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June 2023

Tackle 5s event in Turangi  and it went off!  Aimed at helping Yr 5s-6s into tackle rugby, we had 28 teams enter boys and girls grades, with Wairakei 3 beating Wairakei 4 in the boys final and Te Kura o Hirangi winning the girls final v Turaki Jets !

April 2023

Small Blacks and Associate Ref Roadshow in the Rapa.


Turangi & Taupo tackle clinics

Taupo Small Blacks , 40 odd coaches learning through FABS!

YEAH THE GIRLS! We hosted our first EVER women's Foundation Coaching course in Te Kuiti last night and did it go off or what!

Heaps of learnings across the night and we can't wait to see these awesome wahine adding value to our rugby community in the future! Big ups to Varns and Rats from NZ Rugby for coming along and leading the night!

George, Ellery and Sam running a F.A.B.S Foundation Course/World Rugby L1 at Hawkes Bay HQ.

March 2023

Secondary School Forward Factory week 3. Ball presentation and breakdown focus with a bit of linout work to cap it off.

RugbySmart King Country style

Week 2 of Forward Factory in the Bush with the Heartland coaches leading the way!

February 2023

Despite a beyond challenging fortnight that will continue to impact the area, awesome that Poverty Bay ran their DRC in the wkend. Hosted by GBHS, Heartland coaches, ex- All Blacks, HL players, 20 teens alongside the attending coaches and the Poverty Bay Rugby staff worked hard to bring it all together.

Lots of DRC/WR L2 Coaching Courses on the go atm- Wellington’s turn with All Blacks, Black Ferns & Wallabies everywhere and Hurricanes coaches presenting not to mention class facilitation from top Educators led by CCDO Cam Prouting.

First DRC of the year for Auckland coaches. Awesome to see an even spread of hungry coaches from across the 09. All of which stayed engaged right to the end, especially during the ‘social’ ruck touch game at the end.

Trialling the Performance course differently in 2023. Combining Crusader and Highlander region to make S.I workshop gives greater cross pollination and delivered with multiple 1 day workshops and zooms to allow more balance in life with family, work, coaching and learning.

HK/Whang/Wai-Bush DRC in Levin - wrapped around Hurricanes v Crusaders hit-out. Canes coaches and local AB, Dane Coles presenting alongside our expert Educator crew.

Harbour Pilot - Referee Educator course , facilitation , educating , even some wood chopping.

Thames Valley DRC Level 2 Coaching Course in Tairua.

Great couple of days around Central with Learning Labs in Gizzy & Upper Hutt.


Thames Valley Level 1 Foundation Course at Waihi Athletic. We had 5 local World Rugby Educators deliver and for two of them, it was their first time. 15 coaches from around the region, mostly junior coaches but also a mix of secondary school and one senior club coach as well.

Awesome couple of days in Nelson at the S.I Training & Education Hui. Great to reconnect, share ideas, reflect and look forward to 2023....with an element of competition thrown in. Great people doing great Mahi for our communities.

NPEC still churning out the mahi, running their second World Rugby L1/NZR Foundation Coaching Course for the year in Ruatoria on Sunday. Love your work Leroy Kururangi, Jackson Swinton and the rest of the crew up the coast.

It was a fantastic turn out at the first Girls & Women's Rugby Forum in the Wairarapa.

There was representation across the board with players (U15 to Senior), parents, coaches, managers, RST, club and schools. Great to have some of the junior players come along and share their experience as well as some new faces.

Lots of feedback and ideas shared from the group and plenty of buzz about what could lie ahead.

Very cool using NZCIS for NZs first World Rugby Conditioning for Adults Level 1. Twenty Coaches/Trainers put thru their paces in this cutting edge facility with S&C experts.


NZR Sevens Course/World Rugby Sevens L1 Certificate in the capital with Cam & friends.

Awesome month of Mahi with the Crusader and Highlanders performance courses, such a highlight spending weekends with passionate rugby folk with growth mindsets. Also big up's to the performance coaches for giving their time back to community rugby.


