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 2016 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
Steelform Wanganui was clearly the best team in the Heartland Championship, winning every match. They were only seriously challenged by South Canterbury and Buller in the final. In the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato, the side went down 12-32 in a very spirited performance.
Thirty-two players took the field, 15 for the first time. Locals gone from 2015 were Poasa Waqanibau (Canterbury), Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki) and Kamipeli Latu (overseas), with Fraser Hammond unavailable. Wanganui gained the services of the experienced Craig Clare (Manawatu/ Otago/Bay of Plenty/Highlanders) and 2008-2010 rep Cameron Crowley. Crowley had actually returned from overseas in 2015 but a broken arm in his first club match back prevented any representative appearance last year. Wanganui also had the use of two former Ireland Under 20 reps in Steve Crosbie and Gavin Thornbury.
Following on from Stephen Perofeta last year, this year’s exciting find was Te Rangatira Waitokia who played mainly at wing. His 12 tries were the highest in the Heartland Championship, and he looks to have a bright future. An exciting runner, he did not shirk any defensive obligations. The other first-choice wing was Michael Nabuliwaqe who missed games through injury but still scored six tries in seven appearances. The veteran Asalemo Malo remains a safe and sound fullback. The season-ending injuries to Cameron Crowley and Kameli Kuruyabaki, with the mid-season departure of Steve Crosbie, saw Dane Whale reclaim the 10 jersey, Blake Hohaia come in on loan and Craig Clare show his versatility. Lindsay Horrocks again was an important cog at halfback with good variation.
As with the wing position, there were a number of capable loose forwards to choose from with Malakai Volau, Peter Rowe, Jamie Hughes, Bryn Hudson, Tremaine Gilbert and Renato Tikoilosomone all getting regular game time with two loose forwards usually being among the bench. The captain Peter Rowe announced his retirement at the end of the season having made 119 appearances for the Butcher Boys. The 2.04-m-tall lock Gavin Thornbury ruled the lineouts and displayed a very high work rate in the tight. Campbell Han was his regular partner and also covered blindside flanker. Viki Tofa was the premier prop, being an excellent scrummager. Newcomer 120-kg Tietie Tuimauga was a strong prop in the tight exchanges, while at hooker there was a changing of the guard with Roman Tutauha displaying excellent form to keep out Cole Baldwin.
Wanganui made two successful defences of the Bruce Steel Cup, defeating Wairarapa Bush 40-22 in a pre-Heartland match that was not first class, and Horowhenua Kapiti 20-12 in the Heartland fixture.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: L.D. Horrocks, P.G. Rowe, V.M. Tofa
|Sat 29 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Meads Cup Final||Buller||20 - 18||Match Center|
|Sat 22 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup||Wairarapa-Bush||58 - 26||Match Center|
|Sat 15 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Horowhenua-Kapiti||20 - 12||Match Center|
|Sat 08 Oct||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Buller||00 - 28||Match Center|
|Sat 01 Oct||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Thames Valley||60 - 14||Match Center|
|Sat 24 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Poverty Bay||30 - 52||Match Center|
|Sat 17 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||King Country||10 - 22||Match Center|
|Sat 10 Sep||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||South Canterbury||32 - 30||Match Center|
|Sat 03 Sep||5:00 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Ngāti Porou East Coast||08 - 74||Match Center|
|Sat 27 Aug||5:00 pm||H||Heartland Championship||West Coast||74 - 06||Match Center|
|Sat 20 Aug||2:30 pm||H||Bruce Steel Cup||Wairarapa-Bush||40 - 22||Match Center|
|Sat 13 Aug||2:30 pm||H||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Hawkes Bay Saracens||41 - 19||Match Center|
|Sat 06 Aug||2:30 pm||A||Ranfurly Shield||Waikato||32 - 12||Match Center|
|Sat 30 Jul||2:30 pm||N||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Taranaki “Dev.” – “XV” – “B”||12 - 43||Match Center|
|Wed 22 Jun||7:00 pm||N||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Manawatu Evergreens||34 - 15||Match Center|
|x =Wanganui made two successful defences of the Bruce Steel Cup, defeating Wairarapa Bush 40-22 in a pre-Heartland match that was not first class, and Horowhenua Kapiti 20-12 in the Heartland fixture.|