Kurt Baker

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For the American musician, see Kurt Baker (musician).
Kurt Baker
Full name Kurt Thomas Baker
Date of birth (1988-10-07) 7 October 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 92 kg (203 lb)
School Palmerston North Boys' High School
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre, Wing, Fullback
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2008–09
2010–
Manawatu
Taranaki
16
40
(20)
(85)
correct as of 21 October 2013.
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2011– Highlanders 7 (10)
correct as of 2 June 2014.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2008
2012–
New Zealand under-20
Māori All Blacks
0
4
(0)
(5)
correct as of 3 November 2012.
Sevens national teams
Years Club / team Comps
2008– New Zealand 15
correct as of 12 May 2013.

Kurt Thomas Baker (born 7 October 1988) is a New Zealand rugby union player. He plays in the fullback (and occasionally wing or centre) position for the Canterbury based Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders, and for New Zealand's Māori international side the Māori All Blacks.

Also a current New Zealand Sevens rep, Baker has played in 15 Sevens World Series tournaments, has played in the Rugby Sevens World Cup and featured in Gordon Tietjens squad to take part at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Baker earned himself a Highlanders contract after a superb ITM Cup season in 2010. Starting at fullback, he became a regular try-scoring threat, with the Crusaders he was a member of their wider training group. At provincial level he began his career with Manawatu - his home province - before making the switch to Taranaki in 2010.

Domestic career[edit]

In 2008, Baker was selected in the Manawatu squad to take part in the Air New Zealand Cup competition (NPC). He debuted for Manawatu against Auckland in a Ranfurly Shield match, coming on as a replacement. Baker made his starting debut against Wellington.[citation needed]

Baker was one of Manawatu's top try scores with three tries, but was suspended from all rugby for up to eight weeks in the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup after verbally abusing a match official.[1]

In 2010 saw Baker shift north to Taranaki. Starting at fullback against Northland in Week 1 of the competition, he played mainly in that position throughout the season. Baker, joined Manawatu team-mate Andre Taylor, who also signed with the union on a two-year deal.[2]

Following the 2010 ITM Cup, Baker joined the Highlanders for the 2011 Super Rugby season. A stress fracture in his back sidelined him in 2011. For Taranaki, Baker continued to be a key contributor, there was a bigger prize at season’s end; the Ranfurly Shield. Heading into the 2012 ITM Cup he had scored nine tries in 19 games for Taranaki.

Baker eventually made his debut for the Highlanders in 2012 in the Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.[citation needed] He was a stand out throughout the season, one such try against the Blues in round nine saw him chase a kick at pace to what ended up being the winning try. He went on to play seven matches and score two tries for the Highlanders.[citation needed] He made an immediate impact with his decisive running and ability to spot a gap for Taranaki in 2012. His ability to put a player into space also caught the eye.[citation needed] He finished the year as the first-choice fullback.

Baker did not return to the Highlanders for the 2013 Super Rugby season,[3] but instead signed with the Crusaders as a member of their wider training group.

International career[edit]

Kurt Baker
Medal record
Competitor for  New Zealand
Men's Rugby Sevens
Commonwealth Games
Gold 2010 Delhi Rugby 7's

Baker was selected in the New Zealand Sevens squad for the opening two rounds of the 2008/2009 IRB World Sevens Series in Dubai and George, making his international rugby debut at the Dubai Exiles Rugby Ground. In 2009 Baker was named in the New Zealand Sevens trial squad, but went on to play in the England, Scotland, Dubai and George Sevens later that year.[4]

In 2010 he secured a permanent position in the New Zealand Sevens squad, playing in all 6 tournaments. In the Hong Kong Sevens, he led the New Zealand team in scoring 4 tries in their semi-final win over Fiji and 2 tries in their Cup finals loss to Samoa. He was also the top individual try scorer and point scorer of the tournament.[5] Later in 2010 Baker was then named in Gordon Tietjens squad to take part at the Commonwealth Games.[6] He was a stand out in the finals against Australia coming on as a replacement and scoring one of the winning tries to ensure them the gold medal.[7]

At the final of the 2012 South African rugby sevens title at Port Elizabeth, Baker scored a hat-trick of tries in New Zealand's 47-12 win over France.[8] Although the then 24-year-old Baker had only played seven matches for the Highlanders, Jamie Joseph, the Māori All Blacks coach, selected him for the 2012 UK end of year tour to England, playing against domestic club team Leicester Tigers, a specialiy made RFU Championship XV, and ending against the Canadian national team.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baker suspended for eight weeks". 1 October 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ McLean, Glen (23 December 2009). "Another Turbo jumps across to Taranaki rugby". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Unwanted Kurt Baker sees his future in sevens". Taranaki Daily. Fairfax. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "NZ Sevens squad for England and Scotland named". 14 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Official HSBC Sevens World Series. IRB (29 May 2011). Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Sevens side boosted ahead of Commonwealth Games". 2 October 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "New Zealand wins Commonwealth Games Sevens Gold". 13 October 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "All Blacks Sevens win in SA". 3 News NZ. December 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Maori All Blacks squad for 2012 European tour". 29 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 

External links[edit]