North Harbour hooker Joe Ward spent three seasons with the Hurricanes between 2003-2005. Born in Hurricanes country in Dannivirke in the southern Hawke’s Bay, Ward was drafted from North Harbour, which he became captain of in the 2003 NPC during the absence of the suspended skipper Ron Cribb.
Ward had been captain of the New Zealand U19 side that won the Junior World Championship in 1999, leading a team that included All Blacks Richie McCaw, Aaron Mauger, Bradley Mika and Jerry Collins. Ward also made the New Zealand U21 side in 2001
Ward earned immediate game time for the Hurricanes in his first year, starting in his first four matches and scoring a try on debut against the Crusaders, before deputising for Taranaki hooker Daniel Smith in all eight more. He was primarily used as Andrew Hore’s backup in 2004 and 2005, but nevertheless notched up 31 caps in three campaigns.
He was a devoted North Harbour player for four seasons, playing behind veteran Slade McFarland in his first two seasons and as first choice rake and later captain from 2003 to 2005. At the end of 2005 Ward shifted to London Wasps who he helped win the European Heineken Cup in May 2007. Outside of rugby, Ward practices martial arts.