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Issue 8
Issue 8
April 2007
April 2007


The NZRU newsletter for Professional Players and Coaches

the biggest, blaCKest yeaR yet

Our national teams take the on the world in 2007

It seems as if every year is a huge year for New Zealand rugby, but there’s no doubt that 2007 is shaping up to be one of our biggest and best – and it’s not all about the Rugby World Cup. The All BlAcks season begins with the Iveco Series in June against France and Canada, followed by a shortened Philips Tri Nations Series. Then it’s on to France for the Rugby

World Cup in September and October. Portugal has just been confirmed as the All Blacks’ fourth RWC pool opponent, having beaten Uruguay by one point in a recent home-and-away playoff. They will join the All Blacks, Scotland, Italy and Romania in Pool C. The All Blacks will be based in or near Marseilles during pool play, but will also play in Lyon and Toulouse as well as Edinburgh during this period. If the All Blacks finish top of Pool C, they will face the runner-up of Pool D in the quarter-final, likely to be Argentina, France or Ireland.

The semifinals are scheduled for 13 and 14 October at Stade de France in Paris, with the final at the same venue a week later on 20 October. The Junior All BlAcks will participate in an expanded IRB Pacific Nations Cup, playing three matches in the Pacific Islands against Fiji, Tonga and Samoa followed by a match against Australia A in Dunedin before heading to Japan the following week. NZRU Player Development Manager Andrew Hore is delighted with the Junior All Blacks programme. “We had strong feedback from Junior All Blacks management in 2006 that the team should play more of their fixtures against the Pacific Island teams in the islands, to maximise

the benefits for global rugby and the experience of the players. This year’s three match swing through Samoa, Fiji and Tonga promises to be physically demanding but a very enriching rugby experience for all involved, both on and off the field. Coming off the back of the Rebel Sport Super 14 and moving more into winter, it should be a final chance to see some constant sun as well!” “The new ZeAlAnd under 21 prog-

ramme also contains some exciting changes this year, with a strong focus on player development for our next tier of international players. There is no IRB World Championship in 2007, but we have put together a programme we hope will enhance the development of these young players and give them quality one-on-one coaching from our top resource coaches,” Andrew said. New Zealand Under 21 will play a one-off game against Canada in Rotorua on 21 June. In addition, new ZeAlAnd MAori will continue their annual participation in the

MAori will continue their annual participation in the The black jersey holds a special significance for

The black jersey holds a special significance for every player who pulls it on.

Churchill Cup tournament in the UK in May and June, and the new ZeAlAnd sevens team will continue their quest for another IRB Sevens title with remaining tournaments in Hong Kong and Adelaide (March/April), London and Edinburgh (June). NZRU Professional Rugby Manager Neil Sorensen says 2007 will be an exciting year for New Zealand rugby across the board. “Our national teams will once again be involved in top international competitions, culminating in the Rugby World Cup. Player welfare will remain a key focus for us during this time. We’ll work closely with our national team coaches to avoid any conflicts over player availability, based specifically on the rationale of what’s best for the player.”

Key NZRU Contacts for Professional Players and Coaches

Neil Sorensen, Professional Rugby Manager Mike Chu, High Performance Coach Development Manager Andrew Hore, Player Development / Sports Science Manager Steve Targett, Medical Director Chris Tindall, Contracts Manager Chris Lendrum, Contracts Assistant Kerry Small, ACC Administrator Natalie Jones, PA Contracts Management

04 498 5910 04 498 5920 04 494 0966 04 499 5732 04 494 0776 04 474 7250 04 494 0780 04 494 0790


Ben Smith makes the most of an injury break (P2)

Tony Philp keeps Japanese eyes on the World Cup prize (P6)

If you would like to be involved in the next issue, please contact Chris Lendrum at the NZRU




from the Ceo

from the Ceo Those of you who watch the business news or follow foreign exchange markets