North Harbour Rugby held their Youth DRC. We were fortunate that Wes Clarke and Whitney Hansen joined us before their test win against Japan. A great weekend Coaches and Educators working together action learning. A total of 35 practical's, Coaches practicing Coaching.

Canes Performance/World Rugby- Coaches finish as they started- strong. First up: Ref Jono Bredin & Sideline Manager- David Walsh in for ref review/insights. Then presentations to Lions HC Leo Crowley & Asst. Greg Halford. Then video analysis with Ryan Piper & session planning/coaching sess to close the Plan-Do-Review-Reflect loop. Well done Coaches and Educators!


April 2022 

Our 2022 U18 Ngā Whatukura Tane E tu Toa Regional Camps kicked off last week, starting in Te Waipounamu (Highlanders Region)

Te tini a Maui U18 rugby camp in Masterton on Saturday and Sunday. Lots of rising talent from across the motu. The growth across the weekend was immense and really proud of the boys ability to adapt, be vulnerable and excell. Big ups to all the Rangatira involved helping to grow Maori rugby across our region. Stacey Grant mean mahi brother in setting it all up, not an easy task but one done exceptionally well. Looking forward to watching this crop of future Rangatira flourish. MOT all day, everyday.

Good start to the Wellington female coaching series today. Looking forward to seeing the coaches progress over the next few weeks. Kelsi Ham, Zak Feaunati & Chris Stirling.

Welcome back Wheels. Paul Wheeler back as Coach Development Officer for Counties Manukau. A new pilot programme being run by NZR. Small Blacks course at Papakura. Great numbers at Counties Manukau first Small Blacks course this morning.

Big welcome to our mate and now NZR Community Coach Development Officer: Cam Prouting who started this week in a new role in partnership with and supporting Wellington Rugby. Pulling in the big numbers at Small Blacks.

First Small Blacks course of the year with our Waikanae and Paraparaumu junior coaches at Waikanae RFC.

The year of Women and Girls 2022, recognizes our female participants in our game. Witness the growth of womens rugby around the country and our Ako Wāhine Educators going from strength to strength.

New Northland Rugby initiative delivered its first foundation course today in Kerikeri.

March 2022 

Awesome Wellington Rugby initiative- Small Blacks PLUS for Coaches of Year 7/8. A morning of learning covering a Small Blacks Course & NZ Rugby Foundation/World Rugby L1 Certification with an emphasis on U12/13 aged players.

Good turn out at College Rifles Rugby Smart.

King Country Rugby Smart Field Day done & dusted. A big thanks to the brothers from Waikato, Vince & Bowie giving us a hand & presenting Scrum & the DSLVs.

NZ Rugby/Manawatu Foundation Course Collaboration in Fielding.

Northland Rugby DRC underway!

Beautiful weekend in Nelson for the Tasman DRC, covid makes it challenging on availability but those that could enjoyed some masterclass sessions lead by George Vance, Dave Paterson, Gary Stevens plus Mako coaches.

February 2022 

Great to see South Canterbury and Mid Canterbury working together to deliver DRC at the weekend.

July 16

NZ Rugby's Tiki Edwards goes to Paeroa and does some pai mahi with Thames Valley rangatahi.

June 15

Great day in Tauranga filming Nic Gill, All Blacks Strength and Conditioning coach, for activities to use to strengthen rugby players to tackle.

May 26

Small Blacks Course North Harbour. Huge turnout! First day in new Job as REO replacing Greenie for Ryan Nixon. Welcome. Thanks to all coaches around the country for attending your local Small Blacks Course. 

May 26

Made our first trip over the hill today to take on PNGHS in our final grading game. Awesome mahi from the team today regardless what the score might say!!

Always learning, always improving...every journey starts with the first step! Every secondary school in Wairarapa represented on the field today with this team!

May 16

Tiki Edwards from New Zealand Rugby inspiring our young Wahine with his E Tu Rangatahi program.

