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 2018 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
Founded 1888 – Affiliated 1892
|B.S. (Bridget) Belsham|
|J.M. (Jason) Caskey|
|Cooks Gardens , Wanganui|
|Royal Blue, Black and White|
A surprise 7 -17 defeat to Thames Valley in their home semi-final of the Meads Cup brought Wanganui’s season to an abrupt end. It was the shock result of the 2018 Heartland Championship.
Until then Wanganui had won all eight championship matches, including a deserved 21-10 win over expected closest challenger South Canterbury. The defensive qualities of the team were a feature of their play, remarkably conceding only one bonus point in the entire round robin. And although beaten by Taranaki in their Ranfurly Shield challenge, they had produced a very creditable performance where the second half score was 5-5.
From first game to last, the two standouts in the backline again were halfback Lindsay Horrocks and utility Craig Clare. As well as serving the backline well, Horrocks had an accurate kicking game and was a good defender around the ruck. He was surely unlucky not to have made the New Zealand Heartland team. Whether at fullback or first five-eighth Clare was in sublime form and an excellent goalkicker.
Injury in the Ranfurly Shield challenge meant Cameron Crowley made a slow start to the Championship, and he retired at the conclusion of the two matches played by the New Zealand Heartland team. On the other wing, 19-year-old Harry Symes had a very promising debut season, exhibiting really good pace until dislocating his shoulder against King Country.
Another newcomer who held his spot was fullback Tyler Rogers-Holden. It was his emergence that prompted the coach Jason Caskey to shift Craig Clare into first five-eighth in place of Dane Whale. Former Buller rep Penijamini Nabainivalu arrived from Wellington and with Kaveni Dabenaise formed a good partnership in midfield with their pace and ability to breach the opposition line.
Hooker and captain Roman Tutauha made a delayed entry due to a broken arm suffered in the club ﬁnal and blindside flanker Campbell Hart captained the team in Tutauha’s absence. With the extra responsibility, Hart played some outstanding games and his New Zealand Heartland selection was well deserved. The locking pair of 2.02m Welshman Henri Williams and Sam Madams were both hard working and a tower of strength in the lineouts.
Last year’s number eight Bryn Hudson had an injury-plagued season and Michael Tafili was brought in on loan from Counties Manukau. He made a big impression, providing strong ball carrying ability and aggressive defence. His having to leave the ﬁeld injured after 50 minutes of the semi-ﬁnal was a blow. With two good openside flankers in Angus Middleton and Jamie Hughes, the coach had the luxury of rotating them.
The depth in the front row was well utilized with the experienced Viki Tofa and Kamipeli Latu, second season Gabriel Hakaraia and debutant Wiremu Cottrell all getting good game time with no noticeable loss of effect. Hooker Jack Yarrall had played one game in 2016 and with Tutauha’s injury showed himself an able replacement for his captain.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: C .D. Clare, C.J. Crowley, C.J. Hart, P.B.Nabainivalu
|20 Oct, 2:30 pm||H||Thames Valley||Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup||07 - 17|
|13 Oct, 2:30 pm||H||Horo-Kapiti||Heartland Championship||57 - 27|
|06 Oct, 2:30 pm||A||East Coast||Heartland Championship||10 - 56|
|29 Sep, 2:30 pm||H||Buller||Heartland Championship||45 - 14|
|22 Sep, 2:30 pm||A||King Country||Heartland Championship||19 - 36|
|15 Sep, 2:30 pm||H||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship||30 - 12|
|08 Sep, 2:30 pm||A||Poverty Bay||Heartland Championship||00 - 53|
|01 Sep, 2:00 pm||A||West Coast||Heartland Championship||21 - 33|
|25 Aug, 2:30 pm||H||Sth Canterbury||Heartland Championship||21 - 10|
|18 Aug, 2:15 pm||N||Hawkes Bay Saracens||Pre-Season (non-first class)||19 - 34|
|11 Aug, 2:30 pm||A||Wairarapa-Bush||Pre-Season (non-first class)||14 - 61|
|04 Aug, 2:35 pm||A||Taranaki||Ranfurly Shield||33 - 10|
APPEARANCES For Wanganui RFU (2018)
|Angus Middleton||Loose Forward||10|
|Bryn Hudson||Loose Forward||2|
|Cameron Crowley||Outside Back||6|
|Campbell Hart||Loose Forward, Lock||9|
|Craig Clare||Centre, Five Eighth||9|
|Dane Whale||Five Eighth||8|
|Jamie Hughes||Loose Forward||10|
|Joshua Fifita||Five Eighth, Halfback||4|
|Kameli Kuruyabaki||Midfield Back||8|
|Kamipeli T. Latu||Prop||7|
|Kaveni Dabenaise||Midfield Back||8|
|Michael Tafili||No. 8||5|
|Tremaine Gilbert||Loose Forward, No. 8||9|
|Tyler Rogers-Holden||Midfield Back, Wing||8|