Canterbury rugby league team

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Canterbury rugby league team
Club information
Full name Canterbury Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) Bulls, Reds
Colours      Red
Founded 1912
Exited 2009
Former details
Coach Andrew Auimatagi
Competition National Competition
Premierships 1975, 1993, 2014
Runners-up 1997, 1998
Bartercard Cup 2000, 2003
Bartercard Premiership 2009
Rugby League Cup 1934–35, 1962, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1980–82, 1985–86, 1990, 1991–92, 1992, 1993–94, 1997, 2007, 2009–2012

The Canterbury rugby league team (also known as the Canterbury Bulls) are a rugby league team who represent the Canterbury Rugby League. They currently compete in the Albert Baskerville Trophy. Their home ground is Rugby League Park in Christchurch.


Early history[edit]

Crfl logo.jpg

Canterbury played its first match on 7 September 1912 against Wellington at the Show Grounds, losing 4–5.[1] The following weekend the hosted the touring New South Wales side and lost 5–28. Included in the Canterbury team was captain Charlie Pearce, Jim Auld, Abbie Shadbolt, Billy Mitchell, Bill Bussell and David McPhail.

Canterbury's first win was in their third match, against Hawke's Bay, with Canterbury winning 10–8 in Napier. Jim Auld and Abbie Shadbolt scored tries and Shadbolt kicked two goals.

Touring teams[edit]

In 1955 Canterbury defeated the touring French side 24–12.[2] They defeated Great Britain 18–10, in 1990.

The 1990s[edit]

The early nineties saw a Canterbury side that included many future stars. The side was coached by Frank Endacott and included players such as Quentin Pongia, Terry Hermansson, Whetu Taewa, Logan Edwards, Brendon Tuuta and Mike Dorreen. With the creation of the Lion Red Cup however, many moved franchises and eventually ended up in Australia or England. Canterbury defeated Auckland in the 1993 final, winning 36–12.[3]

In the Lion Red Cup, from 1994 to 1996, Canterbury Rugby League was represented by the Christchurch City Shiners and the Canterbury Country Cardinals. When this was folded Canterbury reverted to having one representative team, initially called "the Reds". However eventually "the Bulls" was adopted as a nickname and this was used when the Bartercard Cup was formed.

Bartercard Cup[edit]

Between 2000 and 2007 the Bulls played in the now defunct Bartercard Cup. They won two Bartercard Cup trophies, in 2000 and 2003. In addition, they were defeated in the last seconds of the 2004 final. This makes them one of the most successful teams in the competition, alongside the Mt Albert Lions. Out of the seven seasons they only missed the finals once, in 2002.

The Bulls were the only team from the South Island to ever compete in the Bartercard Cup and were the only club to compete in every season. During this time they were coached by Ged Stokes and Phil Prescott.[4][5]

Season Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Position (Teams) Finals
2000 22 15 0 7 658 525 133 30 Second (Twelve) Champions
2001 22 14 1 7 882 489 393 29 Third (Twelve) Defeated in Preliminary Final
2002 16 5 0 11 386 531 −145 10 Tenth (Twelve) N/A
2003 16 13 0 3 648 370 278 26 Minor Premiers (Twelve) Champions
2004 16 9 0 7 562 374 188 18 Fifth (Twelve) Defeated in Elimination Play-off
2005 16 11 0 5 543 388 155 22 Second (Twelve) Runners-up
2006 18 13 0 5 583 376 207 26 Second (Ten) Runners-up
2007 18 12 0 6 659 430 229 24 Third (Ten) Defeated in Preliminary Final

2006 results[edit]

They finished second in the 2006 season standings and defeated the Waitakere Rangers 26–20 in the non-elimination Semi-final. This qualified them for the Qualifying Semi-final which they lost to the Auckland Lions 27–14 at Western Springs Stadium. They bounced back in the preliminary final, smashing the Tamaki Leopards 30–6 but could not defeat the Lions, losing the Grand Final 25–18.

2006 Finals Series Winner Loser
Preliminary Semi-final Canterbury Bulls 26 Waitakere Rangers 20
Qualification Semi-final Auckland Lions 27 Canterbury Bulls 14
Preliminary Final Canterbury Bulls 30 Tamaki Leopards 6
Grand Final Auckland Lions 25 Canterbury Bulls 18

2007 results[edit]

Before the start of the 2007 season legendary coach Philip Prescott retired and was replaced by former New Zealand Kiwis prop Brent Stuart. The Bulls finished the regular season in 3rd place. The highlight of the season was a 72–8 thrashing of the Waicoa Bay Stallions. The Bulls lost the Preliminary Final to Harbour League.

Date Match Winner Loser Venue
25 August Elimination Semi-final Canterbury Bulls 35 Waitakere Rangers 18 Waitemata Stadium
1 September Preliminary Final Harbour League 28 Canterbury Bulls 24 Waitemata Stadium

Bartercard Premiership[edit]

In 2008 and 2009 they played in the Bartercard Premiership where they made both grand finals. They finished minor premiers both years and defeated Auckland in the 2009 final.


In 2010 the team was replaced in national competitions by one represented the new South Island Zone.[6] Canterbury lost the Rugby League Cup to Auckland on Queen's Birthday 2012, after holding it since 2009.

In 2013 the Canterbury Bulls were added to the Albert Baskerville Trophy, replacing the South Island Scorpions. Until 2016 the Bulls represented the entire South Island and were able to select players from the other South Island districts.[7]


  1. ^ Coffey, John. Canterbury XIII, Christchurch, 1987
  2. ^ Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
  3. ^ Smith, Tony (30 May 2009). "Nothing better than bettering Auckland". The Press. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Mamoe makes forward move The Press, 30 June 2001
  5. ^ Brash Bulls to lock horns with Brothers The Press, 14 July 2001
  6. ^ Geoff Longley It's go the South Island, No Bull The Press, 4 June 2010
  7. ^ Canterbury Bulls team to make a comeback The Press, 10 April 2013

External links[edit]