May 16

Growing Wāhine in Rugby - Foundation Level 1 Coaching Course - Macleans College, Auckland

Seeing those today eager to coach and add value to their daughters (and son’s) rugby experience is really inspiring.

To provide opportunities for our women (and men) to coach and up skill is important because we need more of our women coaching. Providing spaces and environments for them to do so, is even more important.

May 15

Junior Girls Launch -  Auckland

Suns out, all the “guns” out! How cool was it to see this on the weekend. They even got to see Nancy!

May 14

Waikato Sec Rugby Smart. 

The collaborative female-led Rugby Smart too place in the mighty Waikato. 3x different provincial unions coming together to tautoko (support), lagolago (lead on each other) and tautua (serve) together is one of the many things what makes women’s rugby UNIQUE.

With the mastermind Wayne Maxwell coordinating and making this possible.

May 10

Eastern Bay of Plenty - Women-only Small Blacks.

We took to Whakatane and boy was it a goodie! A wide range of wāhine coming through, first-time coaches, managers, Mums, players and former-players - and not one of the 18x attendees had attended a small blacks before.

Outcomes and feedback. We had fun! We learnt a lot! We want more!

The Ako Wāhine presenters who delivered and facilitated their first Small Blacks session were amazing.

May 8

7 courses in the last 7 busy days for Wellington Coach Development and Game Development Officer crew. Part of 30+ Foundation, Small Blacks,RugbySmart, Tackle Clinic, Scrum Factory and Developing Rugby Coaches courses smashed out since February. Awesome mahi from all those around the country who have been hustling for months to support the community season kicking off.

May 6

Counties Manukau - Tu Wāhine workshop.

May 5

Another one of 100's of Small Blacks courses happening in NZ at the moment. Our man Josh from the mighty King Country leading the way.

April 13

Awesome turnout for our combined secondary school girls rugby team training in Wairarapa Bush!
There will be skill sessions/training during the school holidays.

April 2

The annual Referee and Coach Collab was  in Levin, with the main focus being around the Community Rugby Technical Priorities. Was great to hear that some coaches have already planned to go through these with their teams along with coaches and referees organising times to help out trainings.

March 31

Thames Valley Rugby held its Associate Referees Course for 20 dedicated men & women.

March 25

Chiefs Performance Course. Level 3.
Community Rugby and Performance Rugby coming together on match day Chief v Blues game. Thanks to the Chiefs coaches Clayton McMillan, Barnsy and the match referee James Doleman for sharing their ideas with our Coaches on the Level 3 Course. A unique experience.

March 22

Auckland Rugby delivered a “Women in Rugby” event.

March 20

Northland Female Rugby 10’s Tournament.
Four divisions Under 7 Rippa, U13, U15, and Open Women’s.
An awesome day with some excellent community partners.

March 18

Thames Valley Rugby Smart #5 delivered at Waihi Athletic.

March 16

Last Saturday we were fortunate to host referees from Wellington, Wairarapa Bush, Horowhenua Kapiti, Manawatū, and Whanganui at a Combining Minds workshop at the Hohepa Jacob Community Rugby Centre in Levin.
The workshop was designed to help unify, inspire, upskill and collaborate between referees across different regions.
Was a massive effort from all of the referees who attended, we look forward to what lies ahead in this space!

March 12

Northern Region Educator workshop in the winterless north. 

March 10

Petone RFC and a real who’s who of Mitre 10 Coaches, ABs, Hurricanes and Community Ref and Coach heroes getting RugbySmarted tonight. Cool Teenage module too!

March 5

Quality Educating happening in Tairawhiti from Kahu Tamatea and Miah Nikora for Day 1 of DRC-   high and dry in Gisborne.

March 4

Wgtn RugbySmarts Week 2- operating in a COVID world, working hard on our social distancing keeping our ref and coaches safe to keep our players safe.

Using our ref expertise in RS (and NZR numbers guru Ben Van Berkel) and Aaron Jones host of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ RugbySmart Quiz.

