Rugby Union Courses

Domestic Rugby Union Course

The NZSA’s Domestic Rugby Union course offers full time career and rugby development coaching opportunities for young men & women.

The NZSA harnesses the natural talent of young rugby players in a cultural environment that encourages every player to realise their potential both on and off the rugby field.


Our Domestic Programme offers New Zealand’s only full time Career & Sports Development opportunity for young sports people. The programme has four core strands. Supported by our Charitable trust, Te Kaihanga Sports Trust, the Trust assist us to deliver the Sports Development Programme, Culture and Life Skills Programme.DSC04736

What does the course cover?

The NZSA’s Domestic Rugby Union course offers full time career and rugby development coaching opportunities for young men.

The Rugby Development & Culture course for 2017 includes:

1: Professional Rugby Coaching & Training


  • Techniques
    • Latest techniques in rugby coaching
    • Innovative skill development training
  • Team Attack
    • Sequence plays from set pieces
    • Understand field zone & positional plays
    • Counter attack
  • Team Defence
    • Scrum, Lineout, ruck & maul defence
    • Kicking option defence
  • Individual Positional TrainingDSC04712

    • Forwards
      • Scrums
      • Lineouts
      • Ruck
      • Maul
    • Backs
      • Understanding attacking options in zones
      • Reading oppositions attack & defence
      • Counter attacking options
      • Defensive position & options


  • Individual ball skills
    • Passing and receiving
    • Kicking
    • Evasion techniques
    • Ball in the air
    • Ball into contact situation
    • Tackle ball options
  • Personal Physical Testing
    • Fitness
    • Speed
    • Strength
    • Flexibility
    • Skills
    • (All testing will be recorded & monitored throughout the year)
  • Specialist fitness & speed training
  • SWOT on Individual performances
  • Personal weights programme
  • Rugby psychology & motivation

2: Live Domestic Rugby Competition

  • Game Plan/Analysis & Recovery
  • SWOT Analysis-individual performances
  • Bay of Plenty Baywide Rugby Competition
  • Northland Club Rugby Competition

3: Cultural Awareness & Tikanga

  • Marae Tikanga
  • Mahi Kai
  • Te Reo
  • Waiata/Haka
  • History
  • Waka ama
  • Rongoa
  • Cultural Exchanges with Overseas Students (Manaakitanga)

4: Mentoring & Personal Development

  • All Black/Māori All Black & Super 12 mentors
  • Sports Psychology
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Media skills
  • Player contracts
  • Life Skill
  • Goal Setting
  • Team building activities
  • NZSA Sports team competition
  • NZSA students mentoring and coaching young rangitahi
  • Fundraising activities

The Rugby Union Career Programme

Students are offered the choice of four career options where they will study at Rotorua or Wellington providers’ campuses. The National Certificate in Sports Leadership Level 4 is generally delivered in the morning time slot in conjuction with Te Wãnanga o Aotearoa.

Rugby Union Career programme 2017 includes:

National Certificate in Sports Leadership Level 4

Provider: New Zealand Sports Academy
Description: 1 year full time
Eligibility: 1. Entry is for students aged between 17 – 25 years of age.
2. Students must demonstrate commitment to sport and fitness.
3. A personal interview is required.4. Hold a NZ Birth Certificate or NZ Passport
Course Fee: $1350.00

Money Matters – What Will It Cost?


The total course fee for 2016 was $1350. You may qualify for a student loan which allows you to borrow money to finance the cost of the course. All fees must be paid for by the start of the course.

Student Allowances and Loans

Apply early to ensure that you start receiving your allowance or loan when the course starts. Visit for more information.

Students Emergency Fund is available for students who have financial difficulty at some point that affects their studies.

Recruitment for 2017 – Do you think you have what it takes?

We are looking for Rangatahi who are passionate about Rugby Union and people willing to travel the road to success, committed to building their own future and proud of who they are & who they can be. Register now and email [email protected] ,or post the Player Registration form to us at PO Box 5146, Rotorua, 3015 or contact the NZ Sports Academy now for more details.

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Your future rugby career starts here.

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“My experience as a member of the New Zealand Sports Academy began in 2007, and an experience of a lifetime it was at that. I was an unestablished, inexperienced rugby player hoping to grow in knowledge and leave a footprint on the rugby world.

Upon joining I was informed that it was a full time course that required only a few key attributes of me… “hard work, commitment, honesty, and a whole lot of sweat.” It now dawns on me that it was a small price to pay for what I got out of it

The trainers we had at the time were Darrel Shelford and Shaun Tata, who I can not express to how much I enjoyed having them there to kick me in the backside and equally the amount of work they put in to getting the best out of us. The thing that amazes me the most about the coaching staff is just how vast their range of knowledge is. There doesn’t seem to be a thing they do not know about rugby and that quickly rubs off on the students.

Once I completed the programme I joined the Bay of Plenty Rugby Academy which lead to playing for representative sides such as;

Bay of Plenty Under 20s

Bay of Plenty Development

Bay of Plenty Steamers

Bay of Plenty 7s

I was then contracted to a club side in Dallas Texas before being contracted to a club side in Sydney Australia. All of which I accredit to the New Zealand Sports Academy

I am currently a firefighter in Rotorua and spend a lot of my summer times travelling with various invitational sevens teams and competing in tournaments worldwide.”

Curtis van der Heyden