Current Butcher Boys' utility back Craig Clare rates as the most travelled of 22 Wanganui rugby provincial players who have represented four or more New Zealand unions during their first-class careers.
Clare, who had a very restricted 2019 season because of a shoulder injury, has played provincial rugby for Manawatu (42 games in 2003-04-10-12), Otago (17 times in 2005-06), Bay of Plenty (eight games in 2015) and for the Steelform Wanganui Heartland side (28 matches and 267 points since 2016).
He also repped five times for the Highlanders Super team in 2007.
Globe-trotting Clare has extensive overseas experience playing for Viadana (Italy) in 2009-10, Bera Bera (Spain) in 2010-11 and Krasny Yar (Russia) in 2013-14).
Inside back Ernest McDonald, who repped twice for Wanganui in 1903-04, holds the local record of playing first class rugby for six different NZ unions. He also represented Wellington in 1905, Canterbury 1908, Otago 1909, Bush 1910 and Auckland 1914.
Three other Wanganui reps have each appeared for five different NZ unions.
They are former NZ Māori NZ Emerging Players, NZ Colts and South Island front rower Huia Gordon from the 1980s, burly 1956 All Black trialist lock Fyfe McGuigan and 1907 Moawhango Huia inside back Peter (Ginger) Ward.
All Blacks Frank Kilby, Harrison Rowley and Mona Thomson were four-union players who represented Wanganui.
Wanganui reps who have played for four or more New Zealand unions, with local clubs and the number of games they played for the Butcher Boys, include –
Six unions –
Ernest McDonald 1903-14 – Wanganui (Kaierau, Wanganui – 2 1903-04), Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, Bush, Auckland.
Five unions –
Huia Gordon (1980-93) – Mid Canterbury, Wanganui (Ohakune, Wanganui Pirates – 17 1981-86), Manawatu, Wellington, Hawke's Bay. NZ Emerging Players 1985, NZ Colts 1980-81-82, South Island 1985, NZ Māori 1990, Prince of Wales 1985-86-90.
Fyfe McGuigan (1946-56) - Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, King Country,
Auckland, Wanganui (Kaierau, Tech COB – 18 1955-56),
Peter (Ginger) Ward (1897-1907) – Southland, Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Wanganui (Moawhango Huia – 2 1907).
Four unions –
Jock Bryers (1925-31) – Thames Valley, Bay of Plenty, Wanganui (Wanganui Pirates – 3 1946-49), Hawke's Bay.
Craig Clare (2003-2019) – Manawatu, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Wanganui (Ruapehu, Border – 28 2016-19). NZ Heartland 2017-18-19.Highlanders 2007. Played in Italy, Spain and Russia.
Don Gordon (1953-57) – Wanganui (Marton Athletic - 2 1953), Auckland Thames Valley, Hawke's Bay.
Eddie Hekenui (1996-2005) – Wanganui (Marist – 25 1996-97). Otago, Marlborough, Hawke's Bay.
John Jacob (1894-1902) – Wanganui (Fordell – 3 1894). Taranaki, Wellington, Southland.
Frank Kilby (1925-36) – Southland, Wellington, Wanganui (Wanganui Pirates – 6 1929), Taranaki. All Black 1928-32-34 – 18 games.
Francis McGovern (1894-1899) – Wairarapa, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wanganui (Waverley – 1 1899).
John Plank (1926-32) – Poverty Bay, King Country, Wanganui (Wanganui Pirates – 1 1931), Manawhenua.
Seddon Riley (1921-28) – Nelson, King Country, Wanganui (Utiku – 1 1925). Taranaki.
Harrison Rowley (1947-53) – Bush, Wanganui (Hunterville – 29 1948-50), Thames Valley, North Auckland. All Black 1949.
Gordon Sherlock (1942-51) – Nelson, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Wanganui (Bulls – 11 1948-51).