February 27

Thames Valley DRC Saturday afternoon session.
Our coaches soaking in Principles of Play - Attack & Defence, Warm Ups, Game based Learning, Planning a session, Coaching a Team and then finished up with Team Culture.
Then, coaches looking at Creating a Positive Environment, Coaching Values and Philosophy with Ross Cooper providing some valuable stories & Coaching a Skill.
Finally, lineouts, scrums & counterattack.

February 27

HK/WB/WHang combined D.R.C in sunny Levin. Collaborative, layered approach - Coaches coaching and involved in their own learning. Educator feedback and Trainer to ED feedback - Connecting, Coaching, Environment -nice work Aleni and crew.








February 26

Taupo, Wellington and Dunedin were the places of choice to upskill provincial union facilitators on RugbySmart and Small Blacks courses. Each one lasted two days, with the attendees living and breathing on what makes a great environment for our coaches and referees to develop.

February 10

The goal-line drop-out and captain’s referral – will be introduced for Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2021.

A goal line drop-out will occur when an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on in the in-goal area, or when an attacking kick, other than a penalty or drop goal attempt, is grounded by the defending team in their in-goal area. 

A captain’s referral will see each captain given one opportunity per match to ask the referee to have the Television Match Official (TMO) check for an infringement in the lead up to a try, or to review foul play.

For more click here.

January 20

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has expressed condolences following the passing of former coach and administrator Lee Smith.

NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said Smith contributed to rugby at all levels and news of his passing was met with sadness.

“Our thoughts are with his family and community at this time who will be mourning a special man. Lee’s contribution to rugby was extensive, from his time coaching Otago to working for New Zealand Rugby, Oceania Rugby and World Rugby to develop the game; he has definitely left his mark not only in our country but around the globe.”

Smith coached Otago from 1980-1983 and worked at NZR following that for nine years. He went on to work as the IRB (World Rugby) Development Director and Oceania Rugby Development Manager between 1996 and 2010.

Nov 23

A day in the life of working in rugby development. Southern Regions Rugby Conference.

Nov 21

Pasifika Aotearoa Cup Festival 2020

Nov 16

A day in the life of working in rugby development. Central Regions Rugby Conference.

Nov 10

A day in the life of working in rugby development. Northern Regions Rugby Conference.

July 17

In Tolaga Bay on Saturday, 10 Uawa Sports Club coaches of Small-Blacks-age players (six to 13) kicked off their season exactly as they had to.

June 29

Mid Canterbury Rugby Union not letting a bit of rain stop their course! Have you done your Small Blacks course yet?

May 18

Currently New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 and all community and club rugby will begin to follow the three stages of preparation. See the Covid-19 section.

May 8

Rugby Return to Play at Alert Level 2

As you may have seen in the media the government has confirmed, all sports – including rugby - can begin when our communities are given the green light for Alert Level 2.

This is very good news and we know our rugby community will be keen to be on the grass as soon as it is safe to do so. We want to make this transition back to rugby as smooth and simple as possible to ensure everyone is following the same guidelines and all our rugby communities are safe.

Rugby Smart in Te Aroha - Thames Valley.


Filming Scrum Factory at Tuakau College.

Day 2 of the Women’s only, Auckland Developing Rugby Coaches Course. Tania Hunter from  Auckland Basketball facilitating a session on Developing a team culture. Way to go Megan and her other educators Tidah and Cynthia. 23 plus women coaches attending.


A wonderful day at Chiefs Performance Course. Presentations and Q&A with two coaches Tabai and Barnsy. Plus the match referee Jaco Peyper. Heaps of learning lots of fun!

First RugbySmart of the year done and dusted in Hawera, Taranaki. We had a great group of coaches turn up.

RugbySmart at the Coromandel RFC.

Developing Women's Rugby Coaches up in the sunny north.

Blues/Canes game review; planning a session through P.O.P game review method; some dubious Hoola Hoop coaching/athlete work; and played Table Rugby to cover Attack & Defence as well as skill analysis.

