Alex Ainley rugby player
Alex Ainley rugby player

Alex Ainley

16th Jul 1981 1.96m/107kg No 4 Lock

After completing a three-year stint in Japan playing for the Dynaboars, Ainley returned to the Tasman Makos in 2013 to add to his 42 games for the province.

Immediately, Tasman won promotion to the ITM Premiership and after a great debut in the competition, the team qualified for the 2014 Final.

It was a happy homecoming for Ainley who had previously captained the province in 2007 before departing for Italy, where he played with Crociati and then Japan.

A hard-working lock with a big engine, Ainley possessed a wealth of rugby experience on offer to the Highlanders in 2015, his debut year of Super Rugby. Entering his second Super Rugby season at 34 years old, the veteran thought he had missed his shot at this level, but is motivated to train hard and seize any opportunity that will lead build on his Super Rugby caps in 2016.

Like a fine wine, Ainley continued to better with age and featured in 12 of the Highlander 16 Super Rugby matches in 2017 and average more than 10 tackles per game. He also started the match against the British and Irish Lions.

Described by the Highlanders coaches as a workaholic around the field with one of the biggest engines in the team, Ainley was once again included in the Highlanders squad for the 2018 Super Rugby season, off the back of a great Mitre 10 campaign with Tasman.

Ainley took his Super Rugby cap tally to 38 by the end of the 2018 season.

He heads into the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup having made 92 appearances for Tasman Makos.

(LS September 14, 2020)


TRU Tasman Mako
No 4 Lock
2013 - present
Untitled design (11) Crusaders
No 4 Lock
2020 - present
highlanders Highlanders
No 4 Lock
2015 - 2018
NZ Barbarians
No 5 Lock
2015 - 2020
Untitled Bay of Plenty
No 4 Lock
2019 - 2020