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
Founded 1888 – Original member 1892
|T.C. (Tom) Kilgariff|
|B.S. (Bridget) Belsham|
|J.M. (Jason) Caskey|
|Cooks Gardens , Wanganui|
|Royal Blue, Black and White|
With the loss of their opening three matches it was a certainty that Wanganui would have to win all remaining five round robin matches to have any chance of making the top four playoffs for the Meads Cup. In a dramatic run, where every match was a virtual elimination match, not only were the last five matches won, they were all won with a bonus point for four tries or more to finish fourth.
The winning streak started with Wanganui’s best performance of the season against unbeaten West Coast where Wanganui had to play with 14 men for the last 74 minutes, having had a player red carded. Victory over Thames Valley in the semi-final was achieved in a hard-fought encounter, but in the final Wanganui had to concede to a North Otago team that was better on the day.
Wanganui had a smaller forward pack than the majority of teams in the Heartland Championship but still functioned well. Angus Middleton, Jamie Hughes, and captain Campbell Hart were outstanding loose forwards, gaining turnovers and exhibiting strong defence. A change was made at number eight after the defeat to Buller with Ezra Meleisea brought in on loan and he fitted in well.
Locks Sam Madams and Josh Lane (along with Campbell Hart) frequently gave Wanganui an edge in the lineouts. Madams was strong in all departments of tight play and well supported in this regard by Lane who had made just two previous appearances in 2017. Wiremu Cottrell, Gabriel Hakaraia, Kamipeli Latu and newcomer Raymond Salu were all capable props in the scrums and around the field. Latu, in particular, was impressive, Hakaraia missed the final through injury, and Salu had very good pace for a front row forward, scoring five tries. Roman Tutauha was his usual consistent self at hooker.
Lindsay Horrocks was in top form throughout the season, comparing favourably with any other halfback in the Heartland Championship. Craig Clare’s season ended prematurely with injury with Dane Whale taking over at first five-eighth. Whale’s goalkicking unfortunately was erratic and Nick Harding was brought into fullback to assume the goalkicking duties. He proved to be most reliable, including one superb penalty goal from inside his own half in the semi-final.
Twenty-year-old wing Vereniki Tikoisolomone had a sensational debut season, scoring 13 tries to easily top the Heartland Championship try scoring and finish just one short of the Championship record. Tyler Rogers-Holden scored four tries against Ngati Porou East Coast, and unluckily lost his place when Harding was brought in. Loan player Shai Wiperi was a steady utility. The midfield combinations tried in the first half of the season seemed problematical, being resolved with the arrival of loan player Amos Pogia to strike an effective partnership with Penijamini Nabainivalu.
Locals missing from last year’s line-up included Cameron Crowley (retired), Harry Symes (injured), Simon Dibben (semi-retired), Kaveni Dabenaise (Northland) and Kameli Kuruyabaki (Manawatu). Of the arrivals Shae Wiperi had previously played for Horowhenua Kapiti, Josaia Bogileka had represented NZ Marist and Ezra Meleisea had been a Samoa Under 20 rep.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: C. Clare, C. Hart, L. Horrocks, P. Nabainivalu
|Sat 10 Aug||1:00 pm||A||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Hawkes Bay Saracens||Whanganui RFU||17 - 38||Match Center|
|Sat 17 Aug||2:30 pm||H||Pre-Season (non-first class)||Wellington Development||Whanganui RFU||15 - 14||Match Center|
|Sat 24 Aug||2:30 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Wairarapa-Bush||Whanganui RFU||28 - 18||Match Center|
|Sat 31 Aug||2:30 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Thames Valley||Whanganui RFU||30 - 36||Match Center|
|Sat 07 Sep||2:30 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Buller||Whanganui RFU||22 - 21||Match Center|
|Sat 14 Sep||2:30 pm||H||Heartland Championship||West Coast||Whanganui RFU||36 - 18||Match Center|
|Sat 21 Sep||2:30 pm||H||Heartland Championship||Ngāti Porou East Coast||Whanganui RFU||67 - 24||Match Center|
|Sat 28 Sep||2:30 pm||A||Heartland Championship||North Otago||Whanganui RFU||22 - 27||Match Center|
|Sat 05 Oct||2:30 pm||H||Heartland Championship||King Country||Whanganui RFU||57 - 19||Match Center|
|Sat 12 Oct||2:30 pm||A||Heartland Championship||Horowhenua-Kapiti||Whanganui RFU||15 - 38||Match Center|
|Sat 19 Oct||2:30 pm||A||Heartland Championship (S/F) Meads Cup||Thames Valley||Whanganui RFU||15 - 20||Match Center|
|Sat 26 Oct||3:05 pm||A||Meads Cup Final||North Otago||Whanganui RFU||33 - 19||Match Center|
APPEARANCES For Wanganui RFU (2019)