Carlos Spencer joins Blues Aupiki setup

By James Perry

Eighteen years after leaving Auckland, "King Carlos" will return to the franchise where he made a name for himself.

Carlos Spencer will join Willie Walker and Linda Itunu as the Blues women’s backs coach for Super Rugby Aupiki 2023.

Spencer, a member of the inaugural Blues side from 1996 played 99 times in nine seasons for the club and says he is “beyond stoked” to be back with the Blues whānau. 

Happily for Spencer, his return to the Blues franchise coincides with his 18-year-old son, Payton, who has signed with the Blues and New Zealand Sevens for next season.

Since retiring in 2010, Spencer has been trying his hand at coaching with several stints in South Africa and more recently with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and New Orleans Gold in Major League Rugby in America.

Spencer became a crowd favourite on the field for his style of play and 'out-of-the-box' thinking.

Exciting juncture for women's rugby

“Now as a coach, I want to encourage and help build those same traits in our Blues wahine.”

Spencer says the impact of the recent Rugby World Cup has been a joy to watch and he expects Super Rugby Aupiki to benefit from the Black Ferns’ World Cup success.

“You’ve seen the rise of women’s rugby and the way the public got right in behind the Black Ferns recently.

“We’re at an exciting juncture for the sport and I’m really looking forward to getting involved and doing what I can to help grow and support women’s rugby.”

Head Coach Willie Walker returns for his second Aupiki season in charge of the Blues, and is joined for the first time by former Black Ferns legend Linda Itunu as the forwards coach. 

Super Rugby Aupiki will begin on Febuary 25 with the Blues wāhine taking on Matatū at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.