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The Wright stuff – father and son make history

Stan Wright Jnr takes on the Poverty Bay defence with father Stan Wright Snr [left] in support. PHOTO/PAUL RICKARD

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Stan Wright and Stan Wright joined rare company on Saturday when they became only the fifth father and son pair to play in the same first-class match in New Zealand.

Wright Snr is the Farriers Wairarapa-Bush scrum coach and was preparing the forward pack for the game against Poverty Bay in Gisborne when substitute prop James Coburn suffered a torn calf muscle.

That left the former Cook Island international and professional player no option but to join his son and fellow prop on the bench — but he had no playing gear with him.

“James got injured in the warmup and we didn’t have anyone to cover Tolu [Fahamokioa]. Someone had a spare mouthguard, and I happened to be the same size boots as James, so I laced up. I’m paying for it today,” Wright Snr said on Monday.

The 43-year-old was unaware of the rarity of taking the field with Wright Jnr, who is in the 2019 Hurricanes Heartland Under-20 side.

“The thought sort of crossed my mind after I got changed but I never really thought about it before then. It was just lucky that I was there because we didn’t have any more cover.”

The Wrights follow in the footsteps of King Country father and son Aarin and Cruise Dunster, who formed the second row in the Rams’ Heartland Championship match against North Otago in 2021.

The previous time was when Ron and Kahu Tamatea played three games together for Poverty Bay in 2000. All Blacks Joe and Jeremy Stanley took the field for the NZ Barbarians against the Australian Barbarians, while in 1950, George Nepia Snr and George Nepia Jnr were opposing captains in a game between Olympians and Poverty Bay.

Wright Snr isn’t ruling out taking the field during the campaign, with many club players having not played since the end of the club season in July.

“I would like to say never, but you just never know. One game we might have two injuries, and it’s hard to call someone in off the cuff because a lot of boys have sort of stopped and haven’t done anything unless they’re playing for the Barbarians,” he said.

Even if he doesn’t lace up the boots again, Wright senior is pleased with his progress as scrum coach.

“We’re definitely improving every week, and I think we’re there or thereabouts. It’s just about being consistent. Our set piece from the start of the year till now it’s improved heaps, and for a smaller pack in the competition we punch well above our weight.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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