Robbie has spent much of his professional life immersed in the fantastic sport of rugby. He started off playing rugby at the innocent age of 4, following in his brother’s footsteps and coached by his rugby dedicated father, Walter.
Playing has been his passion throughout his life and representing his country was his ultimate goal, however the steadying influence of his mother made sure, at 18, he had some academic substance behind him and went off to art school in Auckland.
Half way through his first year in higher education the Rugby Gods came calling. Bradford Northern, as they were called at the time, had heard of his “wannabe” skills through his brother Henry who had signed with Wigan. He had no hesitations about signing and was itching to join his big brother and get one step closer to that dream of playing professionally. Bradford soon became his home and he fell in love with England’s rolling hills and made himself at home.
Robbie’s first two seasons saw “Northern” transform into the Bulls and in 1996, the Superleague was launched and the honour of captaining the Bradford Bulls was bestowed upon him by the coaching staff. The rest, as they say is history.
In the twelve seasons he spent playing for the Bulls, he enjoyed 5 Super League grand finals at Old Trafford, and trips to 5 Challenge cup finals played at Wembley, Murrayfield, Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium. The luxury of playing alongside some truly world class athletes allowed him to acquire 4 Superleague titles and a couple of Challenge Cup winners medals in the effort. It was at one of these early finals (1996) at the “old” Wembley that he made his most notable club achievement scoring a hat-trick on the hallowed turf and going down in history as the first person to do so.
In 2006 and after playing with Bradford for well over a decade, he left them to join neighbouring West Yorkshire club the Huddersfield Giants. Some might say it was a new lease on life for him, but he worked hard in his debut season there and again was involved in another Challenge Cup final played at the home of Rugby Union, Twickenham.
Robbie left the Giants at the end of the 2007 season and moved away from Yorkshire to the Lancashire based Salford City Reds until the end of 2009.
As for his ultimate dream of representing his country, he had the immense honour of gaining 28 caps in an international career that spanned from 1997-2006. The highlight for him in that career was being asked to lead the “Haka” before a test match against England in 2004 as he is very proud of both his British and Maori Roots.
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