Wanganui All-Rounder: Brett Cameron, Cullinane College

Brett Cameron is a very capable sportsman. In 2014 Cameron is the Head of Sport at Cullinane College in Wanganui. Cameron is the schools’ touch and athletics captain and member of the First XV rugby and First XI cricket teams.

In 2013 Cameron was selected for the New Zealand Under-17 cricket team having captained Central Districts at age group level for two years. This year he is a member of the Wanganui senior team.

In rugby Cameron has been a Wanganui representative at Under 16, 18 and 19 levels. In 2013 he was selected for the New Zealand Marist Schools.’

In 2014 Cameron attended the Hurricanes Under-18 camp and was recently named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ training squad.

In Cameron’s junior years the above achievements would have seemed inconceivable. The 176cm, 75kg first-five struggled with a serious stress fracture injury.

Hayden Hepburn is the First XV coach at Cullinane College. Hepburn has a background in teaching and sports science. Hepburn explains that Cameron has become a lot stronger through a specific gym program.

“Brett is one of the most talented and hard-working sportsman I have met, however he struggled with injures in his junior years because he is quite light. I have put Brett on a specific strength and conditioning program and that has built his bone density and increased his confidence.”

Hepburn coached Toby Arnold and Jackson Willison while at Otorhanga College.

Cameron says of his coach, “Hayden is a great coach. He is very direct and clear. He has really turned my game around.”

Cameron says he attacks the line with more authority than he ever has and he is inspired by Daniel Carter and many of his contemporaries.

“I watch a lot of Land Rover First XV rugby. I really admire guys like Damien McKenzie and TJ Va’a. They are pretty complete players and give you something to aspire to.”

Quality of competition has been an issue for Cullinane. In 2013 Cullinane won the Wanganui Under-19 competition that combines schools’ and clubs. Cameron scored 28 of his sides’ 38 points in the final.

In 2014 Cullinane competed in the Manawatu First XV competition. Manawatu now accommodates a total of 82 Wanganui teams between the premier First XV and under-14 grades.

Cullinane finished third in the First XV grade. Cameron says, “The Manawatu competition was a big step up. We played the seconds of Feilding High School and thirds of Palmerston North Boys’ which is the toughest rugby that the college has played. I really enjoyed testing myself against better players.”

Cullinane has two rugby teams (First XV and Under-15) and a total of 46 players. Hepburn says that Cameron’s feat in reaching the New Zealand Schools’ training squad is a real triumph for his work ethic, intelligence and skill, Hepburn continues:

“Even if Brett doesn’t make the final cut, there is a real sense at the school that Brett has made it. Brett has been offered chances to go elsewhere, but he has stayed loyal. He is a real inspiration to entire school community.”

Cameron has applied for a scholarship at Lincoln University in Christchurch next year. Cameron dead lifts double his bodyweight. He completes a 19.3 YOYO and boasts an all-round sporting record that few schoolboys’ in New Zealand can match.


Cullinane College is an integrated, co-educational college founded in 2003, through the combining of Sacred Heart College (founded in 1880 and operated by the Sisters of St Joseph of Nazareth) and St Augustine’s College (founded in 1944 and operated by the priests and brothers of the Society of Mary). The college is named after: Sister Vincent Cullinane RSJ and Sister Cuthbert Cullinane RSJ (both important teachers at Sacred Heart College); Father John Cullinane SM (an important teacher at St Augustine’s College); and Bishop Peter James Cullinane, first and current Bishop of Palmerston North are the proprietors of the college.

St. Augustine’s College was a very strong rugby school in the eighties and early nineties. In 1980 the First XV won 17 out of 19 games. Between 1981 and 1982, they enjoyed an unbeaten streak of 27 matches. In 1982 Murray Kendrick was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools.’ In 1986 the First XV won 15 out of 22 games, including the Wanganui schools’ grade. For the next five years they enjoyed a golden era.

St. Augustine’s Golden Era

1987: 19 wins in 23 games.

1988: 17 wins in 19 games: Martin Bullock, Charles Osborne and Mark Bullock selected for the Central Regions team.

1989: 14 wins in 18 games; Glenn Osborne in his fourth and final year in the First XV represented the Wanganui Under-18’s.

1990: 15 wins in 18 games; Won Wanganui Sevens and all traditional games against, St. John’s College, Hastings, Marist College, Palmerston North, St Patrick’s College, Wellington and Tawa College.

1991: 16 wins in 18 games; Won Wanganui/Horowhenua/Manawatu combined competition. Invited to the National Top Four where they finished third, losing the semi-final to eventual National champions St. Stephen’s School and defeating Christchurch champions St. Andrew’s College. Bernie Kelly (who later coached the New Zealand Secondary Schools’) was coach. Leigh Peina, Darrell Hoskin, Hemi Rennie, Glen Rukuwai and James O’Leary were selected for the Central Regions team.

1992: Beat Wanganui Collegiate and Marlborough Boys’ College who were captained by future All Black skipper Anton Oliver.

Glen Osborne

Glen Osborne became an All Black. He played 19 tests and scored 11 tries. In 179 first class games he scored 93 tries. Osborne’s Uncle Bill was an All Black and his brother Charles played for Wanganui. Glen represented the following New Zealand teams in addition to the All Blacks: Academy, Colts, Maori, Sevens and Barbarians.

Article Posted on by Adam Julian