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

Acknowledgments to the NZ Rugby Almanack Franchise: 

Back to Year by Year Index click here



Founded 1886 – Affiliated 1893 – Amalgamated 1971
Mr R.T Francis
Main ground:
Memorial Park , Masterton
Green , with Scarlet Collar

Wairarapa-Bush began what proved to be a rather dismal season with two heavy defeats, by Wellington and Hawke’s Bay, and weaknesses in defense were again exposed in the final two matches which were lost decisively to Manawatu and an Auckland ‘B’ side. The team did have its bright moments, however, with convincing victories over Wanganui and King Country, and could well have notched its third win had it not infringed in the final minute against Nelson-Bays. With a slice of luck it may well have tumbled the then Ranfurly Shield holders, Marlborough, on its bi-annual visit to Masterton, going down by 15 to 21.

The Union was confronted with early-season problems when the Selector for the past three seasons, Mr. I. A. Aitkenhead, relinquished his post in late April. This gave the new appointee Mr. R. T. Francis (a Wairarapa half-back in 1962) only three weeks to prepare a squad for the annual Wellington fixture. Mr. Francis’s emphasis was on attack, but the inability of the inside backs to make proper use of good forward possession brought about a change of tactics. The captain and halfback, Karatau (who again availed himself for provincial Rugby) reverted to playing back to his forwards, with the result that the August section of the programme was a more satisfying one.

Overall, Karatau filled the halfback role with credit . . . two replacement half-backs were used – Herangi and Henson, both in their first representative season. McEwen possessed plenty of flair at first five-eighth with the ability to find the “gap”, but his defense remains suspect. The regular second five-eighth of 1973, Inder, was replaced after two games by utility back Kjestrup, a 20-year old who made his debut at full-back against Hawke’s Bay on Queen’s Birthday. Another newcomer, Dewar, took over this position for the final four matches — a 22-year old with a neat side-step, but was another to show weak resistance on defense.

The regular centre, Martin, did not stand out as much as in previous seasons, but was still one of the side’s best defenders. His courageous tackling brought about his match replacement on two occasions; he also missed two games through injury. The only two backs to take the field in all ten fixtures were three quarters Robertson and Patrick. Robertson showed plenty of pace on the right wing, but was very ordinary on defense with the reluctance to go in for the solid tackle. Patrick, who made his first-class debut at his club position of centre, was played on the wing for seven games and emerged the “star” of the backline. His defense was sound and his determined running earned him four of the team’s 17 tries.

Fullback Couch, who has now played 50 times for his Union, showed a welcome return in August after being injured in the May encounter with Wellington. His attacking qualities brought much-needed zip to the backline and his accurate boot reaped 15 points in consecutive matches against Nelson-Bays and Marlborough. In all, Couch contributed 64 to his side’s total, bringing his tally to 205 points in five years of representation.

ifturleyDalziell (No. 8), Spence and Ryan formed the loose forward trio. Ryan still remained a first-class flanker . . . his speed and anticipation was emphasized when he scored two tries against King Country. The reserve flanker, Cole, was in his first season. Ryan appeared in all 10 fixtures along with the 28-year old lock, Turley who showed mobility around the paddock as well as doing his share of work in the line-outs. Turley (pictured – left) played his 100th first class match in the Bruce Steel Cup fixture with Manawatu. A 23-year old newcomer, Pyatt, became the other regular lock and emerged as a most promising line-out exponent.

The former N.Z. Maori prop Rowlands, returned after a season’s absence and his strength and experience (he has now played 83 first class games) was of immense value to the forward pack which he led with aggressiveness in his seven appearances. Dalton, Narbey and Playle were the other props used.

McGlashan played good football as well as being an efficient hooker; in reserve was the experienced campaigner, Falconer. Thirty-one players were called on for the 10 engagements, nine of whom were new to representative Rugby. Over the four-year period of amalgamation, the Wairarapa-Bush Union has now called on 71 different players.

