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 2020 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
New coaches Jason Caskey and Jason Hamlin maintained Wanganui’s standing at the head of Heartland rugby, guiding the team to its third Meads Cup title in four years. The loss to Mid Canterbury, the first on home soil since 2007, stung Wanganui and they responded with high scoring wins over the next three weeks. The unbeaten record at Cooks Gardens remains intact however as the Mid Canterbury game was played at the former headquarters of Spriggens Park which the union had to use while the USA RWC squad was using the main venue as a training base.
Wanganui was clearly the best Heartland team, with experience and class in all positions and this is reflected in eight being selected in the Heartland squad.The speedy threequarters, Sam Scown, newcomer Simon Dibben,Tevita Taufu’i and fullback Asalemo Malo scored half the team’s tries.
They were provided quality ball from their inside backs, the captain Steelie Koro, Mark Davis, and the halfbacks Sean Brown and Denning Tyrell. Tremaine Gilbert and Rusiate Vukula were newcomers who seized their opportunities. Cole Baldwin, Shaun McDonough and Vaan Rauhina were an experienced front row. Andrew Retallick looks promising at lock partnering Jon Smyth who was in outstanding form.
Loose forwards Andrew Evans, Darren Munro and Fraser Hammond were joined by Origin player Daniel FitzGerald, brother of Michael, the Manawatu player. FitzGerald, aged 19, captained his club team to the final of the Manawatu club championship and looks to follow his older brother’s career path.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: Baldwin, Dibben, Koro, McDonough, Munro, Scown, Smyth, Vukula
|Wed 20 Jul||2:30 pm||A||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Horowhenua-Kapiti||Whanganui RFU||12 - 30||Match Center|
|Sat 06 Aug||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||King Country||Whanganui RFU||50 - 19||Match Center|
|Sat 13 Aug||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||South Canterbury||Whanganui RFU||18 - 28||Match Center|
|Sat 20 Aug||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Thames Valley||Whanganui RFU||21 - 31||Match Center|
|Sat 27 Aug||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Mid Canterbury||Whanganui RFU||23 - 26||Match Center|
|Sat 03 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Poverty Bay||Whanganui RFU||13 - 58||Match Center|
|Sat 10 Sep||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Horowhenua-Kapiti||Whanganui RFU||76 - 08||Match Center|
|Sat 17 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||West Coast||Whanganui RFU||12 - 69||Match Center|
|Sat 24 Sep||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Wairarapa-Bush||Whanganui RFU||29 - 00||Match Center|
|Sat 01 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup||Mid Canterbury||Whanganui RFU||32 - 22||Match Center|
|Sat 08 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Meads Cup Final||Ngāti Porou East Coast||Whanganui RFU||30 - 10||Match Center|