It's no secret poor fitness levels have nagged the Hawke's Bay Tui women's rugby team for years.

This dilemma was evident as the Tui lost 34-10 to Otago in their Farah Palmer Cup Championship semifinal in Dunedin last season. There isn't a lot of depth in the Bay's women's club rugby scene so players can crack the rep team without doing the extras which are likely to be required in other provinces.

Expect that sort of attitude to change and the fitness levels of Tui players to increase this year following the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union appointment of strength and conditioning coach Jayden Pinfold. He will focus on the Bay's female, academy (male and female) players, clubs and schools' 1st XV players.

"I've heard about it and I'm looking forward to working with the Tui team's wider training squad and getting the girls into the gym," Pinfold replied when asked what he knew about the woes of the Bay's flagship women's team.


A former Dannevirke Ross Shield team player and Hawke's Bay under-18 and under-16 team rep, Pinfold, 25, is excited about the opportunity to work with the Bay's academy players including products of the Napier Boys' High School and Hastings Boys' High School 1st XVs.

"We had a camp last weekend out at the Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge and that was a good starting point in terms of getting to know the players. I was impressed with their professionalism when it came to setting goals ... it's definitely exciting times," Pinfold said as he started his third week in the role.

"There's a lot of raw talent and strength here in the Bay. My job is to show these players what can be achieved with the right training and to get them as ready as possible to be Magpies which will make Luke's job a lot easier," he said referring to Magpies fitness trainer Luke Stephenson.

Pinfold is looking forward to working alongside Stephenson with the Magpies' wider training group and learning from him.

After leaving Dannevirke High School Pinfold spent six years in Dunedin at Otago University. Towards the end of his time in Otago he had a research assistant role with New Zealand Rugby which focused on concussion education.

"Players are pretty naive about it and don't realise how serious it is until it happens to them," Pinfold said.

"It's a big issue and I haven't got an answer in terms of suggesting possible rule changes which would help but education on the issue is good value for money ... it's a way forward.

"It's important players know how to recognise the symptoms and when it is safe to return to the field."


When in Dunedin Pinfold played colts rugby for the Dunedin Sharks when current Magpies Gareth Evans and Brad Weber were playing senior rugby for the club. The halfback is not sure whether his work commitments will allow him time to play this year.

He enjoyed his rep rugby playing days for Hawke's Bay and pointed out that while none of his 2009 under-16 team have gone on to make the Magpies former Magpies speedster Shannan Chase was in his 2010 under-18 team.

Pinfold has been impressed with the work members of the Magpies' wider training group have been doing in the gym and prop Pouri Rakete-Stones has done some big lifts.

Pinfold's older brother, Scott, has taken on an assistant strength and conditioning coaching role with the Blues. He had been with Manawatu Rugby since 2008 and had been the Turbos' head trainer since 2011.

■ Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief execuitve Jay Campbell is on the hunt for a new Magpies manager. Terry Gittings, who has managed the Magpies for the past three seasons, has vacated the role because of his increased commitment with his job as operations manager for Moana New Zealand.

"Terry has been an outstanding manager, hugely respected by the players and management group. He was extremely organised and efficient and navigated the Magpies through a couple of difficult years and through it all did it with great humility and humour.

"Terry was the glue that kept that team together during those difficult years in 2016 and 2017. He leaves a great legacy and many of the initiatives and practices he has installed will serve the Magpies hugely for years to come," Campbell said.

He hopes to appoint a new manager by the end of next month.