Rathkeale College Rugby Club (2017)

Rathkeale College is an Anglican boys school with just over 300 boys based just north of Masterton in the Wairarapa. Our school has a very strong boarding tradition where over half the students live on-site. We have 100 boys playing rugby at all secondary school levels from junior and U15 Colts levels right up to 1st XV level. Our 1st XV plays in the Central North Island competition (www.cnirugby.co.nz), which has rapidly become one of the premier college rugby competitions in the country. With very established schools such as St. Pauls Collegiate, Wesley College, Wanganui Collegiate, Feilding High School and St. Peters College, the standard of rugby is very high and increasing every year. Many of the games are broadcast live on Sky television including the final and we are seeing increasing numbers of Hurricanes, Chiefs, representative and national selectors at our games.

Our School offers outstanding educational opportunities for boys with some very impressive NCEA results. Many students who come from other schools do find that they are able to achieve Excellence level grades at Rathkeale due to the small class sizes and the extra assistance and tuition provided. We also have a very strong and successful learning support programme for our students. We provide a supportive christian environment due to our Anglican special character, with a full-time chaplain living on campus.

We have some of the best school grounds in NZ with extensive sports grounds, gardens and our own native forest with state-of-the-art learning and sporting facilities nestled in amongst it all. Feel free to visit the College website at www.rathkeale.school.nz

At year 12 & 13 we are also joined by girls from our sister school St. Matthews Collegiate with the girls attending daily classes here at Rathkeale but boarding back at their own campus in Masterton.

In terms of 1st XV rugby, we have always been a very competitive side and punch well above our weight, but ultimately we have struggled against some of the best sides in the country. Last year a decision was made to significantly improve our rugby programme  from Year 9 to Year 13. The rugby club has been formed, significant sponsorship has been successfully sourced, new coaches recruited and other important resources are being prepared. We have implemented a comprehensive strength and conditioning programme for our boys and this is already showing some very positive results. We have also identified the need for additional player resources and hence RCRC can now offer scholarship opportunities to the right individuals. 

Despite our small size we have continued to promote significant numbers of players to the Wairarapa Bush representative teams, but we have also had a number of players selected for the Hurricanes U18 teams and selection trials;  Matt Dalley (Hurricanes U18), Sam Tufuga (Hurricanes U18, NZ Barbarians, NZ U20, Manawatu academy), Ueta Tufuga (Hurricanes U18, Manawatu academy). Other recent players have been offered ITM Cup academy positions or rugby scholarships: Ben Taylor (Hawkes Bay academy), Ben Renton (Lincoln University Rugby Scholarship), Tom McKay (Lincoln University Rugby Scholarship).

This year we have 3 players in this year’s Hurricanes U17 training squad and other players on the radar for Hurricanes U18 selection.

Rathkeale College 1st XV rugby will provide players with a pathway leading directly to representative teams and beyond. We believe that we offer a great platform for players to get recognised and further their rugby ambitions.


Our rugby staff is led by our Head of Rugby, Deon van Deventer and supported by a dedicated team of coaches and managers. We are also supported by Wairarapa Bush Rugby through their RDO and coaches, and bring in specialist coaches to provide high levels of coaching and expertise to support our players and coaches.

Our goal is to create a nationally recognised, and sustainable high performance rugby programme.

This process has started with the appointment of our Head of Rugby and the creation of a comprehensive rugby programme for all boys playing rugby from Year 9 until they leave after Year 13.




  • A rugby programme that consistently punches above its weight and creates nationally recognised and respected teams.

  • Become the rugby school of choice for boys and their families from rural areas of the lower North Island.

  • Be the Rugby School of choice in the Wairarapa.


  • Create a 1st XV team capable of consistently making the CNI top four teams – Rank consistently within the top 30 1st XV Rugby teams in New Zealand. 

  • Create depth with a 2nd XV capable of making CNI Development Competition top four teams and win the local 1st XV Competition. 

  • Develop a strong Colts team that wins traditional fixtures, and makes the final of Lindisfarne tournament.

  • Provide our Junior teams with quality coaching and an enjoyable rugby season. Aim to win the local competition.

