Chances are that the song that Kurt McQuilkin is humming these days is the Tony Orlando hit that goes “I’m going home. I’ve done my time,” as he prepares for a move back to New Zealand
Chances are that the song that Kurt McQuilkin is humming these days is the Tony Orlando hit that goes “I’m going home. I’ve done my time,” as he prepares for a move back to New Zealand. McQuilkin will return to his roots when he departs these shores to take up an appointment (beginning on May 1st) as Rugby Development Officer with King Country where he will also be Technical Advisor to the King Country senior side, currently in second place in the 3rd Division of the Air New Zealand NPC behind North Otago. It is most certainly a question of a career coming full circle for the popular McQuiklin who will celebrate his 37th birthday next month. He returns to live in Lake Taupo which is about an hour and a half from Tekuiti where he was brought up and where his parents still live. He started his rugby playing career with Waitete, but moved on to King Country who he represented as a seventeen year old. He spent three years with King Country, then moved to North Auckland for a similar time period, was an All Black trialist and returned to King Country for a season before setting off to England where he played for two seasons.
McQuilkin arrived in Ireland in 1992 and played with Bective Rangers under the tutelage of his father Noel. He established himself as a regular on the Leinster team in 1995/1996 and formed the midfield partnership with Vincent Cunningham that was narrowly beaten by Cardiff in the Heineken Cup semi final (Dec). He won his first of five caps against the United States in Atlanta in January 1996 and went on to gain further caps that season against Scotland and France. He also captained Leinster that season, a memorable one that saw them relieve Munster of the Interpro championship title – he scored three tries in the 42-26 win over the Exiles – led the side to that unforgettable 16-9 win over Leicester Tigers at a packed Donnybrook.
He won his last senior international cap against Scotland in Murrayfield in March 1997 by which time he had become an IRFU Regional Development Officer and moved to play his club rugby with Lansdowne, where he won two Senior Cup medals, captaining the side on one occasion.
In the latter stages of his RDO tenure, his responsibility centred on south east Leinster where he oversaw a huge growth in the game at school and youth level. In more recent times his responsibility shifted and for the past two seasons he has been Elite Player Development Officer dealing with U16 & U18 Schools/Youths and the National Academy.
And now, having ‘been there, done that’, Kurt returns home having contributed an enormous amount to the development of Irish rugby.
He’ll bring with him his wife Barbara and little daughter Ella, for what he calls “a new and exciting challenge after a really fabulous time in Ireland.”
He’ll also bring with him the best wishes and goodwill of anyone he came in contact with.
King Country’s gain is most certainly Leinster’s loss.