Willie Ripia

First Five-eighth
Date of birth
Waikato, Taranaki
2008 - 2010
152 (1 try, 30 con, 29 pen)
Player image


Talented inside back Willie Ripia came to the Hurricanes in 2008 as a franchise player for Taranaki, despite playing all his first class rugby at that stage of this career for Waikato and the Chiefs.

Starting the season on the reserves, he broke into the Hurricanes starting fifteen against the Lions in round twelve, finishing the last four games of the season including the 2008 semi-final against the Crusaders wearing the No. 10 jersey.

He impressed again in 2009 with a series of reliable performances throughout the second half of the competition, also scoring 80 points and kicking at almost 75 percent.

The versatile former New Zealand U21 first five-eighth Ripia moved to Taranaki at the end of the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup with the promise of more regular game time at Taranaki than was on offer at Waikato.

Ripia made his Waikato debut in 2005, but playing behind a logjam of backline talent, in particular Stephen Donald at flyhalf, and an injury setback early in his second year ensured his was a relatively fresh face in the 2008 Hurricanes squad.

He was called into the Highlanders squad in 2006 as an injury replacement to Nick Evans, making one appearance of the bench against the Western Force. But he then ruptured his Achilles tendon playing for Waikato against Auckland early in 2006, demanding a lengthy rehabilitation period.

Ripia’s pedigree includes two seasons in the New Zealand U21s in 2005 and 2006, and New Zealand U19 in 2004.

Ripia surpassed 150 Super 14 points in his third season in the Hurricanes in 2010, before playing for New Zealand Maori in their wins over Ireland and England.

In August 2011 he announced his departure from New Zealand rugby to head to Perth for at least two seasons and join the Western Force for the 2011 and 2012 Super Rugby seasons. He was subsequently released early from the Force for a misdemeanour, making a tentative return to top-class rugby for the 2012 Bay of Plenty Development  XV. 

He made his comeback in late 2012 via a call-up to the New Zealand Maori side, followed by a stint in Japan and then a call-up as an injury replacement to the Crusaders. In turn, he returned to the Bay of Plenty Steamers as captain in the 2013 ITM Cup, before joining the Highlanders for the 2014 season.

Ripia answered an SOS call by joining the Ricoh Wellington Lions mid-way through the 2014 ITM Cup. 


Provincial Teams
Waikato, Taranaki

Favourite things

Terence Trent D'arby - Holding onto you
Band or Singer:
Jamie Foxx
Book or Magazine:
Da Vinci Code
Holiday Destination:
New Caledonia
Sport Team or Individual:
Tiger Woods


Rotorua Boys High School
Favourite subject:
Worst subject:
Waikato Uni
University Course
Communication Studies

Rugby facts

Earliest Rugby Memory
Running bare foot on icy cold grass at Rugby Park in Rotorua for Waikete
Position When Younger
Most Admired Rugby Player
Stephen Larkham
Biggest Rugby Influence
Most Memorable Rugby Moment
Playing rugby with Dad and my brothers at the Buccaneers tournament

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