HKRFU announce new development partnership with The Chiefs Super Rugby club

13 April, 2015


Richard Kahui and Chiefs Development Team launch partnership with Hong Kong Tour

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) is pleased to announce a new strategic development partnership with New Zealand Super Rugby franchise The Chiefs.

The three-year partnership will provide the HKRFU with an opportunity to foster key performance objectives through a variety of coach and player exchanges and development programmes, community engagement activities and other strategic initiatives.

Yesterday, (Weds., 8 April), a 26 man squad representing the Chiefs Development team arrived in Hong Kong for an eight-day development tour to inaugurate the programme.

Dai Rees, General Manager of Performance Rugby for the HKRFU commented on the programme saying, "We are delighted to have the Chiefs Development squad in Hong Kong.

The tour is the ideal 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, so 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".

Chiefs High Performance Manager, Chris Tindall, said "We are really pleased to form a partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union commencing with this tour which stemmed from our discussions on working together. We are looking forward to working alongside the HKRFU 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".

"This tour to Hong Kong is a great opportunity for the players' learning, development and experience as young players and is also an opportunity to impress for the future," added Tindall.

Rugby World Cup 2011 champion and former Chiefs star Richard Kahui, who played for New Zealand in the 2008 Bledisloe Cup match hosted in Hong Kong, is attending the first part of this week's tour and will participate in a special community engagement exercise for over 200 youth from the HKRFU's Mini and Youth Rugby communities at King's Park on Friday (April 10).

During their time in Hong Kong, the Chiefs players and coaches will also engage in other school and community engagement activities organized by the HKRFU including a training session at La Salle College. The team is staying and training at the Hong Kong Sports Institute during their visit.

A key focus of the Tour is to assist Hong Kong's preparations for the start of the Asian Rugby Football Union's Asian Rugby Championship later this month. Hong Kong will open its campaign on April 25 against South Korea in a revised competition format that now features Asia's top three teams, (Japan, Hong Kong and Korea), reduced from last year's top five format.

Senior Coach Andrew Hall commented on the opportunity that the Chiefs partnership presents ahead of the Asian Rugby Championship, "From a national team perspective, it has really been a timely exercise for us and a great way to start this partnership.

"The Chiefs willingness to help out has been fantastic and I can't compliment them enough. Despite being in the midst of their Super Rugby season they have only been too quick to support us, always asking 'what can we do to help you prepare for the Asian Championships?'".

The men's national team will have four sessions with the Chiefs including a training match on Saturday afternoon at Football Club.

"It's massive for our preparations," says Hall. "With the new format of the Asian championships we don't have the luxury of playing with all due respect, the Philippines or UAE-calibre teams to build our momentum. The round robin format means that every game is a crucial outcome and we are going to have to hit the ground running, particularly against Korea at the end of the month."

The Chiefs Development touring squad consists of promising young players from across the New Zealand Provincial Unions that are part of the Chiefs region. It includes players from Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. All of the Squad have played, or are expected to play this year, in the New Zealand national Provincial Union competition (ITM Cup) for their Provincial Union. Six players have been triallists for the New Zealand U20 Team for the World Rugby Junior World Cup this year (the final squad will be named in May).

The squad includes previous Super Rugby players in Cardiff Vaega and Joe Royal, while Atuaisa Moli, Scott Mellow and Brian Alainu'uese all played in the 2013 and 2014 World Rugby 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 including Moli, Ayden Johnstone, Fin Hoeata and Shaun Stevenson.

Chiefs Development Head Coach and Player Identification & Development Manager Dave Dillon will lead the tour as part of the Development Team programme.