Taranaki Rugby Football Union
|Nickname(s)||Amber and Blacks|
|Ground(s)||Yarrow Stadium (Capacity: 25,000)|
|6th Premiership (2013)|
Taranaki Rugby Football Union (TRFU) is the governing body of Rugby in the New Zealand province of Taranaki. The main stadium is Taranaki Stadium which is in the main centre of New Plymouth. Taranaki plays in the annual ITM Cup in which it also competes for the Ranfurly shield. Before 2006 the team competed in the National Provincial Championship (NPC), with its best finishes coming in 1998 and 2000 when they came fourth over all, both times being knocked out in the semifinals. In 2011 they placed 3rd in the ITM Cup, their best placing since the national championship began in 1976. Taranaki has won the NPC second division more than any other Union in New Zealand, a record that the club will keep now the NPC is defunct. Taranaki also plays for the Ryan Wheeler memorial trophy, a trophy played for annually with the Waikato Rugby Union.
- 1 History
- 2 Match Centurions
- 3 Major Sponsors
- 4 Jersey
- 5 Honours
- 6 The Amber Army
- 7 Club Rugby
- 8 Current squad
- 9 Awards (Amber & Black Awards)
- 10 Notable players (current and former players)
- 11 Taranaki All Blacks
- 12 All Black captains
- 13 The Dean Cup
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The justification for marking the year 1885 as the Formation of the Taranaki Rugby Union is based not on the fact that the Union itself was created then, but because 1885 marked the first occasion on which Taranaki placed a touring team in the field, the Union was not actually established until 1889.
On 31 May 1898 the Hawera club convened a meeting at Hawera, of delegates from the Hawera, Waimate (Manaia), New Plymouth, Okaiawa, and Eltham clubs. This meeting agreed to form the Taranaki union. During the year Stratford and Midhirst clubs united as Manganui club, Tikorangi and Waitara clubs combined as Clifton club, and Inglewood and New Plymouth Star clubs were (among others) founded and became part of the union. By the turn of the century, Taranaki RFU had produced 11 All Blacks, six of whom toured Great Britain in 1905. In 1956 they held the South African tourists to a 3-3 draw.
Across Taranaki rugby history 32 players have now played 100 or more matches for the Taranaki union.
The 32 players and the details are:
|M. Allen||1988–96||110||I. Flavell||1956–65||105||R. Fraser||1973–82||107|
|K. Barrett||1986–99||167||A. Gardiner||1966–75||102||K. Hurley||1959–71||120|
|R. Brown||1953–68||144||D. Loveridge||1974–86||135||I. MacDonald||1956–66||121|
|W. Bunn||1979–89||109||S. McDonald||1991–98, 2000||116||J. McEldowney||1967, 1969–80||125|
|P. Burke||1948–59||117||P. Martin||1967, 1970–79||125||G. Mourie||1975–82||104|
|C. Cooper||1979–87||100||D. Murfitt||1984–85 1987–93||106||F. O’Carroll||1973–83||128|
|K. Crowley||1980–94||200||T. O’Sullivan||1955–59 1961–66||104||B. Robins||1980–92||147|
|I. Eliason||1964–81||223||A. Slater||1989–2001||180||G. Slater||1991–95 1997–2005||176|
|R. Elmes||1980–82 1984–89||103||L. Thomson||1983–85 1987–91||104||J. Thwaites||1969–81||120|
|K. Eynon||1991–95 1999–2000||103||P. Tito||1998–2006||100||M. Watts||1978–85||123|
|M. Wills||1962–72||131||T. Penn||1999–2009||103|
- The primary source for this table is the official Taranaki web-site. It is worth noting that the basis of these figures is matches recognised by the Taranaki Union and not its parent body the NZ union. Two players have significant differences between the NZ union recognised figures and the Taranaki figures. Firstly, Ian Eliason's NZRFU recognised figure is 222 which gives him a share of the NZ record of most matches for a union while the Taranki figure includes a non-first class match which takes the figure to 223 which would give him the record outright. Kieran Crowley played in that same non-first class match and thus the NZRFU recognise just 199 of his matches as being first class.
The Major Sponsors for the Taranaki Rugby Team are:
- Port Taranaki
Amber and Black hoops with white shorts. Jerseys are made by Canterbury.
