The Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union team, whose nickname is the Magpies, was formed in 1884, however it has its roots in the Napier Football Club formed in 1875, who changed to rugby in 1878 and called themselves Hawkes Bay. They play their home games at the 25,000 capacity McLean Park, Napier. Hawkes Bay is one of the oldest unions in New Zealand, following closely behind the founding unions that were formed in 1875.
Colours and Logo
The Magpies play their home games in white and black hooped jerseys, black shorts and socks. The away strip is usually all white. The jersey has been worn by several great All Blacks such as George Nepia, Maurice Brownlie, Cyril Brownlie, Alex Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Mill, Lance Johnston, Bert Cooke, Jackie Blake, Bert Grenside, Lui Paewai, Tommy Corkill and more recently Kel Tremain, Stu Forster, Taine Randell, Roger Randle, Greg Sommerville, Campbell Johnstone, Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford. The logo sees the interlinked initials ‘HBRU’ in black inside a shield. Needless to say the mascot for the team is a person in a black and white bird suit which looks like a giant Magpie!
Hawke’s Bay have a rich history with the Ranfurly Shield, with 24 defences from 1922 to 1927, 21 successful defences between 1966 and 1969, and 2 defences in 1934. A proud province with a history of developing quality players, their halcyon days were before the advent of the NPC format, since which a 3rd place finish is the best they can boast.
ITM Cup 2012
The ‘Magpies’ will compete in the Premiership, the top tier of the ITM Cup, for the 2012 season. New Coach Craig Philpott, a product of the Canterbury coaching development system, has opted for a robust forward pack which will include Chiefs’ players Hika Elliot and Ben Tameifuna alongside the experienced Peter Borlase in the front row, while their backline benefits from the return of Super XV players from around the country, most notably home grown talent in the form of Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford. The electric Gillies Kaka also adds x-factor to their backline, while Andrew Horrell will have grown significantly after his break-out season with the Super XV champion Chiefs.