Snowy Svenson (1918-33) – Wanganui (Wanganui OB – 16 – 1918-21), Buller, Wellington, Marlborough. North Island rep 1921.
Mona Thomson (1900-08) – Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Wanganui (Wanganui OB - 4 1904). All Black 1904-08).
Barry Thurston (1952-59) – Wanganui (Utiku OB – 19 1952-56), Nelson, Waikato, King Country.
Les Tilley (1928-34) – Wanganui (Tech COB – 13 1928-30), Manawhenua, King Country, Wairarapa.
Colin Wilson (1940-44) – Wanganui (Wanganui Pirates – 5 , Manawatu, Canterbury, Marlborough).
Dick Wylie (1922-26) – Wellington, Taranaki, Wanganui (Wanganui OB – 2 1923), Hawke's Bay.
Craig Yorston (1989-97) – Poverty Bay, Bay of Plenty, Horowhenua, Wanganui (Kaierau – 9 1997).
Lively referee debates
The recent death of Peter Hankins brings back memories for older Wanganui rugby referees of some lively debates at weekly referee meetings.
Hankins was blowing the whistle in the same era as the late Bill Adlam, the most first grade capped match referee in the Wanganui union.
The pair were both top class referees and engaged in some very interesting meeting debates according to current referee Neville Hopkins.
"Being a lawyer meant Peter was well-versed in rugby law and seldom lost an argument based on the law book. Bill was a very good referee and a total pragmastic who had a distaste for intellectual argument so he and Peter often had vigorous debates on matters of refereeing – debates that left everyone else present well and truly on the sidelines."
Bill, who died in 1987, received 56 NZRU first-class appointments including five Ranfurly Shield fixtures, between 1971 and 1982.
He is "renowned" for two shield games when the "Log" changed hands in favour of Northland who lifted the trophy off Auckland 17-12 at Eden Park in 1971 and upset Manawatu 12-10 on the PN Showgrounds in 1978.
The "extra time" in the Manawatu game created ill feeling that raged on and on with Adlam receiving hate mail including death threats years later from still irate Turbo fanatics.
Manawatu led 10-9 with time up on the clock but play continued until the visitors finally won with a penalty goal around six minutes later. The Wanganui referee claimed both Manawatu touch judges agreed with his timing but the furious Palmerston North crowd saw it differently.
Over the years 10 local referees controlled 19 Ranfurly Shield matches with the trophy changing hands four times – twice under Bill Adlam and once each under F Atkinson (Canterbury 17, Manawhenua 6 at Palmerston North in 1927) and Wilf Broadhead (Wairarapa 3, Canterbury 0 in 1950).
Atkinson refereed six shield games and Adlam five.
Peter Hankins, who died suddenly at the age of 83, was appointed to 13 NZRU first-class fixtures. He was a life member of the WRRA, a former patron of the Wanganui Squash Club and a qualified first class golf referee who officiated at national tournaments.
Wanganui 2020 club rugby is to start on Saturday, July 4.
Because of the Covid-19 lockdown the opening day comes 15 weeks after the original scheduled start to the Tasman Tanning-sponsored season.
Premiers, to have started on March 28 and conclude on July 25, will still have two qualifying rounds but there are only six teams this year, a reduction of two after Pirates and Ratana elected to drop down to the senior grade.
The 12-team senior competition will be played in two pools of six sides – Town and Country – with the top two from each group to contest the championship play-offs.
Last season the top six premier clubs qualified for the championship and the bottom two teams plus top four senior qualifiers played for a new Division 2 title.
Taihape won the premier and senior championships and Ngamatapouri the Division 2 final.
Clubs opted for two regional six-team senior qualifying pools for this year to help save on travelling costs.
On opening day Border premiers will defend the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield at home against Ruapehu and Taihape seniors, holders of the Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield, meet fellow MemoriaLPark based Utiku OB.
The 2020 club finals will be held at Cooks Gardens on September 19 compared with July 25 last winter.
