Ricky Riccitelli
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Ricky Riccitelli

Ricky Riccitelli
Full nameJohn Ricky Riccitelli
Date of birth (1995-02-03) 3 February 1995 (age 25)
Place of birthDurban, South Africa
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight110 kg (243 lb; 17 st 5 lb)
SchoolFrancis Douglas Memorial College
UniversityUniversity of Otago
Rugby union career
Position(s) Hooker, Prop
Current team Hurricanes, Taranaki
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2015-2016 Hawke's Bay 18 (0)
2016- Hurricanes 57 (15)
2017- Taranaki 18 (15)
Correct as of 9 June 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2015 New Zealand U20 7 (0)
2018 World XV 1 (0)
Correct as of 9 June 2019

John Ricky Riccitelli (; born 3 February 1995) is a New Zealand professional rugby union footballer who plays as a hooker for New Zealand franchise Hurricanes. In his youth career, he was selected to play in the 2015 World Rugby Under 20 Championships for New Zealand and took part in Francis Douglas Memorial College first XV.

Riccitelli represents the Taranaki provincial team and made his professional debut for the union in 2017 at the age of 22. He spent a season at the Hawke's Bay side, before earning a short-term contract in the Hurricanes 2016 Super Rugby squad. He has defended the Ranfurly Shield with Hawke's Bay in 2014 and Taranaki in 2017, won a championship with the Hurricanes in 2016 and was named Player of the Year at the TRFU Amber and Black awards.[1] He has scored 6 career tries in all competitions.

Early life

John Ricky Riccitelli was born on 3 February 1995 in Durban, the son of Gail Luiz and John Riccitelli.[2] Riccitelli and his parents migrated to New Zealand when he was four-years-old after his mother got a job in the country.[3] Settling in Oakura, he grew up in New Plymouth where he attended Francis Douglas Memorial College.[3] While at secondary school, Riccitelli excelled in sports like cricket and rugby union and was granted his school's sportsman of the year award in 2012.[4] In cricket, he appeared in Taranaki junior grade sides, his school's first XI for four years since 2009 as well as the Central Districts under-19 squad.[4]

He represented Taranaki in rugby at under-14 through under-18 levels and gained Hurricanes under-16 tournament team selection in 2012.[5] While studying at Otago University for three years, Riccitelli played for the Southern club in Dunedin and also captained the Otago under-19s.[5] In 2015, Riccitelli departed for the Under 20 World Championship in Italy, regularly spending time doing skill sessions with former Highlanders assistant coach Jon Preston.[6] Having also turned out for New Zealand U20's in the Oceania Junior Championship earlier in the year, Riccitelli went on to feature in seven out of eight of the Baby Blacks' games, (including their historic win over England in the U20 WC final), starting at loosehead prop.[7]

Professional career


Although there was interest from other provincial unions for Riccitelli, he ended up signing a two-year deal with Hawke's Bay under coach Craig Philpott in May 2015. Philpott was impressed with his performance after noticing him at the New Zealand under-20 trial camps.[5] He made his debut for the province in 2015, playing the two out of the three pre-season Ranfurly Shield matches against Horowhenua-Kapiti and Mid Canterbury.[8] He made a further six appearances during the 2015 ITM Cup season.[9]

Riccitelli then joined the Hurricanes after being called up into the squad to replace the injured Dane Coles. He made his Super Rugby debut in the squads 23-man team to play the Brumbies in their season opener.[10] He then had his short-term injury cover contract with the Hurricanes extended after his work ethic impressed the coaching staff.[11] After the Hurricanes' success throughout the season, Riccitelli appeared in all three finals, including their grand final win over the Lions, impressing the Hurricanes' coaches with his accurate lineout throwing and strong ball-carrying.[12]

In 2016 also saw Riccitelli feature in a disappointing Hawke's Bay team that finished in last place.[13] He continued to make progress though as a starting loosehead prop during their Mitre 10 Cup campaign.[14] Riccitelli, returned to his primary and preferred role of hooker when the side hosted Bay of Plenty, which was their final outing of the season at Napier's McLean Park.[15] He extended his club's appearances to eighteen after he played in all ten of Hawke's Bay's matches, making it a season's personal best.[16]

Riccitelli returned to his home province of Taranaki.[17] Having already secured Jordie Barrett, Taranaki had lured Riccitelli for the 2017 and 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season's, him to signing a two-year deal.[18] With hooker Rhys Marshall taking up an offer to play for Munster in Ireland at the end of the previous season, coach Colin Cooper said Riccitelli had a chance to claim the vacant hooker position.[18]

Riccitelli became a regular starter for the Hurricanes in the 2017 Super Rugby season after another injury to Hurricanes' captain and first-choice All Blacks hooker Dane Coles. He was preferred over Leni Apisai for the role.[19] Riccitelli was eventually called up as injury cover for the All Blacks' 2017 Rugby Championship, with Coles out of the first round and Liam Coltman out for the season.[20] Riccitelli did not play in the competition and was released back to Taranaki after Coles recovered from his second concussion of the 2017 season.[21]


