Taranaki’s first defence Of the Ranfurly Shield against Wanganui coincides with the beginning of WWI……
Ranfurly Shield Match #31
Taranaki 7 – 3 Wanganui
27 June 1914
Taranaki’s first challenger was her neighbour, Wanganui, whom they had managed to beat on 3 June at Wanganui, by only 9-8.
The challenge was played at the Hawera Showgrounds on Saturday 27 June and the results of the match were published on the same day that the newspapers carried advice of the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne.
The immediate trigger for World War One was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
On July 28, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia.
The weather was ideal and Taranaki early demonstrated a decided all round superiority. After 25 minutes, G.Meuli claimed a mark and “Jack” Stohr kicked a beautiful goal from near touch. 3-0. Whittington was forced out at the corner and from the resulting lineout, Taylor dashed over 6-0. This remained the score until halftime.
In a loose Wanganui rush, O’Donnell picked up and passed to Smith who scored. 6-3. Stohr a penalty. 9-3. Colman moved out to the wing as Young was hurt, and Brown passed to Cameron to Colman, who cut in and ran hard to touch down behind the posts, Stohr converting. 14-3. Brown, Colman, Cameron, C.Whittington, all handled for the last amed to race across in the corner, making the Hnal score 17-3.
Taranaki: L.B.Stohr, C.F.Young, C.Whittington, G.H.Meuli, S.Cameron, C.Brown, J.D.Colman, R.Taylor, H.G.Whittington, R.Patterson, J.Robertson, O.M.Young, A.Smith, A.Birchall, H.Dewar.
(Taranaki played a 2-3-2 scrum with two wing forwards, and six backs. Selectors Messrs D.J.Malone, H.J.Mynott and J.S.McKay.)
Wanganui: J.B.Lockett; A.Temperton, F.M.Meuli (replaced early in the game by C. Dustin), R.Collier; R.J.Campion (capt.), F.S.Collier, C.S.Swan, J.Smith, H.W.Collier, G.W.Batley, A.Takarangi, T.Leahy, J.M.B.Collier, R.O’Donnell, P.Leahy.
(Selectors Messrs P.C.Peters and J.G.McLean.)
The referee was Mr W.J.Meredith of Wellington.
The Colliers were all brothers, Reg playing for Kaierau, and the others, Frank S., H.W., and J.M.B. for Mataroa (Taihape sub-union). Alec Takarangi had been a North Island representative in 1904 and a New Zealand Maori representative in 1910-11-13, each year captaining the side.
Taranaki were without its three members of the New Zealand team touring Australia, G.Loveridge, R.W.Roberts (capt.) and M.Cain. Three days earlier, at Hawera, Taranaki had defeated Wellington 14-10 in a non-shield game.
A week prior to this shield match, Taranaki representatives A.Smith, Cain, Taylor, Stohr and Roberts, represented