On the grass for some practice before a debrief under the trees with some fruit and sandwiches. Tried some different things this weekend but the use of table rugby was a massive hit...and really boosted the coaches engagement.

Hurricanes region Performance Rugby Coaching Course Day 2, March 6th, run at Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club in Wellington. 15 coaches from Poverty Bay to Wellington. Awesome work guys.

Superstar cast of presenters kicking off Hurricanes Performance Course 5th March - Mike & Dan Cron, Leo Crowley and Mike Chu.

Great work to the 130 coaches & referees at RugbySmart training in Wellington 4th March.

Another DRC in full swing. Jack, Wiz and Lisa got the Taranaki course off to a great start. Not sure how many other PUs were able to call on M10 Cup head coach, assistant coach and Union CEO volunteer to deliver on the course. Thanks Willie, Jarrad and Lawrence. 25 plus coaches attending over the 2 days - best numbers for several years.

Thames Valley - Waikato DRC 2020 @ Whangamata.

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WRFU RugbySmart 1 2020 at Aotea College.

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Quality Coach education including, demos, practicals, role plays at WRFU coaching course.

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NZ Rugby's Wayne Marsters getting WRFU DRC 2020 underway.

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The Under 85kg National Club Cup is a new and exciting knockout competition for men's weight-restricted rugby.

The comp is open to all rugby clubs in the country, regardless of whether clubs and regions have 85s teams and grades. 

Clubs will compete within their local regions in the early rounds of the Cup, before moving through to a national draw from the quarterfinals onwards.

A national final is scheduled to be played in mid-August at a venue of significance. CLICK HERE for more info.

First night of Auckland DRC course -  bit of a coaching process using Hoola hoops as the skill. Look out night clubs in Auckland this weekend.

Senior Coaches, Referees & High Performance Staff mixing, mingling & creating valuable connections at WRFU Senior Coaches Hui.

Great cross Union collaboration with Blair Baxter (Canterbury RFU) & Tim Manawatu (Buller RFU) delivering and educating at the Tasman RU DRC! Thanks lads.

North Harbour DRC course - POP, Designing and Delivering, focusing on the ‘HOW’ to coach. Observing a basketball session with Justin Bailey from Long Bay College, and Jordan Farrington from Waikato leading the way with Coaching and Analysing Skill. And so much more!


Happy New Year - National Game Development workshop in January has just finished - we are now ready for RugbySmart and the year 2020.

Everyone enjoying the Northland sun at the Northern Region Game Development workshop!

A great idea for your Rippa sets! Just put a wristband around the bundle of flags.


South Island REO and RDO workshop complete and a great couple of days in Christchurch.

Central Game Dev Hui. Selling resources, mental fitness, voice of GD, collaborate and innovate, Tiki’s why, Harold Report, RS role play, Hess Report, RS Practicals, and ACRONYM for success. Do the mahi and get the crayfish , paua, whitebait and mussels - many thanks to Ryan Shelford and HK crew.

James Doleman the match referee for Auckland v Wellington match speaking to the coaches on the Blues Region Performance Course. Was certainly enlightening for the coaches to see how a ref at M10 Level prepares for the game. Thanks James the coaches certainly enjoyed the discussion.

Red Bull Ignite Development Workshop at the Mount wrapped around BFs 7s camp with Kyle McLean and Chad Tuoro. Participant centred. Media scrum, speed dating, and coach presentations.

Game Development in action- our NZ Rugby Women’s Referee Dev Manager- Emily Hsieh and Wgtn REO David Walsh at WRFU Sevens Coaching Course.


In 2020 there are some exciting changes coming to Small Blacks Rugby in your Provincial Union.

These changes include Under 11 Small Blacks playing 10-a-side Rugby. New Zealand Rugby will also be running trials with Provincial Unions to understand the benefits of 10-a-side Rugby for Under 12 and Under 13 Small Blacks.

