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New Zealand shearing team on UK tour

New Zealand shearing team on UK tour

The New Zealand shearing team of World Champions and Hawke’s Bay guns John Kirkpatrick and Rowland Smith will shear seven test matches on a four-week CP Wool tour of the UK starting next week.

The tour by new World champion John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and 2014 champion Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, near Hastings, is part of an annual home and away arrangement with a history dating back almost 30 years.

The manager and touring shearing judge is sheep and beef farmer Johnny Fraser, who operates a small shearing run in North Otago and who managed the New Zealand team in transtasman tests in Australia last October and the Golden Shears in Masterton March.

The tour will open with a single test against Scotland at the Lochearnhead Shears on July 1, but Scotland could be missing both its World Championships team members, 2012 World champion Gavin Mutch and 2014 World teams champions partner Hamish Mitchell, both injured.

Mutch, from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, but living in New Zealand, recently badly gashed a hand and won’t be available, and Mitchell, from Lochearnhead, has been in doubt because of a foot injury.

The tests against England will be at the Lakeland Shears at Cockermouth, Cumbria, and the Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate, while the four against Wales will be on successive days at the revived Cothi Shears and the Lampeter Shears, and over the following week at the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, and the Corwen Shears in North Wales.

Kirkpatrick, 46, and Smith, aged 30 and who grew-up in Northland, also toured last year when they opened with single test wins against Scotland and then England before being beaten 2-1 by Wales.

But they dominated the Open championship finals in which they also shore throughout the tour, Kirkpatrick winning at Harrogate, Lampeter and Corwen and Smith winning at then non-test show Lakeland Shears and at the Royal Welsh Show.

They’ll also shear the Open events at the shows next month, although Smith will probably shear just the test at Lampeter on July 22 before heading for Cornwall in England where he will two days later attempt to break a World record of 605 ewes in eight hours at Trefrank Farm, where brother and farmer Matt Smith shore the ultimate nine-hour record of 731 last year.


July 1 (Saturday): v Scotland, at Lochearnhead Shears

July 8 (Saturday): v England, at Lakeland Shears, Cockermouth.

July 12 (Wednesday): v England, at Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate.

July 21 (Friday): v Wales, at Cothi Shears

July 22 (Saturday): v Wales, at Lampeter Shears

July 26 (Wednesday): v Wales, at Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells.

July 29 (Saturday): v Wales, at Corwen Shears.


John Kirkpatrick, 46, of Napier, Hawke’s Bay

Came back from shoulder injury and operation to tour UK with Rowland Smith last year, winning three Open finals. Returned home to win World Championships final in February in Invercargill NZ, at his fourth attempt, and his third World teams title. Has won more than 200 finals in 23 years’ Open-class shearing, but was runner-up to Rowland Smith 15 times in the latest NZ season, including Golden Shears and both UK tour selection events. Wins have included four Golden Shears Open titles. First toured UK as NZ team member in 2008. John Kirkpatrick was recently named Hawke’s Bay Sportsperson of the Year.

Rowland Smith, 30, of Maraekakaho, Hawke’s Bay

The 2014 World Champion created a Master Shearer in 2016, Rowland Smith missed selection in the New Zealand team to defend the World title earlier this year, but struck-back big-time, being beaten only four times in 30 finals during the New Zealand season. It included his 100th Open-class title, retaining the Golden Shears and New Zealand Open titles, and winning the Southland All Nations, and both UK tour team selection events. First toured UK as NZ team member in 2011. Will also attempt World Record of 605 ewes in 8hrs during the tour. Rowland Smith was in March named inaugural New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year.

Manager/Judge - Johnny Fraser, of Oamaru, North Otago.

Sheep and beef farmer and shearer with a small shearing run, has been a competition judge for more than 12 years, and a referee for five years. Managed NZ transtasman series team in 2016-2017, judged at 2017 World Championships in Invercargill NZ and as well as officiating at shows in his region, has judged at the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti. Is also qualified as a World records judge, and will judge at Rowland Smith’s record attempt in Cornwall on July 24.


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