Those of you who watch the business news or follow foreign exchange markets will be aware that the New Zealand dollar is currently very strong, with one NZ dollar consistently worth nearly 70 US cents over the last six months. While a strong NZ dollar is good

Making the Most of a bad break

is smart streetwear for men with


strong New Zealand branding. It’s called Elusiv (like me). Well Elusiv is not that little

any more. Infact it’s turning into a monster that is eating up cash like

Streetwear entrepreneur Billy Elusiv (occasionally aka BEN SMITH) tells Engage! how he turned an unwelcome

Streetwear entrepreneur Billy Elusiv (occasionally aka BEN SMITH) tells Engage! how he turned an unwelcome injury into a welcome opportunity. It was not what a standard rugby training should be like The hills around Logan Park in Dunedin are ablaze and there are three helicopters buzzing around trying to put the fires out. Also, the groundsmen seem to have put a beach-full of sand on the grass for some reason. Interesting. Warm up goes alright, and then the trainer introduces Gaelic football as a warm up game, without the contact. On my first touch of the ball I catch it, go

high maintenance lady friend. The


original idea was to make money, not roll up and smoke the little that I had to start with. Short term sacrifice for a longer term gain they reckon. However now, more than

one year after the little darling Elusiv was launched, there are 25 retail streetwear stores in New Zealand that stock our brand. We have just had some of our range at the Dunedin Fashion Show which is good for our profile. But that doesn’t beat JD Fortune of INXS wearing our T at


overseas tour, it’s not good news for the NZRU’s bank balances. Almost two-thirds of our income comes from overseas, including broadcasting revenue from our partners at News Corporation (Australia) and SuperSport (South Africa) and from sponsorship income from adidas (Germany) and our new major sponsor Iveco (Italy). These organisations pay us in either US dollars or Euros. In simple terms, the stronger the NZ dollar is the less income we get for every US dollar or Euro we convert. If the NZ dollar is weak, at US$0.50 for example, we receive NZ$2.00 for every

US dollar paid to us. But if the NZ dollar is strong, at US$0.70 cents as it

you need spending money on an


concert in Auckland last year. Now

that’s good profile. Why did I want to start a clothing business while playing rugby? Well I had studied marketing and management at varsity and wanted to apply that knowledge. I thought the best way was to give it a crack and learn from my mistakes along the way. I would love to claim all the credit but I cannot. My better half Nicola Reilly is the designer and production manager which leaves me with not much really, just some



now, then we receive approximately

NZ$1.45 for each US dollar. Multiplied

by millions of dollars, you can see what


huge difference this makes to the

NZRU’s finances. Over the last few years, we have benefited from a weak NZ dollar, as

revenue was converted into NZ dollars

at favourably low value exchange rates. As a result, we have built up considerable amount of cash to cover

to take off and as I do, my foot gets caught in the beach and twists around, my knee snaps backwards, and next thing I know I’m on my back. I heard a big suction popping noise, like taking the cork out of a wine bottle. It took the cork out of me, that’s for sure. Really sore. My hands were going to and fro from face to knee. You know that feeling when you realise you are going to be out for a long time? Well I’d never had that feeling before, never thought it would happen to me. The injury was diagnosed as a ruptured ACL, with a solid six months of recovery. I’m not afraid to admit there were a few tears at the time, but I suppose it could have been worse – it could have been career ending. So, what was I going to do with myself now? Luckily I have a little business on the side to keep me going.


