King Country Rugby Football Union

The King Country Rugby Football Union is a constituent union in the New Zealand Rugby Union. It is located in the central North Island of New Zealand in an area known as the King Country. It was formed in 1922 when the South Auckland Rugby Union was split into three (the other two Unions formed were Waikato and Thames Valley).

King Country Rugby Football Union
King Country Rugby Logo.png
Ground(s)Taumarunui Domain, Owen Delany Park, Taupo, Rugby Park, Te Kuiti
ChairmanRon Thomassen
Captain(s)Carl Carmichael
League(s)Heartland Championship
20157th (Lochore Cup Champions)
Team kit
Official website

The King Country team play from Owen Delany Park, Taupo, Rugby Park, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui Domain, Taumarunui. King Country, like many other heartland unions, have struggled since the start of professional era. In 1996, King Country were in the first division of the NPC and in just 6 years were in the third division.


The original King Country Rugby Union was formed in 1905 by the Manunui, Matapuna, Oio and Kakahi rugby clubs. In 1907, the newly formed Taumarunui rugby club replaced Oio.

The current King Country Rugby Football Union was formed in 1922, by the amalgamation of the first King Country Rugby Union (which was renamed as the Taumarunui Sub-union in 1922) along with the Ruapehu Sub-union in Ohakune (founded 1908), Maniapoto Sub-union in Te Kuiti (1907) and Ohura Valley Sub-union (1920). These were joined by Otorohanga Sub-union in 1927, Kawhia in 1926 and Kaitieke in 1933 with the Taupo Sub-union transferring from the Hawkes Bay Rugby Union in 1987. The Ruapehu Sub-union returned to its original parent union the Wanganui Rugby Union in 1970.

This was the second attempt to establish a Rugby Union in the middle of the North Island, as in 1920 the Rangatiki, Taihape, Ruapehu sub-unions (all affiliated to the Wanganui Rugby Union), and the King Country Union (affiliated to South Auckland) had applied for affiliation as the Main Trunk Union. However, this was declined after the Wanganui Rugby Union objected to the loss of their country players.

In those early years King Country representative games were held in Te Kuiti, Taumarunui and Raetihi or Ohakune. Otorohanga was first used for a representative game in 1939 with representative games also being hosted in Tokaanu (1966) and Turangi (1967).

King Country played in light blue and green until 1949 when it switched to maroon and gold hoops. In 1980, a maroon jersey with gold collar and cuffs was adopted. The current strip has been used since 1994.

King Country has made 19 challenges for the Ranfurly Shield over the years without success but having come close at times, going down to Taranaki in a hard fought game 11-15 in 1958. In 1969 they came even closer when good mates Colin Meads and Kel Tremain were the respective captains, King Country storming back from 6-19 at half time in a torrid second half before going down 16–19.

A well known and amusing challenge in 1988 against Auckland at Rugby Park in Te Kuiti when “Boris the Boar” mysteriously got onto the field and camped in the Auckland 25 for much of the second half.

With the 2020 Heartland Championship cancelled due to Covid-19 the Rams played three First-Class Fixtures against their traditional Heartland Rivals. King Country lost their first match against Wairarapa-Bush in the inaugural Mead-Lochore Scroll Fixture (18-22). The won their second fixture versus East Coast (34-22) and in their final game they became holders of the Sir Colin Meads Memorial log beating Wanganui 16-11 in Taumarunui. This game was also Carl Carmichaels 100th first-class game.


