Fixtures announced for NZ Schools and NZ Barbarians Schools

NZR     19 Jul 2016     NZR

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Mike Anthony said: “Inclusion of the New Zealand Barbarians in this schedule has been critical because we want to keep casting our net wide.

“It’s essential that we develop a wider group for the future. Including a Barbarians team is really important to our organisation.

“The advantages are clear. Take Stephen Perofeta for example, who played for the Barbarians last year, and within a year he was the starting 10 for the Under 20 side. Current All Blacks Damian McKenzie, Lima Sopoaga, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Ardie Savea have all played for New Zealand Schools as part of their development.”

The two teams will not officially face each other this year, but may take part in an opposed run-out in the lead up to the test matches.

“It’s important that both teams get the best preparation for their matches against Fiji and Australia. We’ve been really successful against Australia in the last three years, and two years ago New Zealand Barbarians Schools also defeated them,” he said.

The NZ Schools programme provides an opportunity for young elite school players to be immersed into a high performance environment.

“It’s very much a development focus. We want to give our young players the best chance of being better prepared for the demands later on. We’ve ensured that through having the right people supporting the Schools programme the players have the best rugby experience to date. We’ve done that through quality providers and quality coaching.”

At the end of September, a group of 55 players will be invited to the NZ Schools Development Camp at the Millennium Institute in Auckland. These players have been identified by the selection network who have been out watching 1st XV games over the last 5-6 months.

A new strategy introduced two years ago includes the appointment of an Investec Super Rugby coach to work alongside a college 1st XV coach. This year, Hurricanes Assistant Coach Jason Holland will be the Head Coach of New Zealand Schools with Gisborne Boys' High School's Tom Cairns as his assistant. Ryan Martin from Otago Boys High and Sam Moore from New Plymouth Boys' High will coach the New Zealand Barbarians Schools.

“The level of support and the quality of support in the management team is extremely important. Having a professional coach in the environment provides leadership and helps to upskill the rest of the group,” added Anthony.

“Both programmes are well resourced with support staff including physios, strength and conditioning coaches, performance analysts, nutritionist and mental skills provider. Many are involved at the professional level with Investec Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup teams.”

New Zealand Schools and Australia Schools play for the Trans-Tasman Shield, currently held by New Zealand who defeated Australia 32-8 in last year’s clash. The Jerry Collins Memorial Bronze Boot is also awarded at this fixture, to the standout player as chosen by the opposition management. Last year’s recipient was prop Alex Fidow, who went on to play for New Zealand Under 20 in the recent World Rugby Championship in Manchester.
New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Barbarians Schools fixtures:
Saturday 23 - Monday 25 September
Development Camp (50-55 players)
Millennium Institute, Auckland

Thursday 29 September
Australia Schools v Fiji Schools
Sacred Heart College, Auckland

Monday 3 October
Australia Schools v New Zealand Barbarians Schools
Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland

Monday 3 October
Fiji Schools v New Zealand Schools
Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland

Saturday 8 October
Fiji Schools v New Zealand Barbarians Schools
Auckland Grammar School, Auckland

Saturday 8 October
Australia Schools v New Zealand Schools
Auckland Grammar School, Auckland

SKY TV Schedule:
*Both games played on Saturday 8 October will be broadcast live on the Rugby Channel.

Management teams

New Zealand Schools

Head Coach Jason Holland (Hurricanes)
Assistant Coach Tom Cairns (Poverty Bay / Gisborne Boys High School)
Manager Nick Reid (Awatapu College)
S&C Coach Gareth Duder (Canterbury)
Physio Karl Houltham (Highlanders)
Performance Analyst Tom Martin (Manawatu)

Barbarians Schools
Head Coach Ryan Martin (Otago Boys High School)
Assistant Coach Sam Moore (New Plymouth Boys High School)
Manager Chris Metcalfe (Mount Albert Grammar School)
S&C Coach James Holden (Samoa 7s / Northland)
Physio Andy McGregor (Auckland Grammar School)
Performance Analyst tbc

Support staff to both teams
Scrum Coach tbc
Mental Skills John Quinn (Canterbury)
Nutritionist Johnny Rea (Canterbury)