Despite newly-capped All Black Asafo Aumua being signed to the Hurricanes for the 2018 Super Rugby season, Riccitelli held on to his place as a regular starter for the Hurricanes in the first three rounds of the competition.[22] He started in all thirteen matches for the Hurricanes, played the third-most minutes for the side and made the second-most tackles before earning his second call-up for the New Zealand national team.[23] Riccitelli was brought in as backup for Nathan Harris ahead of the third test against France in Dunedin.[24]

Riccitelli returned for his second Mitre 10 Cup season with Taranaki after being included in their 47-man squad to defend the Ranfurly Shield.[25] He was named player of the year for the province after appearing in nine out of twelve matches during the 2018 campaign.[1] Riccitelli later gained selection honours with Robbie Deans' World XV against Japan in Osaka after being named among the ten replacements. The side also featured current New Zealand internationals Nehe Milner-Skudder and Jackson Hemopo.[26]

Riccitelli rejoined the Hurricanes squad for their upcoming season after head coach John Plumtree included him in the 2019 Super Rugby side announcement in October 2018.[27] He made his first appearance of 2019 against the Waratahs at Brookvale Oval on 16 February.[28] Riccitelli made his 50th appearance for the Hurricanes franchise alongside Vaea Fifita after being named to start the match at Westpac Stadium against the Crusaders.[29]


Club Year Competition GP GS TRY CON PEN DGL PTS WL% Yellow card Red card
Hawke's Bay 2015+ Mitre 10 Cup
(incl. Ranfurly Shield)
8 2 0 0 0 0 0 87.50 0 0
2016 10 9 0 0 0 0 0 20.00 0 0
Taranaki 2017+ 9 8 3 0 0 0 15 77.78 0 0
2018 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 22.22 0 0
Hurricanes 2016+ Super Rugby 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 77.78 0 0
2017 18 14 1 0 0 0 5 72.22 0 0
2018 18 18 2 0 0 0 10 66.67 0 0
2019 12 6 0 0 0 0 0 75.00 0 0
Career 93 67 6 0 0 0 30 63.44 0 0

Updated: 9 June 2019 Source: John R Riccitelli Rugby History


  1. ^ a b "Riccitelli named player of the year at rugby awards". Taranaki Rugby. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "CANES 60 EXCLUSIVE: RICKY RICCITELLI". Hurricanes. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ a b Glenn Mclean (1 July 2015). "Focus now on Ranfurly Shield for Ricky Riccitelli". Stuff. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b Murray Hills (28 September 2012). "School names top sportsman". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Shane Hurndell (5 May 2015). "Rugby: Magpies sign young gun". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "NZ Under 20 squad named for World Champs in Italy". All Blacks. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "World Rugby U20 Championship 2015, Match 30". World Rugby. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ James Mortimer (22 July 2015). "Will it be lucky number 14 for the Ranfurly Shield challengers?". Mitre 10 Cup. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "ITM Cup - SEASON 2015-2016 - Games played". It's Rugby. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ Hamish Bidwell (24 February 2016). "New Hurricanes captain Dane Coles has to wait to lead the team out". Stuff. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "Riccitelli's contract extended". New Zealand Herald. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ Hamish Bidwell (25 July 2016). "Hurricanes back-up hooker Ricky Riccitelli undaunted by prospect of replacing Dane Coles". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ Niall Anderson (8 October 2016). "Hawke's Bay relegated from Mitre 10 Cup Premiership". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ "Magpies 2016 squad named". Hawke's Bay Magpies. 9 April 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Shane Hurndell (14 October 2016). "Riccitelli revved for preferred role". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ "ITM Cup - SEASON 2016-2017 - Games played". It's Rugby. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Riccitelli leaves Magpies nest". New Zealand Herald. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ a b Christopher Reive (1 February 2017). "Ricky Riccitelli signs two-year deal with Taranaki Rugby". Stuff. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ Campbell Burnes (18 July 2017). "Dane Coles re-emerges after four-month battle with concussion". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ Marc Hinton (13 August 2017). "Dane Coles out of Bledisloe Cup test with head knock, team-mate Ricky Riccitelli called up". Stuff. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ Glenn Mclean (24 August 2017). "Naholo released to play for Taranaki". Stuff. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ Hamish Bidwell (11 May 2018). "Beauden Barrett hails old schoolmate Ricky Riccitelli as the Hurricanes' 'Mr Reliable". Stuff. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ Christopher Reive (17 June 2018). "Ricky Riccitelli gets another run with All Blacks as cover for Nathan Harris". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "All Blacks call in reinforcements for third French test". Newshub. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Defending Shield holders Taranaki name 2018 squad". Mitre 10 Cup. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ "Nehe Milner-Skudder named at fullback for Robbie Deans' World XV against Japan". Stuff. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Hamish Bidwell (31 October 2018). "Salesi Rayasi returns home as one of six new Hurricanes for 2019". Stuff. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ "Perenara to captain Hurricanes v Waratahs". Sport 24. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "Milestones for Hurricanes duo against Crusaders". Sport 24. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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