QuickRip Rugby will also become an official part of the Small Blacks Development Model. It provides a fun and exciting non-contact rugby format and will be available in Rugby Clubs for the 2020 season.  

To view the 2020 Small Blacks Development changes click here.

Over the coming months NZ Rugby will be introducing further changes to improve adult and secondary school rugby.


Nothing like a good Small Blacks Tackle

All Blacks Clinic in Kamaishi City, Japan

All Blacks Clinic run in Granada, Spain.

NZ Rugby Foundation course Wellington, held at Johnsonville RC. 20 coaches put through their paces under the watchful eye’s of facilitators Grainger Heikell, John Schwalger and Hiko Davies.

Day 1 Northern Region Coach Educator group. Some real light bulb moments happening. 30 new coach educators from PU s attending.

Day 2 Heartland U14 Camp in Taupo- indoor character session, positional session, mixed squads training and mixed squads scenarios round out the day... well done to organisers and all.

Coaches discussing what they observed during the Blues U18 Skills day. Sharing ideas and any thing they learned that they could incorporate in their team.

Manawatu DRC kicked off with Fusi Fe’aunati running the cutter with some very experienced support.

Day one of You Make the call Refereing course in Hokitika. 12 new referees for West Coast. #beinthegame

First ever Hurricanes Region Women’s Rugby Coaching Workshop alongside the Black Ferns camp in Palmerston North last weekend.

Fantastic access to the BF Coaching group, alongside being able to observe training, scenarios and to talk coaching process together.

The coaching future is bright!

Taupō / Tongariro Tackle Clinics in the first week of May - how many of you are running these to keep our player's head safe?


First of the Small Blacks Coaching Courses kicked off last night in Taupō, great turnout 39 Coaches with plenty of learning & fun! How are your courses going?

All Blacks Clinics for Kids in the Big Smoke helps with children's holiday programme.

Big numbers at Counties Manukau Small Blacks Course.

First of the Women’s Coaches series workshops that are running in the Northern Region. Sam McKenzie from ARU taking us through some methods of coaching kicking.

Great Rugby Smart Night with Coaches & Referees in Poverty Bay!!!

King Country Rugby Smart with the guys & gals taking full advantage of the practical sessions.

Northland DRC was held over the weekend. 18 selected coaches took part over the weekend and were introduced to the modules with a bit of a Northland twist.

The course was held in our offices to provide more of a connection between ourselves and the community...for many this was the first time in our building!

A lot of learning and coaching gold nuggets came out plus the usual antics to keep them engaged and challenged.

A ‘Hurricanes Coach’ - Hayden Triggs outlining their Team Defence Profile while a ‘coach for the Highlanders’ - Tamati Ellison backs their Attack Team Profile.


Super experienced BF Coach & now NZ Rugby HP Women’s Dev Manager - John Haggart talking Back Attack & Women’s HP at Canes Performance Course. Nice compliment to Wes Clarke’s Defence session last night.

Coach resources King Country style - neat and tidy.

RugbySmart kicked off in Wairoa Athletic. Great to have Miah Nikora & Henry Janelle TeRauna Lamont driving our messages and our good ol Kaumatua Bill Meek.

Hanan Developing Rugby Coaches Course completed. Good 2 days with lots of learnings from both coaches and facilitators.

Bay of Plenty Rugby held a successful RugbySmart course earlier this week!


Wellington DRC Day 1- Grainger Heikell taking the group through Skill Analysis.

A great weekend in the BOP. 29 engaged coaches. Plenty of learning and reflection for our Coach Education team also.

The Northern Region Rugby Development Workshop was recently held at Clifton Rugby Club, Taranaki. Willie Rickards led a technical session on attack this morning and the engagement was fantastic.

North Harbour Coaches complete the Developing Rugby Coaches Course.

Tasman DRC course in Marlborough. The morning session was led by Mike Cron, with Tasman, Buller, West Coast Coaches
+ Marlborough 1st XV players.