Two All Blacks and key members of the Gallagher Chiefs, midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown and hooker Nathan Harris, have extended their contracts with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and their Super Rugby team.

22-year-old Lienert-Brown, who played nine Tests last year in his debut season for the All Blacks, has signed a new deal through to 2020, with 25-year-old Harris re-signing on to 2019.

Lienert-Brown said he was delighted to be recommitting to his country and Super side.

"I'm hugely excited and grateful for the opportunity to re-sign with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby until 2020. New Zealand Rugby, Waikato and the Gallagher Chiefs have played a huge part in developing me into the rugby player I am today. For that I'm very thankful, and look forward to furthering my development as a rugby player here in New Zealand."

Harris, who has played four Tests for the All Blacks and 24 games for the Chiefs, made an eagerly-awaited return to rugby last week after a long injury layoff.

"I'm really excited to continue my journey with the Gallagher Chiefs for the next two seasons. I've had the privilege to be a part of this team for the past four years and in that time I've overcome some significant injuries and also got to play alongside exceptional players. I'm really looking forward to being involved with the Chiefs going forward, under Colin Cooper, and to keep working to be the best person and player I can be," said Harris.

NZR General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said: "We're over the moon that both Anton and Nathan have re-signed with us.  They are two players, along with others, that the future success of New Zealand Rugby will be built on.  I've got to know both these guys, initially through the New Zealand Under 20 side, and it's been great to see them grow as players and people, and achieve success at the highest level."

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: "The contract extensions of both Anton and Nathan are great news for our Club. Anton is an impressive young man on and off the field. He made his debut as an 18 year old against the Bulls at Pretoria, highlighting his phenomenal work ethic, tackling and creative pass as strong features of his game.

"Nathan's game time in both the Chiefs and All Black jersey has been limited due to a couple of major injuries. His athleticism and skillset suits the modern day hooker's role and we are really proud of the work Nate continually does in our communities."

Mini bios - Nathan Harris and Anton Lienert-Brown

Dynamic midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown was called into the All Blacks squad for the 2016 Investec Rugby Championship as an injury replacement, deserved reward for his consistent form for the Chiefs during the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season.  He finished the year with nine Test appearances and scored two tries.  Lienert-Brown was born and raised in Christchurch, where he shone at notable rugby school Christchurch Boys' High School. He was first set to play for the Waikato provincial side in 2013 but an operation delayed his top-level debut until the following year when he made his Super Rugby debut, played for New Zealand Under 20 and made his Waikato debut.  He has played more than 30 times for the Chiefs and 19 times for Waikato.

Mobile hooker Nathan Harris hails from Tauranga and came through the grades with New Zealand Under 20, making the final of the Junior World Champs in 2012 before making his provincial debut with Bay of Plenty the same year. He made his Chiefs debut in 2014 and was called into the All Blacks squad during the Investec Rugby Championship, making his Test debut against Argentina in La Plata. He has shown strong resolve and strength of character over the last few year with injuries. He was injured in the opening Test of the All Blacks Northern Tour in 2014, returned to the national side in 2016 for two more Test appearances before returning to the Chiefs Super team recently after his latest setback.       

Hard-working Canadian forward Tyler Ardron has signed with the Gallagher Chiefs for the 2018 and 2019 Investec Super Rugby seasons. At 1.96m and 114kg, Ardron is adept at number 8, blindside flanker and lock. The 25-year-old currently plays for Ospreys in the Guinness PRO12 competition.

“I'm hugely excited to be joining the Gallagher Chiefs and to have the opportunity to play Super Rugby. I can't wait to get to New Zealand and find out what makes Super Rugby the best club Competition in the world and be in an environment with such great players and coaches. I look forward to contributing and being a major part in the future success of the Chiefs” said Ardron.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: “This is a great signing for the Chiefs. Tyler is a very experienced and dynamic International loose forward. He’s been keen to test himself in Super Rugby, having been a standout for Ospreys over the past four seasons. He’s a bloody good man and his leadership and work ethic will align perfectly with the Chiefs.”

