Carlos Spencer

Carlos James Spencer (born 14 October 1975) is a former New Zealand rugby union player and previously the head coach of the Eastern Province Kings and the Munakata Sanix Blues. He is currently an assistant coach for the New Orleans Gold of Major League Rugby (MLR).

Carlos Spencer
Carlos Spencer.jpg
Full nameCarlos James Spencer
Date of birth (1975-10-14) 14 October 1975 (age 47)
Place of birthLevin, New Zealand[1]
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight95 kg (209 lb; 14 st 13 lb)
SchoolWaiopehu College
Occupation(s)Head Coach
Assistant Coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) First five-eighth
All Black No. 951
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1992–1993 Horowhenua-Kapiti 18 (192)
1994–2004 Auckland 89 (491)
1996–2005 Blues 99 (620)
2005–2009 Northampton Saints 70 (172)
2009–2010 Gloucester 16 (22)
2010 Lions 12 (17)
2010 Golden Lions 2 (0)
Correct as of 29 June 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1994–1995 New Zealand U21 6 (44)
1994–2005 New Zealand Māori 10 (54)
1995–2004 New Zealand 44 (383)
1996–1998 New Zealand Barbarians 3 (32)
1997–1999 New Zealand A 5 (65)
2000–2006 Barbarian F.C. 4 (5)
Correct as of 29 June 2020
Teams coached
Years Team
2012 Lions
2013 Sharks
2014 Eastern Province Kings
2016–2018 Munakata Sanix Blues
2019–2020 Hurricanes (assistant)
2022 New Orleans Gold (assistant)
Correct as of 18 January 2022

During his playing days, he played at fly-half (first five-eighth) for the Blues and Lions in Super Rugby and for New Zealand internationally.

Provincial and club careerEdit

He generally specialised in the position of fly-half, also known as "first five-eighth" or "number 10", although he also played fullback (number 15) at national and international levels.

Spencer first rose to prominence when he starred alongside Christian Cullen in a Ranfurly Shield challenge in 1994, playing for the Horowhenua team against Auckland. Auckland coach Graham Henry spotted Spencer's talent and recruited him to play for the Auckland team.[citation needed]

He played for the Blues Super 12 team from the inception of the competition in 1996 until 2005, and for the Auckland NPC side.

In 1996, Spencer played for the Blues in the first ever Super 12-match, kicking off the professional era of rugby union. He went on to score 608 points for the Blues in the Super Rugby competition.[2]

In 2005 he signed to the English club, Northampton Saints, where he stayed until 30 January 2009.[citation needed] On 3 February 2009 he signed for Gloucester on a 17-month contract.[citation needed]

In January 2010 Spencer signed with the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions, to play for the team in the 2010 and 2011 Super Rugby seasons. The contract offered to him was said at the time to be the highest ever in South Africa.[3] He subsequently took up a coaching role with the team, before being released following the 2012 season. He moved to the Durban-based Sharks for the 2013 season.

In December 2013, he signed a five-year contract to become the kicking and specialist skills coach at Port Elizabeth-based side, the Eastern Province Kings.[4] He was appointed as their head coach on 20 February 2014.[5] He was in charge for just one Currie Cup season, 2014, where they achieved just one victory in ten matches. Brent Janse van Rensburg was appointed as head coach for the 2015 Currie Cup Premier Division season with Spencer reverting to kicking and specialist skills coach.[6] However, Spencer left the coaching staff a month later.[7]

International careerEdit

Spencer first played for the All Blacks in a non-test tour match on 4 November 1995, but did not play his first test match until 1997. His test debut was against Argentina at Athletic Park in Wellington on 21 June that year. He scored 33 points in that match alone.

His All Black appearances as a starter were somewhat irregular thereafter, as Andrew Mehrtens was generally preferred as the first-choice flyhalf for the side during the period from 1995–2002. He was selected for the 1999 All Blacks World Cup squad but became injured in training at London, so did not play a match in that tournament.[8] However, following an exceptional season for the Blues in Super 12, Spencer became first-choice first five-eighth for the All Blacks in 2003, and was a part of the squad for the Rugby World Cup that year.

In 2004, Carlos Spencer struggled to find the same form he had displayed the previous year, and Mehrtens replaced him for the final game of that year's Tri Nations. He was then ruled out of the final All Black tour of the year through injury. In 2005 Spencer lost form early in the Super 12 competition and then suffered a fractured cheekbone in training. He agreed to play for the New Zealand Māori (in his 10th match for that team) against the touring Lions, but made himself unavailable for the All Blacks so that he would not miss training for his new English club, Northampton Saints.

As a player, Spencer was valued for his imaginative kicking and passing game, and his ability to unlock defences. He was also a handy, if not entirely reliable, goal kicker. Only five players have scored more test points than Spencer for New Zealand — Daniel Carter 1,598, Andrew Mehrtens 967, Grant Fox 645, Beauden Barrett 465, and most recently, Aaron Cruden 322.


On 3 December 2011, Spencer stepped into the boxing ring against Rugby league's Awen Guttenbeil in Fight for Life 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. The fight was controversially ruled a draw despite Spencer knocking down Guttenbeil with seconds remaining on the last round.[9]

Awards and honoursEdit

In 2006, Spencer was named in the Guinness Premiership Awards Dream Team[10] and collected the Player of the Year award for the 2005–06 season at the Northampton Saints annual awards, as voted for by the club's fans.[11] He played in four matches for Bob Dwyer's World XV team in 2006, including a match for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on 28 May and a 30–27 loss to the Springboks at Ellis Park on 3 June.


  1. ^ Hyslop, Liam (1 February 2019). "Carlos Spencer's roundabout rugby journey comes back to where it all began: Levin". Stuff.
  2. ^ "All Time Super Rugby Records". Sports Digital Media. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Ex All Black Spencer joins the Lions". SuperSport. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Kings capture 'King Carlos'". Media24. Sport24. 10 December 2013. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Carlos Spencer announced as EP Kings Currie Cup head coach for 2014". Rugby15. 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Kings name coach for Currie Cup". Sport24. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  7. ^ Glover, Tim (14 November 2003). "Rugby World Cup 2003: Spencer steps off roller-coaster on to front". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 March 2008.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Fighter Bios". Fight for Life. Duco Ltd. Archived from the original on 14 January 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Catt scoops top Premiership award". 25 May 2006. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2006.
  10. ^ "Northampton Saints: Carlos Spencer". 18 November 2007. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2006.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Tom French Memorial
Māori rugby union player of the year

2002, 2003
Succeeded by