We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Wairarapa Bush 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

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Founded 1886 – Affiliated 1893 – Amalgamated 1971
Mr I.A.Aitkenhead
Main ground:
Memorial Park , Masterton
Green and Red

Wairarapa-Bush won five of its 11-match programme, all of which were gained on its own territory. Its largest win -— by the handsome margin of twenty points — was against the touring Victorian team where the home backs proved far superior. The emphasis on spinning the ball resulted in the backs scoring 19 of the side’s 21 tries in the eight matches when the opposition’s line was crossed. Although down 10 to 3 at half-time, Wairarapa-Bush had the better of the Ranfurly Shield match up to that stage.

The withdrawal through personal reasons of the 1972 captain and half-back, Karatau, did not help iron out the Selector’s problem of quick service from a hard-working forward pack which played too loose to ensure clean ball.

As admirably as he played behind the scrum, Harris did not give speedy delivery, and the new 20-year old 1st five-eighth, McEwen (who showed much promise in place of the injured Sanson) was often harassed by opposition flankers . . . a notable occurrence in Wairarapa-Bush’s big loss in the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Marlborough. Inder was a solid second five-eighth with good defence, while centre Martin (who captained the team early in the season) was the side’s best back with his ability to make the “break”; he played in all eleven matches.

A 1969 Wairarapa winger, Sims, appeared to have lost some of his pace (he returned after representing Manawatu in 1970-71); Hooper-Smith, who last appeared in 1970, occupied the other wing position for three games before leaving the district. A newcomer, the 13st., 21-year old Glover, then impressed with his hip-thrusting running and looks a wing-three quarter of much promise. Bargh, who made one appearance at centre, was a 1971 Poverty Bay representative. Couch was an enterprising full-back (he also played in the five-eighths), but his unavailability for Sunday play saw a schoolteacher from Wanganui, Giles make his first-class debut at full-back; he appeared in five matches and registered 17 points against King Country.

The promising Lock/No. 8, Dalziell, who appeared previously in 1971, missed the latter part of the season through injury; the 1972 regular No. 8, Taylor, also suffered injury and made only three appearances. Turley, who has now played over 90 first-class matches, was a strength in the line-outs and was the only forward to appear in all 11 fixtures. The veteran Oliver, who had earlier indicated his intention to retire at the end of the Season, was replaced later in the programme by a promising young newcomer at lock, Clarke. McConnochie and Ryan were a lively pair of flankers, the latter taking over the captaincy after the third game. Wyeth and Spence were new side-rankers who appeared late in the programme; the 21-year old Spence looks a player of promise and should benefit from his transfer to the Senior A club grade in 1974. Dalton, a 1968 Mid-Canterbury representative, and Playle, who made one appearance as a reserve in 1970 for Wairarapa, teamed up as a solid pair of front-row props. McGlashan and newcomer Geange shared the hooking berth after regular hooker since 1968,Falconer, announced his retirement; he appeared Once as a replacement and, in all, has made 51 appearances for his Union.

For the 11 engagements, 36 players were called on, of which 13 were newcomers to representative Rugby.

Of the regular 1972 representatives, the prop A.B.Henwood had left the district, winger Roger Twentyman had retired, While the Maori prop W. N. Rowlands was in temporary retirement. N.A.Purvis had returned to Central Otago.

Ryan toured with the New Zealand Juniors, and the ex-Wairarapa All Black, B. J. Lochore, appeared for the President’s XV. and Invitation XV. against the New Zealand side.


Played, 11; Won, 5; Lost, 6
Points: For, 166; Against, 190

1. May 9, v. WELLINGTON, at Memorial Park, Masterton.
Lost 0 to 20
Referee: Mr.B.G.Whale (Wairarapa-Bush)
2. May 16, v. VICTORIA, at Memorial Park, Masterton.
Won 35 to 15
Scorers: D. Hooper-Smith (2), L. H. Karatau, P. I. Ryan and M.R.Sanson, tries
R.C.Parker, 3 penalty goals and 3 conversions
Referee: Mr.R.C.Francis (Wairarapa-Bush)
3. June 4, v. HAWKE’S BAY, at Memorial Park, Masterton.
Lost 15 to 34
Scorers: H.J.Sims, try
R.T.Couch, 3 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.P.J.Harris (Wairarapa-Bush)
4. July 21, v. NELSON-BAYS, at Rugby Park, Pahiatua
Won 27 to 9
Scorers: H.J.Sims (2), B.G.Martin and L.N.Glover, tries
P.F.Giles, 3 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.M.Hargreaves (Nelson-Bays)
5. July 28, v. WANGANUI, at Wanganui
Lost 12 to 22
Scorers: L.N.Glover and H.J.Sims, tries
P.F.Giles, 2 conversions
6. August 5, v. KING COUNTRY, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Won 25 to 6
Scorers: John McEwen, 2 tries
P.F.Giles, 5 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.R.A.Brown (Wairarapa-Bush)
7. August 11, v. MARLBOROUGH (Ranfurly Shield), at Blenheim
Lost 0 to 36
8. August 15, v. HOROWHENUA, at Rugby Park, Pahiatua.
Won 28 to 8
Scorers: N.D.Taylor, D.P.Harris, R.T.Pringle, B.G.Martin and R.T.Couch, tries
R.T.Couch, 4 conversions.
Referee: Mr.P. Harris (Wairarapa-Bush)
9. August 18, v. TARANAKI, at New Plymouth
Lost 6 to 13
Scorers:  L.N.Glover, try
R.T.Couch, conversion
10. August 25, v. MANAWATU, (Bruce Steel Cup), at Palmerston North
Lost 3 to 13
Scorers: R.T.Couch, penalty goal.
11. September 1, v. SOUTHLAND, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Won 15 to 14
Scorers: John McEwen, try
R.T.Couch, 3 penalty goals and conversion.
Referee: Mr.B.G.Whale (Wairarapa-Bush)
Wairarapa Bush REPRESENTATIVES 1973 {Total Games}
R.T.Couch Featherston 8
I.B.Blake Carterton 1
R.C.Parker Carterton 1
P.F.Giles Masterton 5
Douglas Hooper-Smith Featherston 3
R.E.Robertson Greytown 3
H.J.Sims Red Star 9
L.N.Glover Masterton 7
R.T.Pringle Masterton 3
B.G.Martin Masterton 11
C.J.Bargh Featherston 1
K.W.Inder Pahiatua 8
M.R.Sanson Masterton 3
John McEwen Masterton 7
D.P.Harris Konini 9
L.H.Karatau Masterton 1
J.W.Dalziell East Coast 6
M.D.Eastwood Masterton Marist 2
I.F.Turley Red Star 11
D.P.Oliver Konini 6
P.J.Ryan Pahiatua 10
N.P.Sargent Featherston 1
G.K.McGlashan Red Star 5
B.W.Narbey Featherston 3
D.R.Kershaw Featherston 4
B.J.McConnochie Masterton 8
G.E.Falconer Carterton 1
A.R.Foreman Tiraumea 1
D.A.Boustead Pahiatua 1
R.B.Playle Carterton 8
K.D.Geange Carterton 6
C.W.Dalton Masterton 8
C.W.Clarke Red Star 5
N.D.Taylor Featherston 3
S.J.Spence East Coast 3
M.E.P.Wyeth Masterton 2