Tyler Ardron made his debut for Canada in 2012. A natural leader, Ardron captained Canada in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The versatile forward linked up with Welsh Pro 12 club Ospreys in 2013 and to date he has played 64 games for the side. The consistent performer was named Ospreys Player of the Year in 2015. Tyler Ardron will play for Bay of Plenty in the Mitre 10 Cup. 

The Gallagher Chiefs have proven too strong for the Queensland Reds, running away with a convincing 46-17 win at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.

In a much improved performance after a flat couple of weeks, the Gallagher Chiefs scored six tries in total with a burst of 19 points in the opening 12 minutes of the second half sending them on their way to five more competition points, and improving their record this season to nine wins and one loss.

A steady start from both teams meant neither side was able to make much of an impact in the opening 10 minutes. But the Reds slowly worked their way into good field position and capitalised with a strong lineout drive from five metres out – hooker Stephen Moore the man to get the ball down for an early lead.

From the restart the Gallagher Chiefs responded by winning the kick off and quickly moving to within metres of the Reds’ line. Prop Kane Hames looked to have barged his way over after seven phases of pressure, and after a lengthy look from the TMO the try was confirmed. Fullback Damian McKenzie slotted the conversion to give his side the lead.

Momentum soon swung back in favour of the visitors and, after winning a penalty right in front, showed their intent as they opted to kick into the corner and were rewarded with their second try when wing Eto Nabuli pounced on a deflected pass to score.

First five Quade Cooper added the extras for a 12-7 lead after the opening 20 minutes of play, but that gap was soon narrowed when McKenzie landed a straight forward penalty attempt.

After some good Gallagher Chiefs defence denied another positive period of play from the Reds, McKenzie made a good counter attacking run which led to a high tackle yellow card for Reds veteran George Smith. McKenzie made no mistake off the tee from the resulting penalty to nudge his side back in front.

Yet again the Reds worked their way deep into Gallagher Chiefs territory but a brilliant run from the returning Charlie Ngatai cleared the danger and shifted the Chiefs onto attack. After several minutes of pressure, it was Ngatai who fittingly finished off the movement, getting the ball from wing Toni Pulu and sliding over in the tackle to extend the lead.

The Gallagher Chiefs finished the half strongly and looked like they made add further points before the break, but the Reds held on and the teams went into halftime with the Gallagher Chiefs up 20 points to 12.

It took less than a minute for the hosts to strike in the second half as Sam Cane won the kick off to immediately put the Gallagher Chiefs on the front foot. A couple of phases after a good run from Tawera Kerr-Barlow the halfback then supplied a well-timed pass for lock Dominic Bird to crash over.

The Gallagher Chiefs made it a double strike as wing James Lowe made a clean break up the middle of the field to get the Reds defence scrambling. Some quick ball movement put first five Stephen Donald into space and he showed a good turn of speed to finish from 25 metres out.

After settling down for a moment, the Reds switched off at scrum time just five metres from their own line to allow the Gallagher Chiefs a tighthead, and Donald was on hand to take a short pass from Kerr-Barlow to score his second try of the evening.

With McKenzie converting both of Donald’s tries the score quickly blew out to 39-12 with still over 25 minutes remaining.

Just as it looked like the Gallagher Chiefs were about to completely run away with it, a turnover on halfway saw the Reds break out down the left wing and some slick ball handling ended in a well taken try to centre Campbell Magnay.

As both sides emptied the reserve benches for the final quarter the structure went out of the game until a piece of magic out of nowhere from James Lowe. Picking the ball up 40 metres out, the left wing ducked and weaved his way through several tired defenders to score a fine solo try.

The Gallagher Chiefs looked keen to hit the half century mark and had their chances late in the match but the match was ended when replacement Shaun Stevenson kicked the ball into touch to ensure the bonus point win.

