Eighteen year-old Doug Howlett scored a hat trick playing for the Highlanders against the Chiefs in his first full Super 12 game at the end of the 1997 round robin. He had previously debuted for Auckland in 1996 as a 17-year old schoolboy after spending three years in the New Zealand Secondary Schools side.
Destined for greater deeds, he was drafted into the Hurricanes for the 1998 season with 14 first class tries from 12 games under his belt. He earned five caps for the Hurricanes that year, before returning to Auckland and the Blues where he became Super Rugby’s top try-scorer in 2007 when he scored his 58th try against the Chiefs.
Howlett also scored six tries in the 2007 World Cup to break Christian Cullen’s All Black try scoring record of 46, finishing the tournament with 49 tries in his 61 tests.
In February 2007 he launched the Doug Howlett Outreach Foundation, offering first-hand mentoring to children.
Howlett transferred to Munster in Ireland at the end of 2007 and played against the All Blacks in November 2008.
Transferring his hot form to the Irish game, by the end of the 2011-12 season he had played 94 times for Munster and scored 32 tries.
n early 2012, he signed a contract extension taking him through to the end of the 2012-13 season before retiring from all rugby in May 2013 owing to a shoulder injury.