Ngane Punivai rugby player
Ngane Punivai rugby player

Ngane Punivai

30th Aug 1998 1.91m/100kg Fullback

Ngantungane Gisborne James Punivai, commonly known as Punivai, is a talented New Zealand rugby union player who currently represents the Highlanders in Super Rugby. Born on August 30, 1998, in New Zealand, Punivai has made significant strides in his rugby career.

Punivai attended Christ's College in Christchurch, where he showcased his leadership abilities by captaining the school's prestigious 1st XV. His impressive performances and leadership qualities caught the attention of Canterbury and Crusaders development programs, leading to his inclusion in various representative teams.

He represented Canterbury Under 19, Junior Knights, and Crusaders Knights as he progressed through the development pathways. In 2016, Punivai earned national recognition when he was selected to represent the New Zealand Secondary Schools team, highlighting his talent and potential.

Punivai's versatility on the field has been evident throughout his career. Capable of playing in the centres or on the wing, he possesses a wide range of skills and is known for his physicality as a strong ball carrier. His ability to make an impact in multiple positions adds value to any team he represents.

In 2018, Punivai was named in the Crusaders side for the Brisbane Tens tournament and also had the opportunity to represent the New Zealand Under 20s in the Oceania Rugby Championship. His performances earned him a call-up to the Under 20s Junior World Championship squad, where he played in the 3rd/4th playoff, further showcasing his potential at the international level.

Punivai earned his first Canterbury cap during the Wanganui Ranfurly Shield challenge in June 2017. He continued his progression and was named in the Mitre 10 Cup team, making his debut in the side's opening match against Tasman. In 2019, Punivai signed with the Crusaders for the Super Rugby season, marking a significant step in his professional rugby career. He made his Super Rugby debut against the Lions, demonstrating his readiness to compete at the highest level.

However, in 2019, Punivai made the decision to switch teams and join the Highlanders, adding a new chapter to his rugby journey. The move to the Highlanders provided him with new opportunities and challenges to further develop as a player. In July 2020, Punivai scored his first try for the Highlanders against his former team, the Crusaders, a notable achievement that showcased his growth and impact on the field.

Punivai's transition to the Highlanders reflects his enthusiasm and determination to take the next step in his rugby career. As he embraces this new challenge, fans can expect him to make a significant contribution to the Highlanders and continue to showcase his abilities as a dynamic and versatile back.



Untitled (1) Canterbury
Blindside Flanker
2018 - present
Christ College logo Christ College NZ
chiefs Chiefs
2022 - present
hurricanes Hurricanes
Right Wing
2024 - present
nz New Zealand U20's
2018 - 2019
Untitled design (11) Crusaders
2019 - 2019
highlanders Highlanders
2019 - 2022