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 2017 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
Acknowledgments to the NZ Rugby Almanack Franchise:
Wairarapa Bush’s fortunes fell dramatically in 2017, from last year’s fourth position with six wins and a Meads Cup semi-final appearance, down to 11th on the table and a solitary win against East Coast who finished below them in last place. Injuries and form did affect the squad with 35 players used, only 16 returning from last year, and the depth was not adequate locally. Lack of fitness may have been an issue as well.
The new coach Joe Harwood discarded a number of the 2016 local regulars in Cameron Hayton, Andrew Smith and Richard Puddy, while elsewhere went Glen Walters (Wellington), Zac Guildford (Waikato) and Andy Humberstone had returned to England. Former Waikato/Counties Manukau.’Thames Valley rep Armyn Sanders was an arrival in. Experienced campaigners Nick Olsen and James Goodger only appeared once due to injuries. Former All Black halfback Piri Weepu was a marquee signing, having returned from France. Although heavier than his All Black days, his experience was invaluable to the young team around him. He missed the final match due to a rib injury and then announced his retirement.
In a mobile forward pack that suffered with size and height in comparison to some other Heartland teams, the loose forwards Brendon Campbell, captain Eddie Cranston, Chris Raymond and Epeli Rayaqayaqa all functioned together quite well. Rayaqayaqa’s play, in particular, was quite outstanding. Lock Sam Gammie only made four appearances but exhibited good hard running in the tight.
Of the backs, 20-year-old wing Soli Malatai looked promising, and Tipene Haira appeared in four different positions. It was a blow- when concussion ended Sam Monaghan’s season early.
In November 2016 the union announced that from 2019 loan players would not be chosen and only local club players and players of origin would be selected for the representative team.
No player was called upon for higher honours.
2017 Fixtures & Results
|12 Aug, 2:30 pm||A||Poverty Bay||Representative Match||31 - 06|
|18 Aug, 7:00 pm||H||Manawatu Development||Representative Match||17 - 33|
|26 Aug, 2:30 pm||A||Wanganui||Heartland Championship||79 - 07|
|02 Sep, 2:30 pm||H||Ngāti Porou East Coast||Heartland Championship||36 - 10|
|09 Sep, 2:30 pm||A||King Country||Heartland Championship||32 - 25|
|16 Sep, 2:30 pm||H||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship||24 - 60|
|23 Sep, 2:30 pm||A||Buller||Heartland Championship||29 - 24|
|01 Oct, 12:10 pm||N||Horowhenua-Kapiti||Heartland Championship||12 - 38|
|07 Oct, 2:30 pm||A||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship||29 - 20|
|14 Oct, 6:00 pm||H||West Coast||Heartland Championship||26 - 36|
|Name||Club||Games for Union||Points for Union|
|Cyrus Baker||College Old Boys 1 &2||16||10|
|Gerard Faitotoa||Northern United 3||4||0|
|Epeli Rayaqayaqa||East Coast||6||25|
|Sosaia Tufui||Petone 3||6||0|
|Piri Weepu||Arrived from overseas 4||8||5|
|1 Player of Origin 2 ManawatuRU 3 Wellington RU 4 Arrived from overseas|