At first glance the Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club looks like any other, but scratch the surface and you will find something very special.
Winning their first Jubilee Cup in 2011 rates as an obvious highlight but it is the club's strong association with the local colleges - Rongotai, that has provided Ories with its two proudest achievements, current All Blacks - Ma'a Nonu (#1031) and Julian Savea (#1111) and its main playing stocks are graduates of the school affectionately known as the ‘Coutts St Learning Academy' and Scots College - who have been the recipient of generous sponsorships and a number of club coaches now grace the sidelines of this Premier Division 1 side.
In all, Oriental Rongotai have produced 10 All Blacks including the World Cup winning fullback from 1987, John Gallagher (#879)
In recent years Ories has provided a number of players for the Hurricanes who have all played in the clubs colours through the schoolboy section, then onto Rongotai College and back to play Premier rugby - Ma'a Nonu, Julian and Ardie Savea, Mark Reddish and Motu Matu'u. Adding to that the large number of players who have competed in recent ITM Cup campaigns and lower level age grade representative sides
These players are part of an environment and a club that has known struggle over the years, when they continually played out promotion/relegation matches and spent some years in the lower grade. It is that struggle that has created the indefinable character that is evident in not only these players, but all Ories players who have donned the black & white jersey, where ultimately that struggle finally has a worth.
It is this success that has led a group of like minded individuals to set up the Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club Academy (ORRCA). The academy has been running since May 2010 when 14 players were inducted. The academy spread its net locally to capture players with the "right attitude". In consultation with respected rugby observers within the Ories rugby community, players were selected from 3 of the community's schools - Rongotai, Scots and St Pats Town, along with well performing members of the club's colts' side. Original inductees have gone on to represent New Zealand, Ardie Savea (NZ 7s, Hurricanes, NZ U20s), Matt Proctor & Ambrose Curtis (NZ U20's and Wellington Lions).
ORRCA does not class itself as a High Performance academy - that is left to the WRFU. Its goal is to give players the opportunity to develop their game, life skills, and leadership and gain an insight into the commitment required to go to the next level.? Club CCO Mason Malagamaali'i says "we will be working closely with the WRFU High performance team to ensure we are delivering a quality product and one which will not only give our players the best opportunity of making WRFU elite programmes but will benefit all contributors in the long term".
Through the academy, Ories hope to expand themselves into the community.? Academy Chairman Phil Jones says "we already have strong partnerships with Rongotai and Scots Colleges and we will look to building partnerships with the primary school s on the peninsula. Ories wants to become a responsible and respected community partner"Ories also fields competitive Senior 1 and Colts side as well as a Women's XV. On the more social side a Reserve and Presidents side take care of those players who love a run around and the camaraderie of a good club and team mates and of course we cater for the juniors with our ‘Mini Magpies' - Ories Juniors have had Ma'a, Julian, Mark, Motu, Ardie and fellow Hurricane Jack Lam amongst their graduates. If netball is your thing then we have 3 teams to compliment the boys Saturday activities.
Situated at The Polo Grounds on Miramar Peninsula with clubrooms, 2 floodlit grounds and an all weather indoor gymnasium, Ories is well equipped to offer a great rugby experience no matter what level you wish to play.
Ories celebrated its 125th anniversary over Queen's Birthday weekend in June 2013.For more info check out their well maintained website www.ories.org.nz and their Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oriental-Rongotai-Rugby-Club/286842004267 and follow them on Twitter @oriesrugby?