North Harbour Rugby Union
|Ground(s)||North Harbour Stadium (Capacity: 25,000)|
|2013||7th (Championship Division)|
The North Harbour Rugby Union (NHRU), commonly referred to colloquially as North Harbour or simply Harbour, is a provincial rugby team which competes in the ITM Cup (known as the Air New Zealand Cup from 2006 to 2009), the successor to the country's former domestic competition, the National Provincial Championship (NPC).
- 1 Area
- 2 Ranfurly Shield
- 3 Representative rugby
- 4 North Harbour in Super Rugby
- 5 History
- 6 Club and High-school Rugby
- 7 Current squad
- 8 Coaches and management
- 9 Former players
- 10 Mascot
- 11 Notes and references
- 12 External links
Harbour Rugby encompasses a geographical area that is situated in North Shore City, Rodney District and part of Waitakere City. There are 12 rugby clubs from Mahurangi RFC, based in Warkworth, Rodney District, in the north through to the North Shore club based in Devonport, North Shore City, the southernmost area of the union.
After 10 previous unsuccessful challenges for the Ranfurly Shield, most notably 1996 when they challenged for it three times in 6 weeks against Taranaki, Waikato and Auckland, North Harbour succeeded in their eleventh challenge for the shield on 24 September 2006 by beating the previous holders Canterbury 21-17 at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.
Under the rules of the Shield challenge, they had to defend the Shield before the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup season against teams in New Zealand's second tier domestic competition, the semi-professional Heartland Championship. Accordingly, they scheduled defences against Thames Valley on 30 June 2007 and Horowhenua-Kapiti on 14 July. Harbour easily won their first defence 69-0 over Thames Valley, and followed it up two weeks later with an impressive 99-6 victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Representative teams from North Harbour take part in both national and regional competitions. The North Harbour Senior side plays in the ITM Cup.
Apparel is supplied by Canterbury of New Zealand. Main sponsors are:
- QBE Insurance
- Jett's Fitness Centre
- Pink Batts
- North Harbour Ford & Mazda
- Ritchies Coachlines
- Pure Blonde (Treasury Wine Estates)
North Harbour in Super Rugby
As North Harbour is one of three provinces involved in the Blues franchise who play in the Super Rugby competition, their players are eligible to be picked by the Blues without relying on player drafting, thus, North Harbour players can be seen in Blues jerseys regularly also.
At the beginning of Super Rugby, North Harbour was part of the Chiefs franchise as a combined team of Auckland and North Harbour was thought to be unfair by the NZRU; Auckland and North Harbour collectively had a large percentage of the All Blacks of the time. Later however, North Harbour along with Northland were 'swapped' for Counties Manukau and, thus joined the Blues.
North Harbour was formed in 1985 from clubs which broke away from the Auckland Rugby Union. During this time the union's team has developed a reputation for playing quality rugby football. The first side chosen to represent the union was an under 20 side who played Felbridge, a touring side from Britain. Grant Ferguson had the honour of scoring the union's first points via a penalty, with his captain, Alan McCulloch scoring the union's first try.
North Harbour has enjoyed a great deal of success on the rugby field having produced All Blacks and other New Zealand Representative players, and also winning the 3rd division title in their first year, then promotion to NPC Division 1, and making the finals of the NPC competition on several occasions during the 90's, and hosted the 1994 final at a capacity-crowd Onewa Domain against Auckland.
Onewa Domain, Northcote was the former home base for North Harbour rugby. North Harbour players play in the Super Rugby competition as part of the Auckland Blues partnership with the neighbouring Northland and Auckland unions. With the development of the North Harbour Stadium at Albany in the late 90's, this stadium became the home base of Harbour rugby.
North harbour played Japan on June 4, winning 23-19 in Albany.
Club and High-school Rugby
The club rugby season runs annually from March through to the beginning of August.
There are also 16 secondary schools fielding close to 100 teams within the North Harbour Region. Due to the ratio of secondary schools to rugby clubs, there is a strong relationship between the two.
- Kumeu (Riverhead)
- East Coast Bays
- North Shore
- Royal New Zealand Navy
First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)
Coaches and management
- Alex O'Dowd
Managerial and technical staff
These are players who have played for North Harbour in the past and have gone on to play international rugby and accomplish other feats as listed:
- Todd Clever (USA Eagles captain)
- Liam Barry (former All Black, current Harbour Head Coach)
- Richard Turner(former All Black)
- Frano Botica (former All Black, former Kiwi League International and former Croatian International)
- Frank Bunce (former All Black, Western Samoa centre, New Zealand Sevens)
- Graham Dowd (former All Black hooker)
- Nick Evans (former All Black, rumored to moved to North Harbour but moved to Auckland instead, now playing for Harlequins in England
- Rico Gear (former All Black, now plays for Worcester Warriors)
- Hosea Gear (now plays for Wellington)
- Ian Jones (former All Black Lock)
- Blair Larsen (former All Black forward)
- Walter Little (former All Black second-five eight)
- Jonah Lomu (former All Black legend, moved to Wellington, left Wellington due to illness and eventual kidney transplant)
- Willie Lose (former Tongan international team captain and lock, now a TV & Radio personality)
- Slade McFarlane
- Glen Osborne (former All Black Fullback and Makakaho Rd Pig Hunting World Champion and rugby sevens commentator)
- Eric Rush (former All Black Winger and Captain of NZ 7's
- Buck Shelford (former All Black captain and former North Harbour coach)
- Silao Leaega
- Tevita Taumoepeau
- Te Rua Reihana Tipoki (Captain 2005-2006 First ever North Harbour captain to win Ranfurly Shield)
- Tusi Pisi & George Pisi - Samoan internationals
- Michael Harris (Has moved to Brisbane and currently plays for the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby competition and the Qantas Wallabies).
The Harbour Master is the official Mascot for the North Harbour Rugby Union, He is dressed in a 'Captains' style suit with a large smiling head and carries with him at all times an oversized pair of binoculars. As with every year since his inception he has occupied his place on the sideline during Harbour home games.
2010 ITM Cup Appearances
- Harbour Vs Auckland 01/08 (Albany)
- Harbour Vs Otago 19/08 (Albany)
- Harbour Vs Waikato 04/09 (Albany)
- Harbour Vs Manawatu 26/09 (Albany)
- Harbour Vs Wellington 10/10 (Albany)
2010 Television Appearances
- This Given Sunday 12/09 (Rugby Channel - Sky TV, NZ)
- In 2008 The Harbour Master was involved in a tackle which resulted in the rival seagull mascot from Auckland breaking his leg.
- Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpHkT27mVMU
- Photo http://www.harbourrugby.co.nz/mainmenu1/component/gallery/g98/QBE+Insurance+North+Harbour+vs.+Waikato+Sat+4+Sept/p899.html
Notes and references
- ONE Sport (2006-09-24). "Ranfurly Shield heading North". TVNZ. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- "North Harbour announces 2007 Ranfurly Shield defences". AllBlacks.com. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- Knight, Linsday (2007-07-01). "Rugby: Swamp Foxes frustrate fast-starting Harbour". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- Knight, Linsday (2007-07-15). "Rugby: Spirited visitors have no answer". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- "Rugby: Harbour welcome duo back". TVNZ. 2007-07-11. Archived from the original on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- "2013 QBE Insurance ITM Cup Squad". North Harbour Rugby. Retrieved 5 August 2013.