Of the previous season’s leading players not to make an appearance on the Rugby scene were the winger, L.N.Glover, and K.D.Geange (hooker). The full-back, P. F. Giles, had transferred to Horowhenua where he gained representative honours.

No player from this Union was called on by the National Selectors. –

Played, 10; Won, 2;  Drew 1; Lost, 7
Points: For, 137; Against, 273

1. May 15, v. WELLINGTON, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Lost 7 to 57
Scorers: P.J.Ryan, try
R.T.Couch, penalty goal. 
Referee: Mr. R. C. Francis (Wairarapa-Bush)
2. June 3, v. HAWKE’S BAY, at Hastings
Lost 11 to 36
Scorers: B.B.Patrick and L.H.Karatau, tries
N.F.Kjestrup, penalty goal.
3. July 13, v. NEW ZEALAND COLTS, at Memorial Park,Masterton
Lost 10 to 26
Scorers: John McEwen and W.N.Rowlands,tries
N.F.Kjestrup, conversion
Referee: Mr.B.G.Whale (Wairarapa-Bush)
4. August 3, v. NELSON-BAYS, at Nelson
Drew 19 to 19
Scorers: B.B.Patrick, try
R.T.Couch, dropped goal and 4 penalty goals
5. August 10, v. MARLBOROUGH, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Lost 15 to 21
Scorer: R.T.Couch, 5 penalty goals
Referee: Mr.G.Woolley (Marlborough)
6. August 17, v. HOROWHENUA, at Levin
Lost 18 to 27
Scorers: B.H.Herangi, B.B.Patrick and S.J.Spence, tries
R.T.Couch,2 penalty goals.
7. August 24, v. WANGANUI, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Won 16 to 0
Scorers: P.J.Ryan and B.B.Patrick, tries
R.T.Couch,2 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.G.J.Northcott (Wairarapa-Bush)
8. August 31, v. KING COUNTRY, at Te Kuiti
Won 21 to 10
Scorers: P.J.Ryan (2), John McEwen and R.B.Playle, tries
R.T.Couch, penalty goal and conversion.
9. September 7, v. MANAWATU (Bruce Steel Cup), at Rugby Park, Pahiatua
Lost 13 to 48
Scorers: R.E.Robertson, try
R.T.Couch, 3 penalty goals
Referee: Mr.P.J.Harris (Wairarapa-Bush)
10. September 19, v. an AUCKLAND XV., at Rugby Park, Pahiatua
Lost 7 to 29
Scorers: G. K.McGlashan, try
L.H.Karatau,dropped goal
Referee: Mr. B. G. Whale (Wairarapa-Bush)
Wairarapa Bush REPRESENTATIVES 1974 {Total Games}
R.T.Couch Featherston 8
N.F.Kjestrup Gladstone 4
M.E.Cornford Masterton 1
R.T.Pringle Masterton 1
R.E.Robertson Greytown 10
B.B.Patrick Gladstone 10
K.D.O’Donnell Pahiatua 1
B.G.Martin Masterton 8
K.W.Inder Pahiatua 2
M.R.Sanson Masterton 1
John McEwan Masterton 9
A.H.Dewar Pahiatua 6
L.H.Karatau Masterton 9
B.H.Herangi Pioneer 1
David Henson Red Star 1
B.J.McConnochie Masterton 4
M.E.P.Wyeth Masterton 2
I.F.Turley Red Star 10
A.R.Foreman Tiraumea 1
P.J.Ryan Pahiatua 10
W.N.Rowlands Red Star 7
G.K.McGlashan Red Star 9
C.W.Dalton Masterton 5
J.W.Daziell East Coast 9
B.W.J.Clarke Red Star 1
J.W.Cole Greytown 3
D.J.Pyatt Masterton 8
B.W.Narbey Featherston 6
S.J.Spence Red Star 7
G.E.Falconer Carterton 1
R.B.Playle Carterton 2