With no Mitre 10 Heartland championship this year the Steelform Wanganui representative team will have a trial fixture before home and away matches against King Country, Wairarapa-Bush and Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Wanganui Tasman Tanning 2020 club draws –
Premier (2.30pm - Home teams mentioned first) –
Round 1 –
July 4 – Kaierau v Taihape, Ngamatapouri v Marist, Border v Ruapehu (Grand Hotel Challenge Shield).
July 11 – Marist v Taihape, Kaierau v Border, Ruapehu v Ngamatapouri.
July 18 – Marist v Ruapehu, Ngamatapouri v Kaierau Taihape v Border.
July 25 – Taihape v Ngamatapouri, Border v Marist, Ruapehu v Kaierau.
August1 – Border v Ngamatapouri, Ruapehu v Taihape, Kaierau v Marist.
Round 2 –
August 8 – Taihape v Kaierau, Marist v Ngamatapouri, Ruapehu v Border.
August 15 – Taihape v Marist, Border v Kaierau, Ngamatapouri v Ruapehu.
August 22 – Kaierau v Ngamatapouri, Border v Taihape, Ruapehu v Marist.
August 29 – Marist v Border, Ngamatapouri v Taihape, Kaierau v Ruapehu.
September 5 – Ngamatapouri v Border. Taihape v Ruapehu, Marist v Kaierau
September 12 - Semi-Finals – I v 4, 2 v 3.
September 19 – Final (at Cooks Gardens)
Senior (Home Teams first) –
Town Group (Pool A) –
Round 1 –
July 4 – Kaierau v Pirates, Counties v Buffalo's, Border v Celtic.
July 11 – Buffalo's v Pirates (Spriggens Park), Kaierau v Border, Celtic v Counties (Racecourse).
July 18 – Buffalo's v Celtic (SP), Counties v Kaierau, Pirates v Border (RC).
July 25 – Pirates v Counties (SP), Border v Buffalo's, Celtic v Kaierau (RC).
August 1 – Border v Counties, Celtic v Pirates, Kaierau v Buffalo's.
Round 2 –
August 8 – Pirates v Kaierau (RC 2), Buffalo's v Counties (RC 1), Celtic v Border (SP).
August 15 – Pirates v Buffalo's, Border v Kaierau, Counties v Celtic.
August 22 – Celtic v Buffalo's, Kaierau v Counties, Border v Pirates.
August 29 – Counties v Pirates, Buffalo's v Border, Kaierau v Celtic.
September 5 – Counties v Border, Pirates v Celtic (venue tbc), Buffalo' v Kaierau (SP).
Country Group (Pool B) –
Round 1 –
July 4 – Taihape v Utiku OB (Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield), Marton v Ratana, Hunterville v Ruapehu.
July 11 – Ratana v Utiku OB, Hunterville v Taihape, Ruapehu v Marton.
July 18 – Ratana v Ruapehu, Taihape v Marton (TP 1), Utiku OB v Hunterville (TP 2).
July 25 – Taihape v Ratana, Marton v Hunterville, Ruapehu v Utiku OB.
August 1 – Hunterville v Ratana, Ruapehu v Taihape, Marton v Utiku OB.
Round 2 –
August 8 – Utiku OB v Taihape, Ratana v Marton, Ruapehu v Hunterville.
August 15 – Utiku OB v Ratana (TP 2), Taiihape v Hunterville (TP 1), Marton v Ruapehu.
August 22 – Ruapehu v Ratana, Marton v Taihape, Hunterville v Utiku OB.
August 29 – Ratana v Taihape, Hunterville v Marton, Utiku OB v Ruapehu.
September 5 – Ratana v Hunterville, Taihape v Ruapehu (TP 1), Utiku OB v Marton (TP 2).
Senior Play-offs –
September 12 (Semi-Finals) – Winners Pool A v Runners-up Pool B, Winners Pool B v Runner up Pool A.
September 19 Final – Cooks Gardens.