Sam Hopkinson (New Zealand)
Our very own Sam Hopkinson is in the top rank of world polo players, playing for New Zealand regularly on the international stage and playing professionally for the last 15 years based predominantly in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Having chased the summers between the northern and southern hemispheres since leaving school in Canterbury, Sam has been lucky enough to play in some of the polo world’s biggest and most prestigious tournaments. Although Sam has saddled up alongside models, movie stars, and even princes William and Harry, Sam still counts New Zealand as his favourite place to play. Adding to this, he has captained the Rodd and Gunn team to winning the prestigious New Zealand Open on 3 occasions.
Sam’s love of the game has as much to do with his passion for horses and the fine art of training and preparing them to perform at the top level internationally, and he is quick to point out the importance of a good horse. Known as one of the biggest hitters in the game keep an eye out for his skills on the field.
Robert Archibald (Australia)
One of Australia’s top polo players and heir to a 70-year legacy of polo pony breeding, training and playing. Previously Australia’s highest ranked player Rob has played polo professionally since he left school and travelled between Australia, Europe, and Argentina, representing Australia on a number of occasions, most notably winning the Coronation Cup played at the Royal Guards polo club in England in front of 30,000 people including the Queen. When Rob is not jetting around the world’s most luxurious polo establishments he can be found at his family’s farm in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales or at the racetrack following his other passion, racing and the thoroughbred industry.
Sam Stott (Australia)
Sam is one of the polo world’s hottest young prospects, born and bred in country Victoria Sam has just spent the English season learning from some of the game’s top players. At just 25 years old and having only played for 2 years, Sam has already played for some big name teams including James Packers “Ellerston” and Swiss Billionaire Urs Schwarzenbach’s “Black Bears”. Sam is experienced in New Zealand polo having been a finalist of the prestigious New Zealand Open in 2016 and we are very excited to have his talents back for the Urban Polo series.
Tom Morley (Great Britain)
Tom the 6ft 6 Englishman who hails from West Sussex has been involved in polo all his life. With his father being a well-known polo player and horse trainer Tom was always destined to play polo. At age 34 Tom has played polo all over the world and is an English representative with a 6 goal handicap. He spends the majority of his time between his base in the UK and here in New Zealand where he has come for the past 14 years to find top ponies to take back to the UK. Tom prides himself on his horsemanship and the quality of ponies he has in his stables here and at home in the UK and credits them to the majority of his success. A very graceful player on and off the field who is sure to impress.
Ross Ainsley (Australia)
Aussie polo player, Ross is not only a 5 goal professional player but also a world renowned horseman and founder of Ainsley Polo. Ross has turned his passion of sourcing and producing top polo ponies into his core business and Ainsley Polo has become a sought after destination for polo holidays and lessons and is often described as the “Polo factory”. Born in country New South Wales, Ross moved to New Zealand 20 years ago to capitalise on the plentiful supply of New Zealand Thoroughbred’s and their history of becoming some of the best Polo Ponies in the world. Ross’s Polo passport has taken him to 27 different countries around the globe and he currently divides his time between the UK and New Zealand. He is proud of his global network of friends and contacts enabled by polo worldwide and is excited to introduce more people to the sport through the Heineken Urban Polo series!
Nick Pepper (Great Britain)
Nick has been playing Polo since he was 8 years old and turned Professional at 22. Standing at 6’5’’ he is hard to miss on the field, with his huge wingspan he is able to pick up balls from what seems impossible distances, making him a formidable player to be playing against, and a great team member to play with. Since turning professional, polo has taken him to many corners of the globe; including England, India, Australia, Barbados and frequently New Zealand, where he has been able to perfect his play and horsemanship skills. Nick is not only known for his playing ability, but also his relaxed natural ability when working with young horses on and off the field. Tall dark and handsome this softly spoken Englishman is one to watch.
Morgan Ruig (Australia)
Morgan was born into a family passionate about polo, with his father James playing the sport for over 30 years. Over this time playing the sport he was also breeding horses that have played in some of the world’s greatest tournaments, including the Argentine Open and the Queens Cup in England.
Morgan played his first major tournament at 14 years old, winning the BMW tournament in Brisbane, Australia. After school he spent a year in Argentina working for Lolo Castagnola as part of La Dolfina juggernaut, arguably the best team ever to play the sport. Since then, Morgan has played polo across the world, some of the top spots being Australia, New Zealand, England and Argentina.
Morgan had a stint playing rugby for University in Brisbane but fortunately he is now back to the sport he loves and we are extremely excited that he will be competing in this Heineken Urban Polo Series!
“Wirihana Kururangi – Born to ride” (New Zealand)
Heineken Urban Polo is excited to announce the latest player to be secured for the Wellington Urban polo event on February 11th. He is 17 year old Wirihana Kururangi or just “Woody” to his mates. Woody was born and raised in Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast and is a self confessed “Coastie” and started pursuing polo aged 14 – just 3 years ago. He found his way to Opiango polo farm in Porangahau through family connections and was introduced to polo which is where his journey in polo began. At age 4, Woody started riding horses with his father chasing cattle and horses around the mountains of Tokomaru Bay. In his teenage years, he competed in jumping events at local Gisborne area horse sports and won many blue ribbon events. Later he teamed up with the Tokomaru policeman and hosted horse treks around the coast and mountains of Tokomaru Bay. Woody is currently playing polo at the Opiango Hills Polo farm in Porangahau where he’s been coached by Cody Jones who is a professional player from Hurtwood Park Polo in the UK. Later this year, Woody has ambitions to travel to England with Cody Jones to watch some high goal polo. Keep your eye out for this young up and coming Kiwi polo star.