We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Wanganui Rugby Union. We acknowledge all the information from the NZ “Rugby Almanack” Series from the season’s 1934 through to 2013 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. Web Admin

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2013 Status:
Founded 1888 – Affiliated 1892
Assistant Coach:
Main ground:
Cooks Gardens , Wanganui
Royal Blue, Black and White

Easily the most successful team in the short history of the Heartland Championship – in the seven previous competitions having made every Meads Cup final and won four of them – Wanganui had their worst ever placing in 2013, failing to make the semi-finals, finishing sixth in the round robin with a 50/50 record. Three of the four wins were in identical fashion: 6-23 down to defeat South Canterbury 24-23 ; 8-21 down to defeat Poverty Bay 25-21; 14-24 down to defeat Horowhenua-Kapiti 28-24. Only the win against Thames Valley did not require a second half rally.

The forward pack was an interesting makeup, with nine ofthe 12 regulars being selected from the champion Ruapehu club who had won the club championship in an undefeated season, and seven of the 12 were 30 years of age or older on the opening day of the Heartland Championship.

The props Vaan Rauhina and Shaun McDonough were solid and reliable, with Rauhina also captaining in Peter Rowe’s absence. The lineout went better when Nick Cranston was partnered, by Sonny Woodmass but it was unfortunate that Woodmass was not always available due to his soldier duties. In the loose forwards captain Peter Rowe led from the front and earned selection into NZ Heartland team, which he also captained again. He had effective support from Doug Horrocks, and Lasa Ulukuta had good go-forward at number eight.

The backline really struggled for consistency and penetration. There was some improvement when fullback Asalemo Malo and centre Jason Temara were swapped halfway through as Malowas the only game breaker. For the semi-final, though, they were then swapped back to their original positions. The four wings used received few opportunities. Eighteen-year-old debutant Zyon Hekenui had a promising season. A fullback for his club, he played on the wing and was even tried at first five-eighth.

With a firm policy of only using the talent within the province, the new coach Karl Hoskin used 28 players, but only two of them – Vaan Rauhina and Nick Cranston – started every game in the same position. Players were tried in different positions when injury and loss of form hit, with the goal to create depth. Thirteen players were debutants, and another six with previous Wanganui experience were recalled after at least a year’s absence: Jason Hughes (2011), Pehira Huwyler, Sam Madams, Lasa Ulukuta (all 2010), Josh Edwards (2009) and Robert Hughes (2006).

Only two outside players appeared – Jason Temara and Doug Horrocks who was classed as Player of Origin. Nineteen days after the Lochore Cup semi-final defeat, Hoskin resigned after one year of his two-year contract.

Wanganui retained the Bruce Steel Memorial Cup with successful defences against Wairarapa Bush 39-20 pre-season and the 28-24 Heartland win over Horowhenua Kapiti.

Higher honours went to:

New Zealand Heartland: Cranston, McDonough, Rowe, Ulukuta.


Match.Record: Played 9 ; Won 4 ; Lost 5
Points : For 201 ; Against 200
1. August 24 vs King Country, at Wanganui
Lost 16 – 17
Wanganui Scorers : Huwyler Try
Wells (1 Conversion) , (3) Penalty Goals
Referee: A.Aso (Japan)
2. August 31 vs Buller, at Westport
Lost 11 – 15
Wanganui Scorers : Vadiga try
Hekenui (2) Penalty Goals
Referee: J.Dustow
3. September 7 vs South Canterbury, at Wanganui
Won 24 – 23
Wanganui Scorers : Evans, Rauhina tries
Hekenui (1) Conversion, (4) Penalty Goals
Referee: S.A.W.Eden-Whaitiri
4. September 14 vs Poverty Bay, at Gisborne
Won 25 – 21
Wanganui Scorers : Ulukuta (2), Hekenui tries;
Hekenui (2) Conversions, (2) Penalty Goals
Referee: A.W.B.Mabey
5. September 21 vs Thames Valley, at Wanganui
Won 28 – 08
Wanganui Scorers : Naqiso, Malo, Woodmass tries
Hekenui (2) Conversions, (3) Penalty Goals
Referee: A.W.B.Mabey
6. September 28 vs North Otago, at Oamaru
Lost 15 – 27
Wanganui Scorers : Malo, Huwyler tries
Hekenui (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: M.G.Lash
7. October 5 vs Horowhenua-Kapiti, at Levin
Won 28 – 24
Wanganui Scorers : Parker, Hekenui, Penalty Try, Malo tries
Hekenui (3) Conversions, Tauailoto (1) Conversion
Referee: J.Dustow
8. October 12 vs West Coast, at Wanganui
Lost 24 – 25
Wanganui Scorers : J.Hughes(2), Tutauha, Evans tries
Hekenui (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: C.J.Stone
9. October 19 vs Buller, at Wanganui
Lost 30 – 40
Wanganui Scorers : Cranston, Naqiso, Hekenui, L.Horrocks, Temara tries
Hekenui (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: G.G.Stuart
APPEARANCES For Wanganui RFU (2013 – Career)
Nick Cranston Ruapehu
9 –
Josh Edwards Kaierau
5 –
Andrew Evans Ruapehu
2 –
Zyon Hekenui Ruapehu
8 –
Simon Hillis Pirates
1 –
Doug Horrocks* Te Kawau
9 –
Jason Hughes Ruapehu
9 –
Robert Hughes Ruapehu
9 –
Pehira Huwyler Ruapehu
9 –
Areta Lama Kaierau
8 –
Roben Lavin Kaierau
2 –
Sam Madams Kaierau
1 –
Asalemo Malo Kaierau
9 –
Shaun McDonough Ruapehu
9 –
Kim McNaught Ruapehu
8 –
Sailosi Naqiso Border
7 –
Karl Parker Ruapehu
8 –
Vann Rauhina Ratana
9 –
Peter Rowe (capt) Ruapehu
7 –
Soonalote.Tauailoto Marton
2 –
Jason Temara* Old.Boys.Marist
9 –
6 –
Lasa Uiukuta Pirates
9 –
Aaron Vadiga Border
2 –
Fa’aIafi Vave Pirates
2 –
Tom Wells Taihape
2 –
Sonny Woodmass Ruapehu
6 –
L.D Horrocks Te Kawau
* From Manawatu RU