New Zealand

Play Rugby in New Zealand

The capital of the rugby world, home of the All Blacks, New Zealand. People of this small yet beautiful country live and breathe rugby. It is the perfect destination to play rugby overseas. If you’re looking for information on where to play rugby in New Zealand, then this page is the perfect place for you.

The Mitre 10 cup is the premier domestic competition in New Zealand, with 14 province teams spread across the country. The Heartland Championship is the next rung down on the ladder. Competed between 12 teams.

Each Mitre 10 and Heartland Championship region conducts local intra-provincial club competitions. The club level in New Zealand is well followed by the local media and has strong local support. I will go into more detail of the more popular regions spread over both islands below:

North Island Rugby

Auckland

There are 20 clubs from the Auckland region. The premier competition runs from March to August and is split into three segments: the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup (pre-season tournament), the Alan McEvoy Round-Robin, and the Championship Round (finals). The most populous urban area in the country, means there’s plenty to see and do when you’re not playing.

Auckland North Island New Zealand Rugby

Bay of Plenty

Holds union wide and sub-union competitions, with 38 local clubs split into three regions, Central, Eastern and Western. The Bay of Plenty is a popular destination due to its warm and sunny climate that can be enjoyed on its plethora of beaches. So grab your surfboard and hit the waves.

Bay of Plenty North Island Rugby New Zealand

Taranaki

Located in the west of the north island, Taranaki has 15 sides. Find yourself a place in the main city of New Plymouth, the coastal city set under the imposing Mt. Taranaki. Here you can take part in snowsports and watersports all in the same day. The perfect escape from your rugby training schedule.

Taranaki North Island New Zealand Rugby

Waikato

In the upper part of the north island and serviced by the city of Hamilton, the Waikato region has a number of rugby clubs. Hamilton is a growing city with a bustling retail centre. Full of contemporary bars, clubs and restaurants due to the large student population its definitely a fun place to be!

Waikato North Island Rugby New Zealand

Wellington

Club rugby is an integral part of Wellington rugby. 18 clubs currently comprise the Wellington union and all contribute at least one team to the club competitions. Rugby is contested over three grades, premier, premier reserve and first grade. The capital of New Zealand is a popular destination for overseas rugby players. 

Wellington North Island New Zealand

South Island Rugby

Canterbury

The Country Cup is the premier club competition in the Canterbury region. The Hawkins Cup is the premier club competition of the Metropolitan sub-union. The Canterbury Union consists of 48 clubs, the most of any other New Zealand Rugby Union, split into three sub-unions, Ellesmere, North Canterbury and Metropolitan. The main metropolitan area in Canterbury, Christchurch, is the largest city on the south island. It features numerous public open spaces, parks, cafés and restaurants. 

Canterbury Christchurch South Island New Zealand

Otago

The union based around the principal city of Dunedin has 33 clubs split into two groups, metro and country. Dunedin is famous for its historic architecture and eco-adventures which await you. The major tourist centres of Queenstown and Wanaka can also be found in Otago. A hit with backpackers and locals alike offering both excellent skiing and nightlife set in a picturesque location. What a place to be playing rugby in New Zealand.

Otago Queenstown South Island New Zealand

Tasman

Located at the north end of the south island, the Tasman Bay located close to the city of Nelson plays host to 20 clubs. The gateway to three spectacular national parks it’s the perfect location for any adventure seeking rugby player.

Abel Tasman South Island New Zealand

What are you waiting for?

Do you want to play rugby in New Zealand? Do any of these regions sound like the perfect place to live? Get cracking, conduct some more research of your own and then get in touch. In the meantime check out this blog to help get you started!

Full List of New Zealand Rugby Unions:

North IslandSouth Island
AucklandBuller
Bay of PlentyCanterbury
Counties ManukauMid Canterbury
East CoastNorth Otago
Hawke’s BayOtago
Horowhenua-KapitiSouth Canterbury
King CountrySouthland
ManawatuTasman
North HarbourWest Coast
Northland
Poverty Bay
Taranaki
Thames Valley
Waikato
Wairarapa
Wanganui
Wellington