Wairarapa-Bush and King Country will play for a new cup. Photo shows Kirk Tufuga, centre, in action against King Country last year. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

A new cup to celebrate All Blacks greats Sir Brian Lochore and Sir Colin Meads will be the highlight of a shortened representative season for Wairarapa-Bush.

The game between Wai-Bush and King Country will be played in Masterton on September 26 to commemorate the significant contributions of Lochore and Meads to their provinces and Heartland Rugby.

The pair are already recognised through the Heartland Championship with the Meads Cup awarded to the top team in the championship, and the Lochore Cup presented to the winners of the playoffs for the fifth to eighth ranked sides.

Wai-Bush will also play four other representative games against other Heartland provinces in the abbreviated representative season.

Wairarapa Bush are also the holders of the Bruce Steele Cup, and this will go on the line in a three-way challenge with Horowhenua Kapiti and Wanganui.

They will meet Horowhenua-Kapiti twice, first in a testimonial match in Otaki for former Hurricane Sam Doyle, who is battling leukaemia, and then at home in the Bruce Steele Cup match.

Wai-Bush will also play Poverty Bay in Napier for the Jeremy David Cup, previously played as a preseason fixture.

Wai-Bush chief executive office Tony Hargood said all unions had agreed that only club players would be eligible for selection in 2020 and home referees would officiate in these representative games.

“2020 will be all about looking towards the future and provide several up and coming players with an opportunity to show their talents at the highest level,” he said.

A Wai-Bush women’s team will play in the curtain-raiser game against Wanganui on October 17.

Wairarapa-Bush 2020 representative programme:

September 5 – v Horowhenua-Kapiti at Otaki; September 26 – v King Country [Masterton]; October 3 – v Poverty Bay [Napier]; October 10 – v Horowhenua-Kapiti [Masterton]; October 17 – v Wanganui [Whanganui].

Women: October 17 – v Wanganui [Whanganui]