer) Club changed to adopting rugby rules. By 1878 Napier, calling itself Hawke's Bay, arranged matches with Gisborne on a regular basis.
The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union was formed in 1884 at a meeting of delegates from four clubs Napier, Union, Hastings, and Petane.
All Black legend, flanker Kel Tremain, led Hawke's Bay in the famous 1960s Ranfurly shield era with fellow All Blacks Ian MacRae, Bill Davis, Blair Furlong, Neil Thimbleby and Mick Duncan in support. In all, Hawke's Bay have produced 49 All Blacks who wore the famous Black jersey while currently representing the Magpies, the first being Hiroa Tiopira in 1893 and the latest being Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford in 2011. In addition, the likes of All Blacks such as Danny Lee, Matthew and Greg Cooper, John Timu, Stu Forster, Taine Randell, Josh Kronfeld, Roger Randle, Richard Turner, Greg Somerville and Campbell Johnstone all gained their development in Hawke's Bay age-group rugby.
Hawke's Bay won the Air New Zealand NPC second division championship in 2001, 2002, 2003, were beaten finalists in 2004 and were the last champions of the second division in 2005 prior to gaining entry to the new Air New Zealand Cup competition. In 2006 Hawke’s Bay finished ninth in its return to top level domestic rugby, the best of the promoted unions from the old second division.
In the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons the Hawke’s Bay Magpies were the rugby story of the year in making a semi final of the Air New Zealand Cup each of those years, a huge achievement.
The success of those campaigns has also meant that the Union is once again producing All Blacks with Hika Elliot (2008, 2010), Bryn Evans (2009), Zac Guildford (2009 - 2012), Israel Dagg (2010 - present), Brodie Retallick (2012) and Ben Franks (2013-present) proudly wearing the famous black jersey on behalf of our Union. Zac and Israel also represented their country with distinction when the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 after a 24 year hiatus, thus becoming the first current Magpie representatives to play at that great event.
The 2013 year was a huge one for this proud Union. The Magpies won and lost the Ranfurly Shield after a 44 year wait and were narrowly defeated in the Final of the Championship of the ITM Cup. In addition the HBRU produced its 16th financial surplus in succession, a unique feat in rugby in New Zealand at either provincial or national level.
The 2014 year was even better that the year before. The Ranfurly Shield was won back from Counties Manukau and successfully defended in fine style against, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Southland. The latter being a thrilling 20 - 20 draw season finale. The hosting of the All Blacks versus Argentina Test Match was also a major highlight.