  • Play our part in producing young men and rugby players who we can all be proud of.

  • Promote our players to the highest representative level possible.


  • Create an environment for players, coaches, parents, and teachers that promotes excellence in rugby and academic performance.

  • The character of each young man is the foundation of a team performance.

  • Rugby contributes to our wider school community.

  • Have fun.


  • Train as we want to play (full commitment by all players to our training programme)

  • Be leaders (look after and assist all players in our rugby programme from year 9 to 13 – take a leadership role in our school)

  • Pursue excellence (always strive to improve).

Strategic Drivers


  • Retain, develop and attract people who can provide sustained high performance support to coaches and players.

  • Create a leading administration and governance structure.            

High Performance Environment

  • Promote a culture of high performance excellence through our people, resources and facilities. 

  • Attract rugby players to Rathkeale who want to be part of our programme.

Plan and Assess

  • Plan our programme and seasons annually as part of an overall 5-year strategic plan

  • Complete monthly assessments with all coaching and the HOR.

  • Complete annual review involving all key stakeholders (players/coaches/HOR/school management/BOT/Sponsors/Parents).


  • Provide sufficient time and support to HOR, Coaches, Managers, players to do what it takes to achieve performance goals.


  • Set academic goals for each player which are pre-requisites for participation in the rugby program.

Key Goals - 2017

  • 1st XV – 2017 Top 6 placing in CNI – Win 3 CNI games – Win traditional fixture against Christ’s. 

  • 2nd XV - 2017 win local 1st XV Comp – (by 2018 - top 6 CNI Dev). 

  • Colts – Win 2 of 3 traditional fixtures - make top 4 of Lindisfarne Tournament.

  • Junior – 2017 Win Wairarapa colts comp.

  • All players meet academic goals.

Beyond 2017

  • Achieve a sustainable high performance rugby programme that constantly improves.

  • Build and maintain facilities which can support our players and teams achieve their goals.

  • By 2022 Rathkeale is consistently achieving top 30 rankings and competing at regional and national competitions.

  • Attract top players and boarding students to Rathkeale under our outstanding rugby and academic achievement and programmes.

Investment and Support Priorities

  • Administration and Coaches – Head of Rugby (HOR) oversees and implements the Rugby Programme at Rathkeale. 

  • RCRC to include of all key stakeholders to provide support to the HOR.

  • Invest in coaching to provide high level coaching to our players. 

  • Provide strength and conditioning coach and where appropriate physiotherapy support to players.

  • Make suitable nutrition available for players to achieve training goals.

  • To provide a pathway for all players from within our school to achieve their rugby goals. 

  • Create a self-sustaining rugby programme that attract players to our school.

  • Provide scholarship opportunities from year 9 for local students who would not otherwise be able to attend Rathkeale. 

  • Prioritise investment in coaching and playing resources at all levels to develop the best players we can with the players we have.

  • Investment in facilities  - Ensure we have the right facilities and equipment to operate our rugby programme. Requires a full review of current facilities and what is required to achieve our Mission.

How do we do it?

  • Utilise existing resource where possible to get best bang for our buck from limited resources. Work together with other Rathkeale sports to avoid duplication.  

  • Build the environment to retain, develop and attract coaches and players. 

  • Improve our coaches in high performance coaching. Develop succession plans. Provide support for coaches. 

  • Create daily training plans and competitive environment. 

  • Provide an accessible training, performance and recovery support environment with necessary facilities. 

  • Work with local and regional rugby resources.

  • Innovation – we have limited resources and need to play smart to succeed.

  • Identify our own talent and develop it through our system

  • Support our players and teams to compete and win in their local, regional, and national competitions.

  • Create a programme that is sustainable (avoid boom and bust which comes from buying a team!).

  • Attract students (with a focus on boarding students – NZ/International) to our school through our rugby programme.

  • All high-performance players enter Player Contracts (setting out character/training/playing/academic requirements for participation in the high performance programme).

217 Willow Park Drive, Masterton, Wellington 5871, New Zealand

Phone: (06) 370 0175
Email:  office@rathkeale.school.nz
Fax: (06) 377 9020