Willie Ripia

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Willie Ripia
Full nameWilliam Keho Ngametoa Ripia
Date of birth (1985-08-20) 20 August 1985 (age 35)
Place of birthMurupara, New Zealand
Height177 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight91 kg (201 lb; 14 st 5 lb)
SchoolRotorua Boys' High School
Rugby union career
Position(s) First five-eighth
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2005–2007 Waikato 27 (79)
2006 Highlanders 1 (0)
2008–2010 Hurricanes 29 (152)
2008–2010 Taranaki 34 (317)
2011 Force 7 (15)
2013 Bay of Plenty 10 (119)
2014 Wellington 5 (52)
Correct as of 26 May 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2005–2006 New Zealand U21 8 (50)
2010–2012 New Zealand Māori 5 (52)
Correct as of 26 May 2020

Willie Ripia (born 20 August 1985) is a rugby union player. He plays as a first five-eighth. He was born in Murupara, New Zealand. Ripia attended Rotorua Boys' High School.

Ripia started his Super 14 career at the Highlanders before moving to the Hurricanes. He also played for Taranaki in the NPC. Ripia has played for New Zealand at U-19 and U-21 levels, and also for New Zealand Maori. In August 2010 he declared his intention to play for Australia when he qualifies on residency.[1][2] He signed a 2-year contract at the Western Force, but resigned in January 2012 following a serious breach of protocol.[3] Ripia currently plays as a first five-eighth for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the ITM Cup

Domestic career[edit]

Ripia made his Waikato debut in 2005, but playing behind a logjam of backline talent, in particular Stephen Donald at flyhalf, and an injury setback early in his second year after he ruptured his Achilles tendon playing against Auckland early in 2006, demanding a lengthy rehabilitation period.

Ripia started his Super Rugby career with the Highlanders after he was called into the squad in 2006 as an injury replacement to Nick Evans, making one appearance off the bench against the Western Force.

Ripia moved to Taranaki at the end of the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup with the promise of more regular game time at Taranaki than was on offer at Waikato.

In 2008 Ripia came to the Hurricanes as a franchise player for Taranaki. Starting the season on the reserves, he broke into the Hurricanes starting fifteen against the Lions in round twelve, finishing the last four games of the season including the 2008 semi-final against the Crusaders wearing the No. 10 jersey.

He impressed again in 2009 with a series of reliable performances throughout the second half of the competition, also scoring 80 points and kicking at almost 75 percent.

Ripia surpassed 150 Super 14 points in his third season in the Hurricanes in 2010.

He then went on and signed a 2-year contract at the Western Force, but resigned in January 2012. He was recruited by the Force in 2010 as a foreign development player, which meant he could eventually qualify for Australia. He missed much of last season with foot and calf injuries but played a solid role in the team's surge near the end of their 2011 campaign.

He was subsequently released early from the Force for a misdemeanour, making a tentative return to top-class rugby for the 2012 Bay of Plenty Development XV.

Ripia signed for the Bay of Plenty Steamers for the ITM Cup 2013 season.

Personal life[edit]

According to the Sydney Morning Herald and other news sources, it was alleged by Western Force officials that Ripia had stolen money from other players at the club's facilities. Ripia initially denied any involvement, but resigned after being shown CCTV footage of the changing rooms.[4] It was subsequently reported that Ripia had returned to New Zealand and was seeking treatment for problem gambling.[5]


  1. ^ "Rugby Union News, Live Rugby Scores, Results & Fixtures". Planet Rugby. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Willie Ripia signs for Force". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Western Force and Ripia part ways". superxv.com. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Ripia quits Force over theft scandal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Ripia back in New Zealand to battle gambling issue". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.

External links[edit]