Hautapu’s overseas players relishing New Zealand rugby and lifestyle

posted in: News, Rugby

Five overseas players have been making the most of their time with Hautapu Sports, combining the chance to play competitive rugby and experiencing the New Zealand lifestyle.

“It’s been a great way to see the country and get to play a decent level of rugby,” says Joe Durie (19) who came to New Zealand from Bristol in the United Kingdom as his ‘gap year’ between school and tertiary studies.

Joe Durie (third from right) … ‘a great way to see the country.’ Photo: Jane Thompson.

Schoolmate and scrum-half Archie Hayes (19) also made the trip from Bristol so he and Durie could spend six months making the most of their time Down Under.

“We’ve been playing the Colts which has been good,” Hayes said. “In the UK, there’s no step between school and senior rugby so having the chance to play U-21s has really helped my game.”

Archie Hayes … enjoying his time in New Zealand. Photo: Jane Thompson.

Cameron Gregory-Ring (27) made the journey from England’s Northampton as he sought the chance to develop his game in New Zealand.

He messaged “just about every club in New Zealand”, seeking the chance to cross the world to play.

“Hautapu was the one that got back to me and encouraged me to come over. They were very good,” Gregory-Ring said.

Cameron Gregory-Ring in full flight for the Premier A side. Photo: Matt Gould.

American teenager Evan Cram travelled to Cambridge so he could spend six weeks playing with the Hautapu Colts side.

Cram (17), from Atlanta, Georgia, said he was making the most of his stay with Hautapu.

Impact player Evan Cram (left) about to feed the Colts backline against Marist. Photo: Jane Thompson.

Hautapu’s best-known overseas player has been Hamilton Burr (27) who arrived in Cambridge from Scotland more than four years ago, looking for a way to reboot his professional rugby career.

“I came here (to Hautapu) through contacts in the coaches’ network, and I’m still here,” Burr said as he prepared to make his 50th appearance for the club.

Burr’s rugby journey has seen him earn selection to the Waikato NPC squad and to the Chiefs’ Super Rugby side.

Main photo: The Hautapu overseas contingent … (from left) Hamilton Burr, Evan Cram, Cameron Gregory-Ring, Archie Hayes and Joe Durie.

Hamilton Burr climbs high to win lineout ball against Matamata. Photo: Matt Gould.

Club ‘loves hosting players from overseas’

Hautapu Sports president Dave Simes says the club “loves hosting players” who choose to combine a trip to New Zealand with a season of rugby.

Dave Simes.

“They come on their own steam, and all bring something different drawn from their individual backgrounds which always adds something special to our club.

“We try to match their age and playing level to the most appropriate team, help them find work, accommodation and create a supportive environment.

“Ultimately, though, it’s up to the players themselves as to what they want to get out of it, and this group has certainly contributed hugely, making the most of their time here.

“When you include the lifelong friendships made, and the links created for our own players to reciprocate travel, it shows the game of rugby has become truly global.”

Want to play rugby in New Zealand?

Hautapu Sports welcomes inquiries from players seeking to develop their rugby with a successful club in New Zealand rugby’s heartland of the Waikato region.

Enquiries should be emailed to:

Director of Rugby: seniorrugby@hautapusports.com

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