IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.84 – Anna Richards MNZM (Black Ferns, Nomads, Auckland Storm, Canterbury, Waitemata, Mt Roskill, Ponsonby, College Rifles Rugby Clubs, Richmond FC, Christchurch, Messina/Castenea) 1964- 

Personal details 

– Born: 3 December, 1964 in Timaru, South Canterbury, New Zealand
– Family: Second daughter of Roger and Marilyn Richards. Three sisters Penny, Sally and Fiona, all of whom are accomplished sportswomen. Fiona played in the Black Ferns from 1992-1999, Penny represented New Zealand in athletics and Sally was a rugby and netball provincial representative.
– Education: Highfield and Gleniti Primary Schools and Craighead Diocesan School

Other sports 

– Represented New Zealand in Touch for Open Women’s 1997-98 (captain 1997) and Over 27s
– Played for Open Women in the Trans-Tasman Series 1997-98
– Represented New Zealand in the Open Mixed Grade 1990-91
– Played in the 1991 World Cup runners up in the Open Mixed grade
– Provincial touch for Auckland (Sportswoman of the Year 1996-97)
– Played for North Harbour. Interprovincial Touch Series MVP 1995.

– Representative Netball for South Canterbury, Canterbury, and Auckland
– Played in the Swiss Maid Cup/Countrywide Cup/Coca-Cola Cup for Sacred Heart (ChCh) and Carlton Clubs (Auckland)

– Nunnley Casket for Southern Districts
– Age and Senior tennis champion South Canterbury
– Represented Canterbury Secondary Schools 

Early years

Started playing rugby after being dropped by coach Kay O’Reilly from the Canterbury netball team. Coincidentally, O’Reilly’s husband, Laurie, who was one of Richards’ law lecturers at Canterbury University, asked her to try rugby, which is where her love of the sport began. She broke into the University First XV in her first year in 1986 and combined playing netball and rugby throughout her studies.

Domestic club rugby

Once her University days were over, in 1989 Richards moved to Auckland and played for a couple of clubs (Waitemata & Mt Roskill Rugby) until settling at Ponsonby Rugby Club in 1991. In 1996 she moved to College Rifles Rugby Club and started the women’s team there along with Tracy Lemon. She continued playing and coaching at Rifles until leaving New Zealand in 2014.

New Zealand provincial rugby

– Member of Auckland Storm from 1989 to 2008, captaining them in 1990,1992,1993,1997,1998 and 2001-2003
– The team went undefeated from 1994 to 2005 and were winners of National Provincial Championship from 1999 through until 2005, then again in 2007 and 2008
– Auckland Player of the Year in 1992, 1994 and 1997
– Storm named 2002 Team of the Year in Auckland Sports Awards
– A member of the Auckland Sevens team (captain) 1999-2002, winners of National Sevens Championship in 2001 

– A member of the Canterbury team from 1986-88
– Named Player of the Year in 1988

– Member of the Otago team in 2009 and Manawatu team in 2011

Overseas club rugby

– Played for Messina/Castenea (Sicily) in the Italian club championship during the 1998/89 season
– A member of Christchurch Rugby club team, who were winners of the Australian Club championships in 1994
– Played club rugby in England for Richmond RFC during 1994-95 season, winning the Premiership and the Valdivar National Cup Final.

International rugby

– First played for the Black Ferns in 1990 against the Netherlands in Ashburton, New Zealand, as part of the International Rugby Festival. The three-Test series did not carry caps.
– Played in the first Women’s Rugby World Cup in Cardiff in 1991 where the Black Ferns lost in the semi-finals, 7-0 to the eventual champions USA.
– Switched to No.10 in 1996 after initially playing scrum-half.
– NZRFU Player of the Year 1994.
– Played for the Nomads team (Women’s Barbarians team in England) in 1995. She captained the side in the win over England A and also played in the victory against Ireland. They also played South Africa away in 2008 and won both matches.
– Canada Cup winner in 1996, 2000 and 2005.
– Tri Nations Cup winner in 1999.
– Holders of the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy in 1998, 2007 and 2008 – a trophy that awarded for Test matches between New Zealand and Australia.
– Churchill Cup winner in 2004.
– Sports Café Rocky Awards Rugby Player of the Year 2002.
– The Black Ferns were named Team of the Year at the 2006 People’s Choice Awards and nominated for Team of the Year at the 2006 Halberg Awards.
– A member of New Zealand’s Women’s Rugby World Cup winning teams of 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. 
– Richard started in every final and played all 80 minutes of every Women’s Rugby World Cup final victories.
– She is the most-capped New Zealand player (49 caps)
– A member of the Black Ferns for 20 years from 1990-2008 and 2010.
– She was on the losing side only twice in 54 appearances for the Black Ferns.
– She was the Black Ferns vice-captain for a number of years and finally captained the team in 2005 against England in Hamilton. 

International Sevens

– Captained the undefeated New Zealand Sevens team in 2000 and 2001.
– Hong Kong International Sevens winners in 2000 and 2001.
– Japan Cup winners in 2000 and 2001.
– Wellington International Sevens winners in 2001. 
– A member of Aotearoa Maori Sevens team in 2008-09.
– A member of NZ Wild Ducks Sevens team who were winners of the Hong Kong Sevens in 1997 and she was named Player of the Tournament. 
– A member of the Aussie Rats Sevens team from 2004-07. They were runners-up Hong Kong from 2004-07. 


– She is currently the Elite Women’s Sevens coach for Hong Kong. 
– She was assistant coach of Auckland women’s Fifteens’ team in 2013. 
– Head coach of Auckland Sevens team in 2012-13. 
– Head coach at the Auckland High Performance Unit in 2012. 
– NZRU Regional Resource Sevens coach in 2012. 
– Head coach of Auckland Secondary Schools team in 2002.

Awards and achievements

– Made a Member of the New Zealand Order Merit in 2005 (MNZM) 
– New Zealand Universities Sportsperson of the Year 2007 
– New Zealand University Blues 2004-2006 
– Prime Minister Scholarship holder 2004-2007
– Member of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal 2008-2010