Heartland Championship placingsEdit

Heartland Championship Results[1][2][3][4]
Year Pld W D L PF PA PD BP Pts Place Playoffs
Qual SF F
2006 5 0 2 3 77 92 −15 2 6 6th Lochore Cup Won 17–15 against Thames Valley Lost 34–46 to Poverty Bay
2007 5 3 0 2 88 66 +22 2 14 3rd No
2008 5 3 0 2 119 96 +23 2 14 3rd No
2009 5 2 0 3 100 111 −11 2 9 5th Lochore Cup Lost 27–31 to North Otago
2010 5 1 0 4 76 119 −43 2 6 5th No
2011 8 1 0 7 150 281 −131 1 5 11th No
2012 8 1 0 7 178 230 −52 5 9 11th No
2013 8 3 0 5 163 211 −48 3 15 9th No
2014 8 5 0 3 196 176 +20 5 25 5th Lochore Cup Lost 6–37 to Wanganui
2015 8 4 1 3 245 192 +53 3 21 7th Lochore Cup Won 20–6 against Buller Won 47–34 against North Otago

Ranfurly ShieldEdit

King Country have never held the Ranfurly Shield.

1922 Hawke's Bay   42–8   King Country Napier
1933 Canterbury   36–0   King Country Christchurch
1952 Waikato   18–8   King Country Hamilton
1958 Taranaki   15–11   King Country New Plymouth
1961 Auckland   17–3   King Country Auckland
1964 Taranaki   21–0   King Country New Plymouth
1966 Auckland   14–6   King Country Auckland
1969 Hawke's Bay   19–16   King Country Napier
1971 North Auckland   16–6   King Country Whangarei
1979 North Auckland   21–6   King Country Whangarei
1980 Auckland   29–3   King Country Auckland
1981 Waikato   22–9   King Country Hamilton
1985 Canterbury   33–0   King Country Christchurch
1988 Auckland   28–0   King Country Te Kuiti
1992 Auckland   42–15   King Country Taupo
1994 Waikato   45–10   King Country Hamilton
1998 Waikato   76–0   King Country Hamilton
2012 Taranaki   67–16   King Country Inglewood
2016 Waikato   55–0   King Country Matamata

King Country in Super RugbyEdit

King Country along with Waikato, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Thames Valley and Taranaki make up the Chiefs region.

All BlacksEdit

There have had 8 players selected for the All Blacks whilst playing for King Country. The most famous King Country All Black is All Black of the century, Sir Colin Meads.

Additionally, former England captain and coach Martin Johnson played for King Country, during his early career. Further former Welsh hooker Garin Jenkins spent a spell playing for the province in his younger years.

Player recordsEdit

Most Appearances 147 P. L. Mitchell 1988–2001
Most Points 917 H. C. Coffin 1984–1995
Most Tries 46 M. R. Kidd 1974–1984
Most Conversions 150 H.C. Coffin 1984–1995
Most Points In A Season 230 H. C. Coffin 1992
Most Tries In A Season 11 S. J. Bradley 1992
Most Conversions In A Season 40 H. C. Coffin 1992
Most Penalty Goals In A Season 45 H. C. Coffin 1992
Most Dropped Goals In A Season 8 I. N. Ingham 1966
Most Points In A Match 33 H. C. Coffin 1992
Most Tries In A Match 4 J. W. Wells 1992
Most Conversions In A Match 10 H. C. Coffin 1992
Most Penalty Goals In A Match 7 L. W. T. Peina 2000


King Country Rugby Football Union is made up of 11 clubs.

  • Waitomo Rugby Sports & Recreation Club, Waitomo

Secondary schoolsEdit

King Country is geographically is a large union covering a wide area, however the population is very small, as a result there are only a few secondary schools within the region. As a result King Country Rugby Union doesn't have a consolidated Secondary Schools competition, rather the schools play their rugby in over provinces such as Waikato and Bay of Plenty Rugby Unions. These schools are still eligible for the King Country Secondary Schools and U19 Rugby Representative teams however.

together these schools are able to challenge for the Sam Te Kaha Shield, which is a challenge shield between all King Country Secondary Schools.


  1. ^ "Standings (2006–present)". Heartland Championship. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Fixtures and Results (2006–present)". Heartland Championship. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Finalists found in Lochore and Meads Cups". Newshub. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  4. ^ "2010 Lochore and Mead Cups finals wrap". Heartland Championship. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2016.

External linksEdit