The Chiefs are a Super 12 rugby team in the area of Waikato, New Zealand. Originally known as Waikato, in 1997 the name became simply "Chiefs" in reflection of the greater area covered by the team (as happened to the (Wellington) Hurricanes and (Auckland) Blues, among others).
The Chiefs serve the central area of the North Island of New Zealand, including Hamilton and Rotorua. The catchment area includes five provincial unions, Counties-Manukau, Waikato, Thames Valley, Bay of Plenty and King Country.
The Chiefs have only a couple of All Blacks in their ranks: Byron Kelleher (a recent transfer from Otago) and Marty Holah, and have never made the playoffs of the championship. At times, there has been speculation that the team could be dissolved to make way for an additional Australian or South African team, but this has not come to pass.
Home games for the team are played at WestpacTrust Stadium, Hamilton, and the Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua.
The Chiefs have never made a Super 12 playoff, or indeed finished above 6th place. Their end-of-season results are as follows:
Year Final Position Competition Points Notes
1996 7 28
1997 11 19
1998 7 30
1999 6 26
2000 10 20
2001 6 28
2002 8 24
2003 9 18
However, the 2004 season is looking to be a turning point for the team following the signing of former Otago
player and All Black Byron Kelleher