Taranaki Rugby Football Union
|Union||New Zealand Rugby Union|
|Nickname(s)||The Taranaki Bulls|
|Location||New Plymouth, New Zealand|
|Ground(s)||Yarrow Stadium (Capacity: 25,500)|
|Most caps||Ian Eliason (223)|
|League(s)||Mitre 10 Cup|
The Taranaki Rugby Football Union (known as the Taranaki Bulls for competition reasons) are a New Zealand governing body of rugby union in the New Zealand province of Taranaki. The main stadium is Yarrow Stadium which is located in New Plymouth. The union also represents the Taranaki Bulls, which is professional rugby union team who compete in the Mitre 10 Cup competition and contest for the Ranfurly Shield. Before 2006 the Bulls competed in the National Provincial Championship.
On 25 October 2014 Taranaki won their first ITM Cup, defeating Tasman 36–32 in New Plymouth. This was the first time a team from outside the main population centres had won the premier New Zealand domestic rugby competition since Manawatu in 1980. 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.
On May 31, 1889 the Hawera club convened a meeting in 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 and among others founded and became part of the union. By the turn of the century, Taranaki R.F.U. had produced eleven All Blacks, six of whom toured Great Britain in 1905. Taranaki currently plays in the professional Mitre 10 Cup, which it won in 2014.
- Bell Block Rugby Sports and Community Club
- Clifton Rugby and Sports Club
- Coastal Rugby and Sports Club
- Eltham Kaponga Rugby Football Club
- Inglewood United Rugby Football Club
- Kaitake Rugby Club
- Manaia Rugby Football Club
- New Plymouth High School Old Boys Rugby Football Club
- Okaiawa Rugby Football Club
- Patea Rugby and Sports Club
- Southern Rugby Club
- Spotswood United Rugby Football and Sports Club
- Stratford Rugby and Sports Club
- Toko Rugby Football Club
- Tukapa Rugby and Sports Club
For historical purposes the merged clubs are:
- Spotswood United Rugby Football and Sports Club: Merger of the Star Rugby Football Club and the Spotswood Old Boys Rugby Football Club.
- Coastal Rugby and Sports Club: Merger of the Okato Rugby Football Club, the Rahotu Rugby Football Club and the Opunake Rugby Football Club.
- Eltham Kaponga Rugby Football Club: Merger of the Eltham Rugby Football Club and the Kaponga Rugby Football Club.
- Southern Rugby Club: Merger of the Hawera Rugby Football Club, the Hawera Athletic Rugby Football Club and the Waimate Rugby Football Club.
The schools that participate in these grades are:
- New Plymouth Boys' High School
- Francis Douglas Memorial College
- Stratford High School
- Inglewood High School
- Hawera High School
- Spotswood College
- Waitara High School
- Opunake High School
- Sacred Heart Girls College
- New Plymouth Girls High School
The Taranaki Rugby Referee's Association is affiliated to the T.R.F.U. and provides referees for matches at all levels from high school, to the T.R.F.U. premier competition. The Taranaki Rugby Referee's Association has the backing of sponsor Farmlands.
Each year the TRRA names a Top Five. Top Five after the 2016 season is;
- Cameron Stone
- Richard Kelly
- Will Johnston
- Max O'Leary
- Trent Mischefski
Paul Williams was not considered due to his Super Rugby commitments.
These five referees are involved as assistant referees and substitution controllers at the local Mitre 10 Cup, Super Rugby and international matches at Yarrow Stadium. They are also involved in local development and age-group representative matches as New Zealand Rugby Union have given most of the representative appointments back to the local provinces.
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 cancelled 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 19 April as a curtain raiser to the Hurricanes versus Highlanders Super 12 match. Strathmore were victorious, on this occasion, holding on to defend 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.
The T.R.F.U. has several teams under its control, one of note is the Taranaki Bulls whom compete in New Zealand's national rugby union competition the Mitre 10 Cup. Their top professional team, the Bulls is coached by Colin Cooper and captained by midfielder Charlie Ngatai. Their traditional colors are amber and black hoops with white shorts, with Canterbury of New Zealand being the main manufacturer. They are also sponsored by Port Taranaki.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
- 2014 ITM Cup Premiership Champions
- Ranfurly Shield 24 August 2011 to 3 October 2012 (7 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield 24 August 1996 to 8 September 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 7 September 1963 to 11 September 1965 (15 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield 28 September 1957 to 5 September 1959 (13 defences)
- Ranfurly Shield 16 August 1913 to 10 September 1914 (7 defences)
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.
Notable players (current and former players)
Taranaki All Blacks
Current All Blacks
Former All Blacks
- Harold Abbott – 1905–06
- Lewis Allen – 1896–1901
- Mark Allen – 1993–97
- Alfred Bayly – 1893–97
- Walter Bayly – 1894
- George Beatty – 1950
- Roger Boon – 1960
- Noel Bowden – 1952
- Kevin Briscoe – 1959–64
- James Broadhurst – 2015
- Charlie Brown – 1913–20
- Handley Brown – 1924–26
- Ross Brown – 1955–62
- Peter Burke – 1951–57
- Mick Cain – 1913–14
- Don Cameron – 1908
- Ray Clarke – 1932
- Maurice Cockerill – 1951
- Arthur Collins – 1932–34
- John Colman – 1907–08
- Kieran Crowley – 1983–91
- Bill Currey – 1968
- Henry Dewar – 1913
- Jason Eaton – 2005–06
- Ian Eliason – 1972–73
- Richard Fogarty – 1921
- Ashley Gardiner – 1974
- Francis Glasgow – 1905–08
- William Glenn – 1904–06
- Alan Good – 1893
- Hugh Good – 1894
- Augustine Hart – 1924–25
- Percy Hickey – 1922
- Jarrad Hoeata – 2011
- Andrew Hore – 2002–12
- Daniel Hughes – 1894
- Arthur Humphries – 1897–1903
- James Hunter – 1905–08
- David Johnston – 1925
- Charles Kingstone – 1921
- Alfred Kivell – 1929
- James Lambie – 1893–94
- David Loveridge – 1978–85
- George Loveridge – 1913–14
- John McCullough – 1959
- John McEldowney – 1976–77
- John Major – 1963–67
- Chris Masoe – 2005–06
- Frederick Masters – 1922
- Hugh Mills – 1897
- Graham Mourie – 1976–82
- Brian Muller – 1967–71
- Simon Mynott – 1905–10
- Charlie Ngatai – 2015
- Bernard O'Dowda – 1901
- James O'Sullivan – 1905–07
- Terrence O'Sullivan – 1960–62
- Dick Roberts – 1913–14
- Bryce Robins – 1985
- Roy Roper – 1949–50
- Alistair Scown – 1972–73
- Gordon Slater – 1997–2000
- Alan Smith – 1967–70
- Leonard Stohr – 1910–13
- John Sullivan – 1936–38
- Reginald Taylor – 1913
- Roger Urbahn – 1959–60
- Scott Waldrom – 2008
- John Walter – 1925
- Edward Ward – 1928
- James Watson – 1896
- Murray Watts – 1979–80
- William Wells – 1897
- Alfred West – 1920–25
- Murray Wills – 1967
- Thomas Wolfe – 1961–68
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|
- "Taranaki rugby". New Zealand History. New Zealand History. July 24, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- "2015 Port Taranaki Bulls ITM Cup Squad Announced". Taranaki Rugby. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Mclean, Glen. "Port has Taranaki's back for 2015". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- McLean, Glenn (2 August 2016). "Charlie Ngatai included in Taranaki's NPC squad". Taranaki Daily News – Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 August 2016.