INXS’s JD Fortune wears Elusiv, and a couple of tattoos to remind himself that he’s just like you and me.


rainy day; that bad weather, due to

a rainy day; that bad weather, due to  

the current strength of the NZ dollar, is

with us now. The result is that in 2006 the NZRU made a loss of $4.8 million.


the NZ dollar remains strong in 2007,

we will have to absorb another loss. Clearly multi-million dollar losses are not sustainable forever and therefore we are taking steps to reduce our expenses in 2007 by $2 million. We will however this year maintain our core activities including funding for teams, players, competitions and the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup 2007 campaign. In addition we are nervously watching the NZ dollar and hoping that it falls. That more than anything will help us to get back into the black. Regards,





Making the Most of a bad break

of the modeling, but I’m even trying to phase myself out of that now because I get crucified for it from the boys. Surprisingly though, I do get offers from some of the players when nobody else is around, saying that they are available for some part time modeling work. Even some of the management have sidled up to me and proposed themselves as having the goods to do the job. True! I would dearly love to name names, but you might have to wait and see if I get

another Engage! column to find out. Elusiv is great fun, keeps my mind sharp as a tack (if it ever was), gives

me something to do away from rugby, and at the moment, away from gym/ rehab/prehab and all that other “hab” stuff. Otherwise I get bored. So the moral of the story is:

keep your options open outside of footy. Just don’t pin your hopes on being a model for Elusiv when you retire.

pin your hopes on being a model for Elusiv when you retire. Kick, push, kick, push,

Kick, push, kick, push, kick, push, kick, push, coast Josh looking Elusiv at Dunedin’s Fashion Week.

image: otago daily times

at Dunedin’s Fashion Week. image : otago daily times THE POWER OF CONDITIONING It’s fair to


It’s fair to say there is plenty of anticipation both from the players and public alike about the results of the recently concluded conditioning programme undertaken by 22 of our top professional players. All Blacks and National Fitness Adviser GRAHAM LoWE brings Engage! up to speed with the programme, its goals and its potential outcomes. The conditioning window was in effect a pre-season training opportunity for a group of players who, due to high playing demands over the past three years, have had limited opportunities to get consistent conditioning work done on an annual basis. The goals of the window were to create some quality training history, refresh players mentally, attain some performance goals, and acknowledge some welfare issues that relate to the significant amount of game and competition load that these players have experienced. The conditioning players started training together in groups within each franchise in early January, each completing three cycles of three weeks’ training. Each cycle was concluded with a national camp that included fitness testing and monitoring to ensure that the next stage of the programme met their individual needs. Overall, the individual programmes had a strong focus on strength, power, and speed development. Not only is

this is an area where New Zealand players have a relatively poor training

history, but it is also an area that we believe we have a distinct advantage over other countries and so the thinking was, why not enhance that advantage? The delivery of the programme was achieved through fantastic support from key people in each region, from franchise management through to the conditioning, medical and massage people who worked at the coal face with the players. Without their hard work and dedication this would not have been possible. Barring some niggling injuries that some players experienced through the intensity of the programme, there are some impressive changes in physical capacity both in the gym and on the field. Almost to a man, players achieved personal bests in one or more of the areas we tested and monitored. They are now excited about being back on the field, and we wish them all the best in their return to play.

back on the field, and we wish them all the best in their return to play.

Lowie with eight of his enthusiastic subjects.




Changes at the offiCe…


As some of you will already be aware, Steve Lancaster left his position as manager of the NZRU’s Professional Player, Coach and Referee Team in September 2006 to take up the new role of High Performance Leader at the Crusaders. We wish Lancs and his family all the best for their move back to Christchurch. The professional rugby areas of the NZRU’s business have now been reorganized into one team under the leadership of Professional Rugby Manager Neil Sorensen.

business have now been reorganized into one team under the leadership of Professional Rugby Manager Neil
In 2006, the NZRU agreed to increase its contribution to the Player Payment Pool for

In 2006, the NZRU agreed to increase its contribution to the Player Payment Pool for the remainder of the term of the Collective Agreement, with a number of programmes and benefits receiving increased funding. From the increased contribution, $355,000 was allocated to be spent on the development of the Professional Development Programme in 2007 and 2008. NZRU Player Development Manager ANDREW HoRE discusses the plans for extending the PDP.


