Pirates Head to Chiefs Country

With The Chiefs

Monday 8th May 2017


Pirates in New Zealand - Update

By Phil Westren

It was reported three weeks ago that Cornish Pirates’ Coaches Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver, Club Captain Chris Morgan, and General Manager Tom Magill were embarking on a trip to ‘The Land of the 1,000 Taniwha’, in New Zealand.

All four have experienced an exciting but very busy couple of weeks, on a trip organised by the Cornish Pirates in liaison with Director Colin Groves, who is also Chairman on the Waikato Province.

The quartet has spent half their time with Waikato Rugby and half with the Chiefs Super Rugby team, observing how the two organisations work and operate. Waikato Rugby is responsible for 32 clubs and 11,000 players in the Waikato, so has similarities with the Cornwall RFU. There is also a professional team, the Waikato Mooloos, who play in the New Zealand Provincial Championship. As for the Chiefs, the team represents six provinces, namely Waikato, Taranaki, Counties Manakau, Bay of Plenty, King Country and Thames Valley. Waikato is the biggest province but the term ‘Chiefs Country’ describes all six together.

Chiefs versus Queensland Reds contest at the Yarrow Stadium, Plymouth

As the four near the end of what has been a fantastic opportunity – they are scheduled to return home on Wednesday of this week – besides the serious rugby aspect (a more concise report will follow), which has seen them watch the Chiefs versus Sunwolves match played at the Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, and the Chiefs versus Queensland Reds contest at the Yarrow Stadium, Plymouth, Taranaki, there has been much to enjoy. Some of the scenery in particular has been spectacular, including Mount Taranaki, whilst they have enjoyed some traditional white bait fritters and also visited the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which are unique to New Zealand.

Oh, and what about the reference to 1,000 Taniwha? Well, the Waikato River is New Zealand‘s longest river, and it is also of interest known as the river of 1,000 Taniwha, which is very sacred to the Maoris. A Taniwha is a monster that in Maori mythology lives in deep pools in the river!


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