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Wai-Bush marks 50 years

Wai-Bush centurions with their caps, left to right, Jack McGlashan, Neil Kjestrup, Bernie Lett, Mike Foster, Brian Styles. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV


The opening of the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby History Museum, the launch of the Brian Lochore Rugby Trust, and the presentation of caps were highlights of the combined union’s 50th anniversary celebrations over the weekend.

Patron Eric Kenny, left, and Bob Francis cut the Wai-Bush 50th anniversary cake.

The weekend’s festivities got under way on Friday night at the union rooms at Memorial Park, with a mix and mingle. About 70 people were there for the launch of the History Museum and the cutting of the 50th anniversary cake by life member and former international referee Bob Francis, and fellow life member and patron Eric Kenny.

The highlight of Saturday’s night anniversary dinner in the Wairarapa College hall was two capping ceremonies.

The first was to five of the combined union’s centurions – Gary ‘Jack’ McGlashan, Neil Kjestrup, Bernie Lett, Mike Foster, and Brian Styles.

Caps were also presented to the surviving members of the 1981 Wai-Bush team that defied the odds and won promotion to the NPC first division. The team won 10 consecutive games, including three games in seven days, finishing with a gruelling promotion-relegation match against Southland in Invercargill, which they won 10-9 to earn promotion to the top division.

That 1981 side was coached by future World Cup winning All Black coach Sir Brian Lochore, who was also recognised with the launch of a rugby trust named in his honour.

Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive officer Tony Hargood said the trust has been established to provide financial assistance for players, coaches, and referees who receive higher honours and have to take time away from work.

The auction of jerseys, embroidered with Lochore’s All Black number 637, and worn by the 2019 side in recognition of the rugby great, who died in August 2019, raised $12,000 for the trust.

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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