While Tasman Tanning Premier rugby was pulled from the weekend lineup so the WRFU can reformat the draw without Utiku Old Boys, the Senior competition kicked off on Saturday and has already provided a changing of the guard.

Speirs Food Marton went through 2017 undefeated and claimed all the trophies, including being named the region's No1 sporting club at the 2017 Ray White Whanganui Sports Awards.

However, Marton's offseason has seen players depart as the club did not rejoin Premier as originally planned, and on Saturday they lost the Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield to Border, who spent 2017 in the bottom half of the table.

Border won 15-13 to take the Shield off Marton at home, and will now defend it against Black Bull Liquor Pirates in Waverley this weekend.


Pirates got their campaign off to a good start with a 39-5 win against Marist Buffalo's in the derby game at Spriggens Park.

Having Memorial Park to themselves with no Premier games, last year's two beaten championship semifinalists Marist Celtic and Taihape played out a close match, with Celtic coming from 12 points behind at halftime to win 24-17.

The 2017 championship runnersup Kelso Hunterville moved straight to the top of the table after their big 54-10 win over the 2017 consolation trophy winners Ruapehu.

Counties is the other team to make the Top 4 courtesy of a four-try bonus point after beating Kaierau 29-0 at McNab Domain.

Results, March 17

Tasman Tanning Senior, Round 1.

At Spriggens Park: Black Bull Liquor Pirates bt Marist Buffalo's 39-5. HT: 15-5.

At McNab Domain: Counties bt Kaierau 29-0. HT: 15-0.

At Marton Park (Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield): Border bt Speirs Food Marton 15-13. HT: 3-0.

At Ohakune: Kelso Hunterville bt Ruapehu 52-10. HT: 24-0.

At Taihape: Marist Celtic bt Taihape 24-17. HT: 17-5 Taihape.