- Ranfurly Shield August 24, 2011 to October 3, 2012 (7 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield August 24, 1996 to September 8, 1996 (1 defence)
- 1995 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1992 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1985 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1984 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1983 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1982 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- 1976 National Provincial Championship Second Division Champions
- Ranfurly Shield September 7, 1963 to September 11, 1965 (15 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield September 28, 1957 to September 5, 1959 (13 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield August 16, 1913 to September 10, 1914 (7 defences)
The Amber Army
The Amber Army is a chanting group formed in 2011, the year Taranaki won and defended the Ranfurly Shield. The Amber Army's motivation is to bring fans to the Northern Hill and chant the Amber and Blacks' to victory. TRFU have one mascot represented in two forms. Ferdinand the Bull is a mechanical bull that is driven around the stadium at home games. "Ferdie" is dressed in a giant Taranaki kit and can be entered through the side. Ferdinand is also represented with a costume.
Taranaki senior grade club rugby has a number of different divisions, with Senior A, Development (B), Senior 3rds and Under 20. The Senior A and Development competitions involve a seeded first round competition and a round-robin second round with both teams playing at the same venue. The Senior 3rd and U20 competitions are organised differently with the two grades each splitting late in the season. The top 5 teams in Senior 3rds compete for the Senior 3rd title, with the balance competing for the Senior 4ths title. The top 6 teams in U20 compete for their title with the balance competing in a subsidiary competition.
Club finals day sees all 6 titles decided at Yarrow Stadium, along with the U13 title. The clubs also organise junior teams for age groups from Under 6 to Under 13 competing in the Ferdie Rugby competitions.
A number of amalgamations have taken place in recent years and created merged clubs at Senior levels though some of these clubs have retained teams in lower grades under their own identities. Also New Plymouth Boys' High School and Francis Douglas Memorial College supply teams that compete in the U20 competition. FDMC's 1st XV and NPBHS' 2nd XV compete in this grade. NPBHS's 1st XV formerly competed in this grade as well but in recent years have chosen to focus on their college fixtures.
Current clubs and 2013 teams are (2013 teams listed - champions in Bold):
- Bell Block RFC - Senior 3rds
- Border RFC - Senior 3rds
- Clifton RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- Coastal RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- Eltham/Kaponga RFC - Senior B, Senior 3rds
- Kaitake RFC - No 2013 teams
- Inglewood RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- New Plymouth Old Boys RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- Okaiawa RFC - Senior 3rds
- Spotswood United RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds
- Southern RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- Stratford RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Colts Under 21's
- Toko RFC - Senior 3rds
- Tukapa RFC - Senior A, Senior B, Senior 3rds, Colts Under 21's
- Whangamomona RFC - No 2013 teams
- Francis Douglas Memorial College - Colts Under 21's
- New Plymouth Boys' High School - Colts Under 21's
For historical purposes the merged clubs are:
- Spotswood United RFC - Merger of the Spotswood College Old Boys and Star clubs
- Coastal RFC - Merger of the Okato, Rahotu and Opunake clubs
- Eltham/Kaponga RFC - Merger of the Eltham and Kaponga clubs
- Southern RFC - Merger of the Hawera, Hawera Athletic and Waimate clubs
- Border RFC - Merger of the Patea and Waverley clubs
Rugby at Secondary school level is organised by the TRFU via the Taranaki Secondary Schools Sports Association. The competition grades are Premier 1, Premier 2, Premier 3, U15 across 4 divisions (also open to players U16 and under 65 kg) and Girls The schools that participate in these grades are:
- New Plymouth Boys' High School
- Francis Douglas Memorial College
- Stratford High School (as 'Central')
- Inglewood High School
- Hawera High School
- Spotswood College
- Waitara High School
- Opunake High School (as 'Coastal')
- Sacred Heart Girls College
- New Plymouth Girls High School
Central includes players from the Eltham and Kaponga areas that may no longer attend school but are eligible to play due to their age. It also includes players who travel through to either NPBHS, FDMC or Hawera HS for their schooling but wish to continue playing for the area. Coastal is an amalgamation of the two schools in the area and operates in the same manner.
Referee's play a major part in all rugby. The Taranaki Rugby Referee's Association (TRRA) is affiliated to the TRFU and provides referees for matches at all levels from high school, to the TRFU Senior A competition. The TRRA's major sponsor is Farmlands, which came on board at the beginning of 2012. The Referee's Association has a brilliant support group from active and non-active referees to referee coaches and executive members and hold weekly meetings and training sessions during the season. The TRRA annually names a Top 5 panel based on performances at the conclusion of the senior club season.
