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 2017 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. Web Admin

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2017 Status:
Founded 1888 – Affiliated 1892
D.R.(David) Crowe
J.M.(Jeff) Phillips
B.S. (Bridget) Belsham
J.M. (Jason) Caskey
Assistant Coach:
J.P.(Jason) Hamlin
Main ground:
Cooks Gardens , Wanganui
Royal Blue, Black and White

After qualifying for the Meads Cup playoffs in a somewhat fortunate fourth place on points differential over Mid Canterbury and West Coast, Wanganui then proceeded to move through the semi-final and final in convincing fashion and claim the Meads Cup as Heartland Champions for an unprecedented three-peat. Their considerable experience in playoff football counted for much in winning both matches at the business end against opponents they had lost to in the round robin. At their free-flowing best Wanganui crushed Wairarapa Bush and King Country but in wet conditions looked vulnerable in defeating Thames Valley and losing to Horowhenua Kapiti.

A rebuild job was necessary with a number of the 2016 lnvincibles having moved on. Asalemo Malo, Karl Parker and last year’s captain Peter Rowe all retired after the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Canterbury. Rowe had retired after last year’s Meads Cup final but came back to play for the NZ Provincial Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions. Others not to reappear were Te Rangatira Waitokia, Kameli Kuruyubaki (both Manawatu), Kane Tamou (Horowhenua-Kapiti), Gavin Thornbury (back in Ireland), Michael Nabuliwaqa, Malakai Volau (both back n Fiji) and Tietie Tuimauga (injured).

Gains with previous first-class experience were Taione Ratu (South Canterbury) and Sekonaia Kalou who had represented Fiji at the 2011 World Cup and prior to that had played for North Otago and Otago under the name of Sekonaia Qaranaqio.

Newcomer Timoci Seruwalu was the team’s outstanding back, topping the try-scoring with nine. He was a constant threat to opposing defences and played in the final with a well-strapped broken hand. Cameron Crowley missed early matches while recovering from injury, but by season’s end had scored five tries, showing great determination on attack and defence. Nick Harding, who had last appeared in 2012, gave good service at fullback. fielding safely, tackling solidly and attacking well.

Whether at first five-eighth or midfield, Craig Clare gave some high-class displays in
marshaling the backline with good tactical sense, and experienced halfback Lindsay Horrocks was another to end the season in the ascendancy after indifferent form in the middle of the season.

Lock Sam Madams stood out in the pack for his skills in the lineout and forceful play around the field, and with Campbell Hart they dominated the Horowhenua Kapiti lineout jumpers in the final. Prop Viki Tofa was always good value and he was well supported by newcomer Hamish Mellow who gave of his best at all times. Bryn Hudson was a fine forward at number eight.

The two experienced hookers and co-captains Cole Baldwin and Roman Tutauha passed 100 games and 50 games for Wanganui respectively during the season. Baldwin announced his retirement after the final, having participated in all six of Wanganui’s Meads Cup final victories, a fine record.

Higher honours went to:

New Zealand Heartland: C. Clare. C. Crowley, B. Hudson

2017 Results

28 Oct, 2:30 pm A Horo-Kapiti Heartland Championship - Meads Cup Final 14 - 30
21 Oct, 2:30 pm A Sth Canterbury Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup 24 - 29
14 Oct, 2:30 pm H North Otago Heartland Championship 10 - 06
07 Oct, 2:30 pm A Horo-Kapiti Heartland Championship 15 - 08
30 Sep, 2:30 pm H King Country Heartland Championship 80 - 03
23 Sep, 2:30 pm A Mid Canterbury Heartland Championship 40 - 39
16 Sep, 2:30 pm A Sth Canterbury Heartland Championship 21 - 17
09 Sep, 2:30 pm H Poverty Bay Heartland Championship 25 - 14
02 Sep, 2:30 pm A Thames Valley Heartland Championship 19 - 21
26 Aug, 2:30 pm H Wairarapa-Bush Heartland Championship 79 - 07
19 Aug, 2:30 pm A Horo-Kapiti Pre-Season (non-first class) 17 - 37
12 Aug, 2:30 pm A Hawkes Bay Saracens Pre-Season (non-first class) 14 - 33
21 Jun, 7:30 pm A Canterbury Ranfurly Shield 71 - 05
14 Jun, 2:30 pm H Placeholder Manawatu Evergreens Pre-Season (non-first class) 7 - 33
05 Jun, 2:30 pm H Placeholder Hurricanes Development Pre-Season (non-first class) 17 - 52

APPEARANCES For Wanganui RFU (2017)

2017 Players

  Name   Position PL
Placeholder Angus Middleton Loose Forward 9
Placeholder Asalemo 'Ace' Malo Fullback, Winger 1
Placeholder Bruno Tuivai Winger 5
Bryn Hudson Loose Forward 11
Placeholder Cade Robinson Flanker 2
Cameron Crowley Outside Back 10
Campbell Hart Loose Forward, Lock 7
Placeholder Cody Hemi Outside Back, Winger 8
Placeholder Cole Baldwin Hooker 11
Craig Clare Centre, Five Eighth 10
Dane Whale Five Eighth 9
Placeholder Ethan Robinson Centre 1
Placeholder Fa'alele Isoua Midfield Back, Outside Back 1
Placeholder Fraser Hammond Lock 5
Placeholder Gabriel Hakaraia Prop 6
Placeholder Hamish Mellow Prop 10
Placeholder Jamie Hughes Loose Forward 11
Placeholder Jona Sawailau Fullback 7
Placeholder Josh Lane Lock 1
Placeholder Kamipeli T. Latu Prop 5
Placeholder Karl Parker Hooker 5
Placeholder Kaveni Dabenaise Midfield Back 11
Placeholder Lindsay Horrocks Halfback 11
Placeholder Nick Harding Fullback 9
Placeholder Peter Rowe Flanker 1
Placeholder Raymond Salu Prop 4
Placeholder Renato Tikoilosomone Loose Forward 1
Placeholder Roman Tutauha Hooker 10
Placeholder Sam Dawson Loose Forward 5
Placeholder Sam Madams Lock 11
Placeholder Samu Kubunavanua Flanker, Winger 9
Placeholder Simon Dibben Wing 8
Placeholder Sokonaia Kalou Lock 9
Placeholder Taione Ratu Loose Forward, Flanker 5
Placeholder Timoci Seruwalu Midfield Back 9
Placeholder Tom Stewart Halfback 9
Placeholder Tremaine Gilbert Loose Forward, No. 8 10
Placeholder Viki Tofa Prop 10