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 2015 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
Wanganui were deserving winners of the Meads Cup for the fourth time.
Their only loss of the season Was to Mid Canterbury in the second round, when conceding a last minute converted try, which was amply revenged in the semi-ﬁnal. Wanganui won all six away matches during the season, including both playoff matches. And in the years to come, whenever the ﬁnal is mentioned, the ﬁrst topic talked about will be that try scored by Samu Kubunavanua which was launched from behind their own goal-line.
The experienced Asalemo Malo was fullback after missing the start while returning from injury. The flying Fijians Michael Nabuliwaqe and Samu Kubunavanua were the wings. Fast and elusive, they scored 14 tries between them. In the midfield were Trinity Spooner-Neera (on loan from Hawke’s Bay) and another Fijian Poasa Waqanibau. Originally at second ﬁve-eighth and centre respectively, they were swapped after the King Country match with Waqanibau the direct hard runner and tackler and Spooner-Neera with more ﬂair. Spooner-Neera was top points scorer in the Heartland Championship. The 18-year-old schoolboy first five-eighth Stephen Perofeta had a notable debut season. His three tries against Poverty Bay were all classy efforts. He missed selection in the New Zealand Schoolboys team, but the New Zealand Heartland selectors took a different view. Taranaki have signed him for 2016. Lindsay Horrocks had his best season at halfback, varying his play well with a good break.
The forward pack was one of the lightest in the Heartland Championship, but with a lot of experience. Captain Peter Rowe became the union’s 12th centurion in the opening match, having made his his debut in 2003. Daniel FitzGerald was unlucky to suffer injury in the opening match after scoring two tries, and this allowed Bryn Hudson to start. Whether at blindside ﬂanker or number eight, Hudson played so well he made the New Zealand Heartland team. Fraser Hammond also was a standout; whether at lock or blindside ﬂanker he was always in the thick of things. Jon Smyth was not originally in the squad but drafted in with the injury to Fitzgerald and became the main lineout winner. Linchpin loosehead prop Kamipeli Latu would have been unlucky to miss the New Zealand Heartland team. At hooker Cole Baldwin remains consistent from year to year. Baldwin, Hammond and Smyth have appeared in all of Wanganui’s four Meads Cup winning ﬁnals.
A total of 29 players wore the jersey with 10 being debutants. Thirteen players appeared last year and there were recalls for Brett Turner (2006), Daniel FitzGerald, Steelie Koro (both 2011), Fraser Hammond and Jon Smyth (both 2012). Local regulars missing from last year were Tevita Taufui (Waikato), Dane Whale (Manawatu), Lasa Ulukuta (injured), John Laurie (overseas), and Sonny Woodmass (Horowhenua Kapiti).
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: C. Baldwin, F.C. Hammond, L.D. Horrocks, B.D. Hudson, S.Perofeta, P.G. Rowe
|Sat 24 Oct||5:00 pm||A||Meads Cup Final||South Canterbury||11 - 28||Match Center|
|Sat 17 Oct||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup||Mid Canterbury||11 - 26||Match Center|
|Sat 10 Oct||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Wairarapa-Bush||35 - 57||Match Center|
|Sat 03 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Poverty Bay||55 - 23||Match Center|
|Sat 26 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Thames Valley||27 - 47||Match Center|
|Sat 19 Sep||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||King Country||17 - 17||Match Center|
|Sat 12 Sep||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Buller||35 - 09||Match Center|
|Sat 05 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||North Otago||10 - 40||Match Center|
|Sat 29 Aug||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Mid Canterbury||28 - 30||Match Center|
|Sat 22 Aug||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Horowhenua-Kapiti||34 - 39||Match Center|
|Match.Record:||Played 10 ; Won 8 ; Drew 1 ; Lost 1|
|Points :||For 372 ; Against 207|
|x = Peter Rowe was captain in 9 of the 10 matches the only match missed was vs WaiBush , which saw Cole Baldwin captain the side.|