Top 8-Goal international superstars head lineup for polo at Clevedon next month

Press Release – NZ Polo Open

Kiwi 8-goaler John Paul Clarkin battles 6-goaler Will Lucas for the ball.
Kiwi 8-goaler John Paul Clarkin battles 6-goaler Will Lucas for the ball.

For the first time this February the BMW NZ Polo Open will see not one, but two ‘8-Goal’ superstars compete on Clevedon’s hallowed turf.

South African native Nachi du Plessis, 23, a celebrated international polo champion, will do battle with New Zealand’s own John Paul Clarkin, 34. Both have achieved the high handicap rating of eight goals (maximum is 10 goals) and will be competing head to head throughout the week-long event.

Auckland Polo Club President Tony van den Brink says this year’s tournament will be thrilling for players and spectators alike and du Plessis will be one to watch.

“He is a very stylish and classy player. To be only 23 and have an eight-goal ranking means he is incredibly talented,” says van den Brink.

Clarkin says he is really excited about having someone at his eight goal level competing in the tournament.

“It’ll be great to have du Plessis here,” says Clarkin. “As a player you always want to be playing the best, because the better the competition is, the more exciting the game is.”

When riders get to this high level polo is an exhilarating, sometimes dangerous, full contact sport. Skilled players go full-tilt with mallets in hand to beat their opponents and gain the prestigious title.

Clarkin plays all over the world every year but especially enjoys competing at the BMW NZ Polo Open in Clevedon, as it is the sport’s pinnacle event in the country.

“I love coming home to play at Clevedon, the fields have improved a lot over the last few years so it’s amazing to play on and the perfect place for the big event,” he says.

Clevedon will be playing host to more elite riders this year alongside du Plessis and Clarkin. Six-goaler Sam Hopkinson, 30, will be a tough competitor. He has been playing internationally for 10 years and has ridden alongside Princes William and Harry.

Hopkinson will undoubtedly bring some glamour to the tournament, touted by Vanity Fair Magazine as one of the world’s top 10 sexiest polo players – something he says he gets plenty of grief for.

English polo team captain, Tom Morely, with a six-goal rating, will also bring his talent and respected name to the field, adding to the level of competition across the board.
Teams will be finalised closer to the event.

As well as the three final matches on February 24th, the day when these top players go head to head to win the esteemed cup, there will be the always fun BMW vs Polo vs Jockey race, and the stunning new fashion lawn with fashion shows and amazing prizes on offer for the best-dressed on the day.

Tickets and Corporate Packages are available to the public now through
The BMW NZ Polo Open is proudly supported by Veuve Clicquot, Bayleys, Rodd & Gunn, Heineken, Verifone and Mitavite.


About the BMW NZ Polo Open
The BMW NZ Polo Open is New Zealand’s premier polo event and highlight of the polo season. 2013 marks the 36th year of the event that sets the benchmark for polo and fashion in Australasia and features some of the country’s best polo players.

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