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In memory of two legends

Sir Brian Lochore [right] and Sir Colin Meads attending the 2016 Lochore Cup final in Te Kuiti. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES


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The contributions of the late Sir Brian Lochore and Sir Colin Meads to their respective provincial unions will be recognised with the debut of a new trophy at Trust House Memorial Park today.

The winners of the Wairarapa-Bush and King Country match there, will be handed the Lochore-Meads Memorial Scroll.

The scroll was designed by Meads’ son, Glynn, who like his father was a centurion for King Country, playing 113 games.

Meads said he wanted to make the memorial something a bit different and the idea came from a First XV game between two schools who have been competing for a scroll for almost 100 hundred years.

“King Country and Wairarapa, and Heartland rugby played a big part in Brian and dad’s lives and they were close friends.

“Whenever the two unions played each other, there was a close bond, and for our family to have that, it does mean a lot. The memory and the camaraderie between the two unions will live on,” Meads said.

Meads and his youngest sister Sally will attend today’s inaugural game, along with Sir Brian’s widow Lady Pam Lochore, who was thrilled with the recognition.

“I think it’s a lovely idea, particularly because they both came from similar sort of backgrounds and were members of the teams for many years and they remained heartland people the whole of their lives, and it’s a really nice to acknowledge them,” she said.

Before the 5pm kickoff, the scroll will be presented to the two captains Kirk Tufuga [Wai-Bush] and Carl Carmichael [King Country] followed by a moment of remembrance and a haka.

Wai-Bush coach Joe Harwood said it would be a special moment.

“It’s not just what they did for Wairarapa and King Country, but what they did for Heartland rugby. The reason we still have a Heartland competition is those two driving it,” he said.

“We were fortunate to have Sir BJ come into our changing rooms a lot of the times when we were playing, and he would always give up his time to come and talk to the boys. We’re forever grateful for what he did locally, and it puts a little bit more emphasis on the game.”

The Wai-Bush backline for the game has a makeshift look, with injuries ruling out Teihana Brown, Nathan Hunt, Tristan Flutey, Tafa Tafa, and Raniera Petersen.

Sam Morison [centre] will make his Wai-Bush debut at fullback. PHOTO/FILE
That will have Carterton first-five Sam Morison make his first-class debut, but in the unaccustomed role at fullback.

“We know he’s a 10 but he can cover 15, and we back him with confidence to get in there and have a crack.

“We’ve had to push Tipi [Tipene Haira] out to midfield, which he has done in the past and he had to last week for half the game,” said Harwood.

“We have three in our backline who are really first-fives, so we’re just going to have to work really hard.”

Hard-charging Marist centre Leo Eneliko has been called in as cover and will take his place on the bench.

In the pack, Eketahuna’s Tom McKay will make his representative debut replacing the injured Joe Beech at lock, and Lewis Bush will start at prop in place of the injured Chris Hemi.

Harwood was uncertain what to expect from King Country, who are coached by ex-Ireland international Isaac Boss, but expected it would be “two steps up” from last Saturday’s 41-8 romp against Horowhenua-Kapiti.

“I know going off last year they had big midfielders who like to carry hard and they are big and rugged up front, and we need to be a lot better.

“One area we’ve knuckled down on this week has been our defensive push and working on our systems and making sure we’re getting up off the line because they have a couple of big midfielders and some tricks out wide and we need to sharpen up in that space.”

Meanwhile, Harwood was thrilled for 2019 Wairarapa-Bush hooker-flanker Bruce Kauika-Petersen, who made his debut for Wellington in their Mitre 10 Cup clash with Bay of Plenty at Sky Stadium last night.

The ex-Wairarapa College student played nine games as a player of origin for the green and reds in reaching the Meads Cup semifinals in the 2019 Heartland Championship.

“Bruce is a special character, and it’s well deserved. We know he’s got the potential, and he was a standout for us last year and was the player of the year, and we’ll send out a big
shout to him.”

Wairarapa-Bush team to play King Country at Memorial Park today

Sam Morison, Soli Malatai, Tipene Haira, Nikora Ewe, Inia Katia, Nick Birchfield, Cameron Ravenwood, Kirk Tufuga [captain], Johan van Vliet, Joe Tako, Peter Beech, Tom McKay, Lewis Bush, James Pakoti, Max Tufuga.

Reserves: Sam Siaosi, Tupou Leaaemanu, Sam Gammie, Tavita Isaac, Himiona Haira, Lee Thompson, Leo Eneliko.

Kick-off: 5pm


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