Hawke's Bay Rugby Union

The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union (HBRU) is the governing body of rugby union in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand. The union is based in Napier.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union
SportRugby union
JurisdictionHawke's Bay
Founded1884; 137 years ago (1884)
ChairmanBrendan Mahony
Official website

The Hawke's Bay representative team are nicknamed The Magpies.


The Hawke's Bay team of 1889

The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union was founded in 1884. This makes it the oldest Provincial Rugby Union outside the four main centres. Hawke's Bay has a very good Ranfurly Shield record with 24 defences from 1922 to 1927, 21 successful defences between 1966 and 1969 as well as 2 defences in 1934.[1] Hawke's Bay won the shield again, claiming it from Otago, on 1 September 2013.[2] They lost the shield soon after to Counties-Manukau, before winning it back from them in August 2014.[3] Hawke's Bay's glory days as a rugby union came long before the NPC was founded. As such Hawke's Bay does not have a very flattering record in either that competition or the Air New Zealand Cup. The best position they have managed in either is 3rd. Hawke's Bay dominated the second division of the NPC in the 1990s before the Air New Zealand Cup was set up in 2006.

In 1996, Hawke's Bay and Manawatu merged their teams to form the Central Vikings. It was an attempt to elevate the unions back to the then first division. Players including Mark "Bull" Allen, Christian Cullen, Mark Ranby, Stephen Bachop and Roger Randle featured in the team. The 1997 season saw Central finish overall second with 6 wins, 2 losses and into the semi-finals. In the semi-final, the Vikings avenged their loss to Bay of Plenty in round robin play to face Northland in the final. Northland won the final 63–10. Northland were thus promoted to the First Division. However, had the Vikings won, they would not have been eligible to be promoted. 1998 saw a repeat of form for the Vikings who went unbeaten in the season. They subsequently won the final against Bay of Plenty at McLean Park, Napier and were promoted to First Division. However, due to financial issues, the merger split back to Hawke's Bay and Manawatu. Both unions subsequently became foundation unions of the Air New Zealand Cup which started in 2006.

In the past, Hawke's Bay has produced some great All Blacks, including Kel Tremain and George Nepia. Hawke's Bay also defeated the 1993 British Lions and in 1994 defeated France (who beat the All Blacks twice in that same tour).

Super Rugby application

In 2009, Hawke's Bay announced they intended to apply to join the Super Rugby competition, when it was announced a fifteenth franchise was to be created. However, in August 2009 the club's chairman Richard Hunt announced they were withdrawing their bid because they had not had sufficient time to present a business plan.[4] He insisted the club remained very serious about joining the club in the future.[5] Hawke's Bay would be New Zealand's sixth team if they were to join Super Rugby[citation needed]. With the announcement that New Zealand might receive a 6th Super Franchise in the SANZAAR Super Rugby competition beginning 2016, the Hawke's Bay Union announced its interest in forming this franchise together with Manawatu, therefore effectively resurrecting the Central Vikings brand as a Super Rugby franchise.

Club rugby

2020 Nash Cup Champions (Premier) - competition cancelled in 2020

2020 Maddison Trophy Champions (Premier) - Hastings Rugby and Sports Club

2020 Pratt Trophy Champions (Premier Reserve/Division 2, Town/Country) – competition cancelled in 2020

2020 Jack Swain Cup Champions (Premier Reserve) - Napier Old Boys Marist RFC

2020 Arthur Bowman Cup Champions (Division 2) - Aotea Sports Club

2020 Maury Coady Cup Champions (Division 3) - competition cancelled in 2020

2020 Ron Parker Memorial Trophy Champions (Division 3) - Bridge Pa Rugby

2020 Arthur Brown Cup Champions (Colts) - competition cancelled in 2020

2020 Pat Ryan Memorial Trophy Champions (Colts) - Napier Tech Old Boys Rugby Club

2020 Marsh Cup Champions (Women's) - Napier Tech Old Boys Rugby Club

2020 Champions Cup Champions (Women's) - Napier Tech Old Boys Rugby Club

Hawke's Bay in Air New Zealand Cup

Hawke's Bay made their debut, along with Tasman, Manawatu and Counties-Manukau, in the 2006 Air New Zealand Cup which had 14 teams. Hawkes Bay made their best effort to date in the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup, winning many games even against bigger unions such as Wellington and Waikato. They were the fairytale story of the competition, surprising everyone to reach the semi-finals where they were beaten by Auckland. They repeated this form in the 2008 and 2009 seasons where they were again beaten semi-finalists. This form in back to back seasons attracted warranted attention and many Hawke's Bay players were awarded with Super 14 contracts, both for the Hurricanes and elsewhere.

Mitre 10 Cup

Hawke's Bay All Black players 2010s


Most appearances

  • 158 – Neil Thimbleby 1959–71
  • 147 – Hunt R.J. (Richard) 1967–83
  • 125 – Hunter R.P. (Robbie) 1971–82
  • 120 – Stuart R.L. (Robbie) 1967–80
  • 111 – Crawford O. (Orcades) 1988–2000
  • 108 – Davis W.L. (Bill) 1961–71
  • 100 – Crawford K.K. (Karaan) 1964–71
  • 100 – Paewai M.R. (Murdoch) 1991–2003
  • 100 - Ahipene V.C (Victim) 1960 - 1972

Most points

  • 1007 – J.B. (Jarod) Cunningham 1990–98
  • 631 – Bishop I.R. (Ian) 1963–72
  • 628 - Ihaia West 2012-2017
  • 435 – Small A.G. (Tony) 1957–65
  • 386 – O'Shaughnessy P.G. (Peter) 1981–90
  • 343 – Cooper M.J.A (Matthew) 1985–89
  • 339 – Bert Grenside 1919–31
  • 311 – Hunter R.P. (Robbie) 1971–82
  • 304 – Manawatu T.J. (Tim) 2001–03

Most tries

  • 74 – Bert Grenside 1919–31
  • 68 – Hunter R.P. (RobbieE) 1971–82
  • 55 – Davis W.L. (Bill) 1961–71
  • 50 – Tremain K.R. (Kelvin) 1962–70
  • 45 – Cooke P.J. (Paul) 1985–89
  • 44 – Smith D.B. (Dennis) 1964–70

Hawke's Bay All Blacks


  1. Romanos (2001), p.192.
  2. Fairfax NZ News (1 September 2013). "Hawke's Bay claim Ranfurly Shield glory". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  3. ESPN Scrum (30 August 2014). "Counties Manukau v Hawke's Bay at Pukekohe". www.espnscrum.com. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  4. "Rugby: Hawke's Bay ditch Super 15 bid". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  5. Hawke's Bay drops Super rugby bid