Top 5 for 2013
- 1) Cameron Stone (NZRU National Development Squad)
- 2) Paul Williams (NZRU National Development Squad)
- 3) Bruce Jordan
- 4) Neville Ritson
- 5) Max O’Leary
NB: National Squad member and Taranaki referee Richard Kelly wasn’t considered for the 2013 Top 5 due to his limited appearances in the club rugby scene due to representative commitments. He is however Taranaki’s highest ranked representative referee. Kelly spent 6 months refereeing in Georgia at the beginning of 2013 and will referee in this year’s ITM Cup competition. Last year he was the Assistant Referee 1 in the Championship Final between Counties Manukau and Otago.
These top 5 referees are involved in Assistant Refereeing and other appointments for Taranaki's home ITM matches, and Super Rugby and Internationals matches where required along with other premier referees.
- Paul Williams, Bruce Jordan and Max O’Leary are new members to the 2013 Top 5. In William’s second year of premier club rugby, he will referee in this year’s Heartland competition as a member of the NZRU National Development Squad along with Cam Stone who is in his fourth year who has jumped to the number one spot after being fourth in 2012. O’Leary has had representative experience as he was selected in the Hurricanes Development Squad in 2009. Ritson remains in the Top 5.
- After moving back to New Plymouth after 2 and a half years in Christchurch, William Johnston (22) was re-selected in the Hurricanes Regional Squad for 2013 after been selected in the same squad in 2008 and 2009. The 2013 season was his first year in premier rugby and is the youngest in the 7 man premier panel. He refereed representative matches throughout the North Island during the 2013 representative season including his third Hurricanes U16 final in Ruatoria, the Hurricanes Co-Ed final in Palmerston North and Hurricanes U21 final in Wanganui.
First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)
Player Movements 2012
- Chris King (from Southland)
- Mitchell Brown (from New Plymouth Boys' High School)
- Berny Hall (from Canterbury)
- Nemia Soqeta (from Toyota Shokki)
- Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (from Inglewood RFC)
- Adrian Wyrill (from Tukapa RFC)
- Jamison Gibson-Park (from Gisborne Boys' High School)
- Chris Smylie (from North Harbour)
- James Marshall (from Tasman)
- Seta Tamanivalu (from Spotswood United RFC)
- Scott Ireland
- Ben Souness
- Tyson Keats (to Aironi)
- George Pisi (to Northampton Saints)
- Mahonri Schwalger (to Counties Manukau)
- Samuela Vunisa (to Calvisano)
- Craig Clarke (to Connacht)
- Frazier Climo (to Scarlets)
Awards (Amber & Black Awards)
2012 Amber & Black Awards.
- Player of the Year: Michael Bent
- Try of the Year: Jackson Ormond
- Sportsman of the Year: Michael Bent
- Top Points Scorer: Frazier Climo
- Top Try Scorer: Kurt Baker
- Most Promising Player: Jamison Gibson-Park
- Back of the Year: James Marshall
- Forward of the Year: Blade Thomson
- Taranaki Daily News readers' choice MVP: Beauden Barrett
- Personality of the Year: Kurt Baker
Notable players (current and former players)
- Paul Tito
- Mark Allen
- Kieran Crowley
- Jarrad Hoeata
- Gordon Slater
- Chris Masoe
- Paul Perez
- Jayden Hayward
- Scott Waldrom
Taranaki All Blacks
Current All Blacks
Former All Blacks
|Harold Abbott - 1905–06
Lewis Allen - 1896–1901
|Ashley Gardiner - 1974
Francis Glasgow - 1905–08
|Graham Mourie - 1976–82
Brian Muller - 1967–71
All Black captains
Reuben Thorne is the fourth old boy from New Plymouth Boys' High School to captain the All Blacks in a test match. Just one school, Southland Boys High School has produced more - with six.
New Plymouth’s four have been:
|Alan Reid||1957||2 Tests|
|John Graham||1964||3 Tests|
|Graham Mourie||1977–82||19 Tests|
|Reuben Thorne||2001||22 Tests|
The Dean Cup
The Dean Cup is believed to be the oldest competition trophy still being played for in the sport of Rugby Union. Played for between three rural Taranaki clubs, Strathmore, Whangamomona and Toko, it was originally presented by Mrs Athalinda Dean in 1906 for a cricket match, however due to poor playing conditions this was canceled and a rugby match began the tradition in 1907.
In 2003 when Whangamomona challenged Strathmore for the cup and the game was played at Yarrow Stadium on April 19 as a curtain raiser to the Hurricanes Vs Highlanders Super 12 match. Strathmore were victorious, on this occasion, holding on to defended the cup and winning 17-16 in front of a capacity crowd. This is the first time that the Dean Cup has been played for outside of the Eastern Districts.
- Rilkoff, Matt (2 July 2011). "Andy aims for Amber Army". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Taranaki selectors opt for youthful NPC squad". Taranaki Rugby. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.