The use of the additional funding was agreed between the NZRU and the Players Association following a review of the current programme in November


The review was held over two days in Wellington and incorporated


feedback from all people involved in providing and receiving the benefits of the PDP, including the five franchise PDMs, NZRU and Players Association representatives, coach and team management personnel and three players – Tane Tu’ipulotu, Greg Somerville and Angus Macdonald. The review concluded that the PDP should be extended to allow each non- franchise host Provincial Union (ie all Provincial Unions involved in the Air New Zealand Cup except Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago) to have a part-time PDM who would be managed by their respective franchise PDM. This decision was made for a number of reasons, including:

• It is currently extremely difficult for the five franchise PDMs to see and cater for all Provincial Union contracted players within their franchise.


• It was felt that in many cases Provincial Union players who are not selected for the Rebel Sport Super 14 are the players with the greatest need for PDP support, as they often play Air New Zealand Cup and have to find employment during the rest of the year. The PDP can assist by exposing this group to business and workplace opportunities;

Sos oversees a large team covering contracting, national team administration, medical, player development and sports science, and high performance coaching and referees. He will also be involved in maintaining our communication and relationship with the Players Association. Sos has moved over into his new role from his previous job as NZRU Rugby Operations Manager, which included managing tournaments, inbound tours and national teams. He will maintain that role as well as his new one until May, when a new face, Simon Jelowitz will take over as Rugby Operations Manager. Simon joins us from the IRB, where he was in charge of running IRB tournaments, including the Under 19 and Under 21 World Championships. Also on the move is Mark Robinson. Robbo joined the NZRU in 2006 as our Talent Identification Manager, a newly created role at that time. He has now taken up the role of CEO at the Taranaki Rugby Union, where he started in March.

Expansion will allow players to transition from the Air New Zealand Cup to the Rebel Sport Super 14 environment easily, and improve coordination of individual players’ professional development; and The addition of Provincial Union PDMs will mean that the franchise PDM will be responsible for Rebel Sport Super 14, Wider Training Group and New Zealand Sevens players, while the Provincial Union PDM will be responsible for their Provincial Union-level players. The new roles of Provincial Union PDMs are likely to be part-time roles of 15–20 hours per week. Advertising for the new roles began in February and it is likely that appointments will be made around the country in time for the beginning of each province’s Air New Zealand Cup campaign.

CoaChing Course for Professional Players


Last November the NZRU ran our first Players Transition to Coaching Course in Palmerston North, attended by 14 current and former professional players. The course covered the fundamentals of the NZRU Principles of Rugby Coaching (PORC) curriculum and was facilitated by NZRU coaching staff Richard Skelly and Mike Chu, along with Christchurch College of Education Lecturer Hugh Galvan. Topics such as principles of attack and defence, lineouts, scrums, coaching philosophies, styles and mental toughness were covered, as well as a session from leading NZRU professional referee Lyndon Bray. The attendees ranged in coaching experience, but all were expected to coach a session during the two-day course and are now in the process of completing the 50 hours’ coaching required to complete the course. Feedback from attendees was very positive, and another course is planned for November 2007. For information on this year’s course contact Alice Foot at, or contact your local PDM.




give an education and save a life

As part of the ongoing relationship between the All Blacks and the NZRU’s official charity, Save the Children, several All Blacks volunteered their time to visit Save the Children programmes in South Africa and Fiji after the end of the Philips Tri Nations Series in 2006. The visits were featured in Save the Children’s annual appeal television commercial. NZRU Marketing Executive JoE MAKISI, who joined the trip to Fiji, reports. Anton Oliver, Doug Howlett, Keven Mealamu and Carl Hayman visited Harrismith High School, in Free State, South Africa. In this part of South Africa, one in five people has HIV/AIDs and one in six children has lost a

parent to HIV/AIDs. Almost 80% of the children in this area live in poverty. Having the guys there for the day was definitely a big change from the kids’ daily routine, and they loved it! The players played games and read books with the kids, and helped to plant a vegetable garden in the school. Jerry Collins, Joe Rokocoko and Byron Kelleher visited the little

