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WEST COAST RFU – 1976

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1976 Season

WEST COAST COLOURS: RED AND WHITE HOOPS
(Founded, 1890; Affiliated, 1893)
Selector: Mr.B.Vieceli
(resigned at the end of July on transfer to Christchurch); replaced by Mr. J. A. L. Wright

After failing to win any of the previous four championship games, the best it could manage being a draw with Mid-Canterbury, West Coast concluded with a smashing win over Nelson-Bays with Seddon Shield also at stake. The team certainly rose to the big occasion and set the seal of success on an otherwise disappointing season.

The big difficulty such Unions as West Coast face is to find forwards tall and heavy enough to meet opponents on equal terms. The Coast forwards tried hard and put everything they had into the game, but so often were out weighted and dwarfed. Front-row forward Dixon captained the side and set a good example in the tight and loose. The hooker was Monk, a young strong forward and expert striker, with new representative Henderson taking over when he was injured. The determined Steffan was the other prop.

Line-out expert Annat was lock in the earlier matches, but the experienced Wynyard and big forward Sinclair locked in the later games. Emphasis was on mobility in the whole pack as a counter to lack of weight and side-rankers, the 22 year-old Sullivan, a speedy tireless loose forward, Rainey, the experienced johns and No.8 Henham formed a group of fast-moving eager forwards.

A bright prospect was the 20 year-old new representative halfback Ogilvie, but injury curtailed his availability and the side was fortunate in having such a knowledgeable and experienced replacement on hand as Johnson – a reliable and tenacious half-back. Gerard Davidson, a new young player of promise, filled the first five-eighth berth, with Beams or Cook outside him. Handicapped by injuries Beams was still a valuable member of the side, whilst the versatile Cook remains a player of possibilities: a class player who could go far in a strong backline – he is still only 22 years old. The 20 year-old Bruce Davidson was a lively centre – a strong runner and deadly tackler.

West Coast were very served on the wings, the pacy pair Teen and Skates appearing in all the eight matches. Given more opportunities both are strong scorers. Nelson met the requirements of the full-back position adequately, also appearing at five-eighth with Beams at full-back. Nelson’s boot brought 40 points to his side, his 13 points in the Seddon Shield match proving decisive.

Altogether 26 players represented West Coast this season, seven of whom were in their first season. No players from this Union were selected for National teams.

1976 Squad

R.F.Nelson (Blaketown)
C.R.Skates (Greymouth Star-United)
P.A.Teen (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
B.G.Davidson (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
G.J.Cook (Greymouth Star-United)
K.J.J.Beams (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
M.G.Davidson (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
A.R,(“Tony”) Williams (Harihari)
M.K.Ogilvie (Hokitika. St.Mary’s White)
B.W.Johnson (Hokitika Excelsior)
D.H.Henham (Blaketown)
J.D.Sullivan (Harihari)
J.A.Fitzgerald (Harihari)
Peter Annat (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
P.J.Rainey (Cobden)
R.F.Dixon (Greymouth Star-United)
B.H.Monk (Greymouth Marist)
D.G.Bryce (Blaketown)
R.G.Johns (Greymouth Star-United)
J.A.Steffan (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
Monty Wynyard (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
M.M.Sinclair (Blaketown)
J.S.Wallace (Hokitika St.Mary’s White)
M.P.Henderson (Greymouth Star United)
Guy Romano (Blaketown)
A.H.Bruhn (Blaketown)

MATCH RECORD

* National 2nd Division match
Played 8 ; Won 2 ; Drew 2 ; Lost 4 ; Points; For 115 ; Against 95

May 17 v EAST COAST at Rugby Park, Greymouth Won 36 to 0
C.R.Skates (3), G.J.Cook (2), K.J.J.Beams and B.G.Davidson, tries
R.F.Nelson, 4 conversions
Referee: Mr.J.Walton (West Coast)

June 12 v NEW ZEALAND JUNIORS at Rugby Park, Greymouth Lost 8 to 20
G.J.Cook and P.A.Teen, tries
Referee: Mr.B.W.Duffy (Taranaki)

* July 24 v MID-CANTERBURY at Cass Square, Hokitika Drew 9 to 9
G.J.Cook, try
R.F.Nelson, penalty goal and conversion
Referee: Mr.P.R.Harpur (King Country)

* July 31 v BULLER at Rugby Park, Greymouth Lost 6 to 16
R.F.Nelson, 2 penalty goals
Referee: Mr.G.Way (Thames Valley)

* August 14 v SOUTH CANTERBURY at Timaru Lost 9 to 15
C.R.Skates, try
R.F.Nelson, penalty goal and conversion

* August 17 v NORTH OTAGO at Oamaru Lost 7 to16
B.G.Davidson, try
R.F.Nelson, penalty goal

* September 4 v NELSON-BAYS (Seddon Shield) at Nelson Won 28 to 7
G.J.Cook (2) and J.A.Steffan, tries
R.F.Nelson and G.J.Cook, dropped goals
R.F.Nelson, 2 penalty goals and 2 conversions

September 15 v NEW ZEALAND SERVICES at Rugby Park, Greymouth Drew 12 to 12
B.G.Davidson, try
G.J.Cook, 2 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.S.McKnight (West Coast)

SECOND DIVISION (Sth Island)
P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
South Canterbury
5
4
1
103
39
8
Buller
5
3
2
64
40
6
Nelson-Bays
5
3
2
72
77
6
Mid-Canterbury
5
2
1
2
50
55
5
West Coast
5
1
1
3
59
63
3
North Otago
5
1
4
41
115
2
In the South Island promotion/relegation match
Southland defeated South Canterbury 24 to 11.

MATCH ABANDONED!

Canterbury were scheduled to meet West Coast on June 20 at Greymouth, but bad weather blocked the Canterbury team at Porter’s Pass. They returned to Christchurch, intending to fly to Hokitika, but plane trouble delayed them until it was too late and the match was abandoned. The irony of the situation was that West Coast was enjoying bright sunshine!

RADIO NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 1976

In its initial year the newly organized inter-union competition created increasing interest as the season progressed. Bay of Plenty finished top of the first division, closely followed by Manawatu, the Ranfurly Shield holders, who however lost to Bay of Plenty in the contest between the two Unions.

Taranaki were unbeaten in the North Island second division, closely followed by Wanganui, and automatically replace North Auckland in the first division for next season. South Canterbury won the South Island section, but were defeated by the bottom South Island union, Southland, in a promotion-relegation play-off and remain in the second division.

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