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Friday, October 11, 2019

Horowhenua Chronicle


Rugby reunion to remember the day ’Nua beat Tonga


There was a crowd of 4000 at Levin Domain in 1969 when Horowhenua beat Tonga 22-10.


Back row: J Saulbrey, B Seymour, A Fairbairn, J Read, W Robinson, M Tattle, J Weale, M Gardiner, N Kunaiti. Middle row: S Sciascia (chairman), R Dennison, W Robinson, V Whiley, G Sue, L Wheeler (coach). Sitting: D Radanovich, A Hooper, J Sissons, A Hunt, J Palmer and C James. ■ From Page 1

tour for more than a decade. The Tongan team had arrived in Levin earlier in the week and attended a host of social engagements, including one in the Levin Memorial Hall attended by 500 people where they sang to the crowd, and they visited numerous rest homes and schools. The popular tourists were said to have been warmly received and were “superbly” behaved wherever they went with “flashing smiles”, and were musically talented and not averse to a hearty song. The match itself was said to be a thriller. In its match report, Horowhenua Chronicle said ”...Tonga had to create openings for themselves from positions which were continually being battered by a relentless tackling force”. “Two who were to give memorable displays in this regard were T. Hooper and M Hori Te Pa, with the new recruit buzzing around the field and putting real sting into his efforts.” “And it was woe betide a luckless Tongan player when the

arms of J Saulbrey, M Tattle or V Whiley came around him...T Hunt was another...he drove ahead with real strength, once taking two opponents ahead of him for over 18 yards.” “Hooper and James stirred the crowd and Hori Te Pa the imagination, the latter punching a hole before being buried out by the Tongan goal-line.” “The ball passed through the hands of Weale and back to Hori Te Pa and then Whiley, who crashed in for the try.” Horowhenua was awarded 10 penalties to Tonga’s six. “W Robinson had his kicking boots on. He has every reason to be proud of his personal tally of 13 points, points which coming into the vital stages of game seemed to hammer Tonga’s hopes further and further into the ground.” “Palmer had a go at a drop goal, the forwards drove through and from a loose melee Tonga were penalised. Robinson carefully lined it up and it sailed between the posts.” ”...a tight-head to Horowhenua, they wheeled the scrum, spun away and with sheer force both Tattle and

Halidone drove over the goalline, the try going to Tattle.” With 14 minutes to go Horowhenua was just six points in front of the ever-dangerous Tongans. Saulbrey toed the ball ahead “in a great run that took play upfield some 48 yards”. Prop forward Saulbrey scored a late try in the match, which was disallowed when referee J Reynish said he had “adjusted the ball”. “With time nearly up, Hori Te Pa, Whiley, Tattle and Saulbrey handled the ball to Seymour to gain final transfer and touch down well out.” “The crowd nearly surged the field as Robinson lined up, but the ball just went outside and as if for a signal loud cheers went up as homage for a great game and equally heart-stirring exhibition by Horowhenua.” The after-match function was held at the Oxford Hotel in Levin and organised by the NZRFU who issued the Horowhenua players with one beverage voucher each. Meanwhile, enough players from 1969 to form a team are expected at the reunion this weekend, including coach


Weale and Hori Te Pa pounce on the loose ball for Horowhenua. Lindsay Wheeler. While not all the Horowhenua squad of 1969 were still alive, their deeds would no doubt be remembered through stories at the weekend. At the time, Tonga was just the second fully international team to play Horowhenua in Levin, after a loss to Australia 28-6 in 1962, although there had been numerous fixtures against touring provincial sides at the venue. There were numerous occasions where players formed part of a Manawatū-Horowhenua team that played touring teams like South Africa and British Isles, but those games were held in Palmerston North. The only occasions that Horowhenua had beaten a truly international representative side in Levin in their 127-year history was Tonga

in 1969, and Western Samoa (17-6) in 1976. Scoreboard: Horowhenua: 22 (V. L. Whiley, M. J. Tattle, B. M. Seymour tries; W. F Robinson 3 penalty goals, 2 conversions) v Tonga: 10 The starting teams were: Horowhenua: 1 J Saulbrey. 2 A Hunt. 3 V Whiley (c). 4 K Halidone. 5 M Tattle. 6 M Hori Te Pa. 7 J Weale. 8 M Gardiner. 9 R Dennison. 10 A Palmer. 11 A Hooper. 12 C James. 13 W Robinson. 14 B Seymour. 15 D Radovanovich. 16 J Sisson. 17 K Kerehoma. 18 D Wills. 19 J Flux. Tonga: 1 F Moala. 2 I Lupina. 3 S Mafi. 4 S Selupe. 5 F Mailangi. 6 K Inoke. 7 S Fotu (c). 8 S Selupe. 9 V Fifita. 10 O Eke. 11 H Veatupu. 12 T Kavapalu. 13 M Alatini. 14 K Hafoka. 15 S Sika. 16 U Tai. 17 K Longi. 18 M Filimoehala. 19 V Pahulu.

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