Collins, Joe Rokocoko and Byron Kelleher visited the little community at Narere, in Suva, Fiji. There
Collins, Joe Rokocoko and Byron Kelleher visited the little community at Narere, in Suva, Fiji. There

community at Narere, in Suva, Fiji. There they met the families serviced by Save the Children’s mobile playgroup project and installed recreation equipment outside the tin buildings where local kids learn and play. Again, the guys put constant smiles on the kids’ faces, and with their tops off in the 30 degree heat, all the mums were smiling too!

Save the Children and the NZRU would like to say a big thank you to all the players involved in the project site visits. Their time, effort and support really does make a difference. For more information on Save the Children and their valuable work, visit or call 0800 167 168.

work, visit or call 0800 167 168. Above: Jerry, Byron and Joe swapped balls for

Above: Jerry, Byron and Joe swapped balls for bricks in Fiji.

image: nz womans weekly, fiona tomlinson

Below left: Keven and Carl lead Harrismith students in a clapping game. Below right: Doug and Anton get in touch with the African soil.

images: save the children

students in a clapping game. Below right: Doug and Anton get in touch with the African
students in a clapping game. Below right: Doug and Anton get in touch with the African







30-year-old former Chief ToNy

stration, firstly as the Academy Manager and then later as Rugby Development Manager, where I was responsible for the Academy, RDOs and amateur rep teams. At the end of 2005, I applied for the IRB’s High Performance Manager roles with the Pacific Islands. However, the IRB thought my skills and experience were better suited to Japan, so here I am. My family and I are thoroughly enjoying the challenge, culture and experience of Japan, with its friendly people, great food, and high efficiency! My role as High Performance Manager is to help support the JRFU

in implementing a high performance plan that focuses on player, referee and coach development as well as looking at who and when we play in our international and domestic competitions. The vision for this plan is “ATQ”, which stands for “Advance to the Quarterfinal” at the Rugby World Cup tournament in 2011. I believe that Japan has the potential to reach this goal, although it will take a lot of hard work and commitment from Japan’s rugby community. But if I didn’t believe it was possible, I wouldn’t be here!

PHILP is currently working in Japan as the High Performance Manager for the Japanese Rugby Football Union. He tells Engage! about the pathway he took to his current role. As an aspiring player, I always felt it was really important to get an education and some work experience behind me, so that if my on-field career did not work out

really important to get an education and some work experience behind me, so that if my


had something to fall back on.

Tony and his family have slipped, or should that be slippered, right in to the

Tony and his family have slipped, or should that be slippered, right in to the way of life in Japan.

So from school I went to Massey University and studied a double major in Management and Sports Management and Coaching, and

then did a year at Sport Wanganui as

district coordinator. With all of that behind me, I began to concentrate on becoming


a professional rugby player. In 2000,

I took up a contract with Waikato

that eventually saw me working as a full-time Rugby Development Officer as well as playing for Waikato in the Air New Zealand NPC. I resigned as an RDO in 2001 when I was picked in the Chiefs for the first time. In the middle of 2003 I found out that I had a serious back injury which forced me to retire from professional rugby. I rejoined Waikato’s admini-


UPDATE: Player Loyalty Plan


As of 20 March, a total of 151 Rebel Sport Super 14 and New Zealand Sevens players were members of the NZRU Player Loyalty and Superannuation Plan. This means 77% of eligible players are part of the scheme. By franchise, the percentage of players who are members is:

The table below shows the amount invested in each of the nine investment options:

AMP Capital Assured AMP Capital Stable AMP Balanced ASB Balanced BT Balanced ING Balanced Tower Balanced AMP High Equity Lifesteps – Establishment Total























Those of you who haven’t yet joined may still do so by contacting your PDM.