Gallagher Chiefs 46 (Stephen Donald 2, Kane Hames, Charlie Ngatai, Dominic Bird, James Lowe tries; Damian McKenzie 5 cons, 2 pens) Queensland Reds 17 (Stephen Moore, Eto Nabuli, Campbell Magnay tries; Quade Cooper con) HT: 20-12.

The Gallagher Chiefs now head into a bye week before returning to action with a special fixture – a top of the table clash with the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium in Suva, Fiji (Friday 19 May, kick off 7.35pm).

Twenty motivated Chiefs region secondary schools teams will take to fields around Chiefs country over the next four weeks for the 2017 University of Waikato Chiefs Cup, Trophy and Bowl competitions.

The Chiefs Cup competition will be contested by eight teams in two pools to play three matches for their standing within their pool. The two pool winners will play the University of Waikato Chiefs Cup final on Saturday 3 June as the curtain raiser to the Gallagher Chiefs Round 15 Investec Super Rugby game against the Waratahs at FMG Stadium Waikato.

The Schools in the University of Waikato Chiefs Cup are:

Pool A                                                                              Pool B

Manurewa High School                                                Wesley College

Hamilton Boys High School                                         St Johns College

St Pauls College                                                             Rotorua Boys High School

Tauranga Boys College                                                Francis Douglas Memorial College

The Chiefs Trophy competition will run to the same format as the Chiefs Cup this year, culminating in a cross pool finals day on 27 May.

The Schools in the University of Waikato Chiefs Trophy are:

Pool A                                                                               Pool B

Pukekohe High School                                                   Rosehill College

Wesley College 2nd XV                                                  St Peters School

Cambridge High School                                                 Western Heights High School

Hamilton Boys High School 2nd XV                               Taupo Nui a Tia College

The University of Waikato Chiefs Bowl competition is comprised of four teams; Waiuku College, James Cook High School, Pukekohe College and Te Awamutu College. These teams will play three round-robin matches before their own Finals day, with 1st vs 2nd and 3rd vs 4th on 27 May.

Chiefs High Performance Manager Chris Tindall said the 2017 University of Waikato Chiefs Cup, Trophy and Bowl competitions played an important role in the ongoing development of rugby in the Chiefs region.

“The Chiefs together with our Provincial Unions are committed to the development of rugby and building success in the Chiefs region and believe that 1st XV rugby is an important part of that. The Chiefs Cup, Trophy and Bowl competitions give young players in Schools from each of our Provincial Unions the opportunity to play against different sides across the Chiefs region in a competition format, which is an important part of rugby development and identifying players for the future. 

“We have worked together with our Provincial Unions and the schools involved which has made this Chiefs region competition successful and we again appreciate the effort from everyone involved including the schools, players, management and supporters to support the competition for the players. We also appreciate the support and connection of the University of Waikato with our schools competition.” said Tindall.

The University of Waikato Chiefs Cup and Trophy competition is in its sixth year and continues to be an important platform to showcase the top echelon of secondary schools rugby talent within the Chiefs region. The competition provides players with the opportunity to stake their claim for selection for the Chiefs Region U18 Schools development camp which takes place in early July. This Camp is part of the selection process for the New Zealand Schools team.

Previous winners:

University of Waikato Chiefs Cup

2016: Hamilton Boys High School

2015: Rotorua Boys High School

2014: Rotorua Boys High School
2013: Hamilton Boys High School

2012: Hamilton Boys High School

University of Waikato Chiefs Trophy

 

2016: Hamilton Boys High School (2nd XV)

2015: Hamilton Boys High School (2nd XV)

2014: Hamilton Boys High School (2nd XV)

2013: St Peters School

2012: Thames Valley High School

 

University of Waikato Chiefs Bowl

 

2016:  Pukekohe High School

 

For all team and draw information please click here.