This year has again been busy and productive for the club.
On the field
Our major game this year was the Barbarians fixture against NZ Maori at Eden Park on July 18.
Both teams had not played at Eden Park for many years. Although the foul weather conspired against the game, reducing what should have been a good crowd, both teams turned on a good spectacle which our Barbarian team, captained by Brad Shields, won comfortably 34-17. NZ Maori had not been beaten for a number of years. All the players and the coaches and managers expressed how much they enjoyed the time together and really embraced the Barbarian ethos and spirit. Coaches were Scott McLeod, Paul Feeney and Craig Philpott and manager Angus Gardiner.
Thanks to Mark Moore, Mike Mills and Roger Moore for your work in the background.
The 26th annual primary schools Fun Day in late May was again enjoyed by 40 teams of players, their parents, teachers, coaches and managers and supporters and a large number of member volunteers and helpers.
Thank you to our member Peter Thompson and Barfoot & Thompson for their continued sponsorship of this event and to the RNZ Navy for the use of the Ngataringa Bay facilities. The weather was fine and Ron Williams led a great team of committee members, member volunteers and helpers. Thanks to them, to the Auckland Rugby Union and also to our members, Richard Fry, manager, and Sir John Kirwan, coach, for ensuring the attendance of the Blues. The kids lapped it up.
The third Bay of Plenty Fun Day was again held in Paengaroa for 20 teams. Again, the event was well supported by members and volunteer helpers. A number of the Bay of Plenty Steamers players turned up to make the day special for the kids. Thank you to Ron Williams, Roger Moore, Mark Moore, Ken Parry, Ray Reardon, Kevin Schuler, Bruce Cameron and Don McCaskie and also the Bay of Plenty RFU for its input and support.
These days are true examples of communities working together for the common good.
Secondary school rugby
In September, we were again involved in our secondary school programme.
We supported the NZ Area Schools team, which played against a Harlequins selection team at the Hamilton Old Boys grounds. Those players are from far-flung country areas of New Zealand. They expressed their delight and gratitude to our club for giving them an experience of a lifetime. Although, they went down 7-43, the boys acquitted themselves well. If one looks at where some of our greatest players came from, one can see the value of supporting this team. Sir Colin Meads, Sir Brian Lochore, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Carlos Spencer, to name a few, all came from small-town New Zealand. That’s rugby royalty, isn’t it?
In early September, we again sponsored the Top 4 schools and co-ed schools championship in Rotorua. The tournament culminated in a great final between last year’s joint winners, Scots College of Wellington, and Rotorua Boys’ High, which produced a stirring match highlighted by some wonderful tries. Rotorua proved to be the better team and outlasted its opponents to take out the title.
On September 19, our NZ Barbarians Schools team played NZ Schools in Palmerston North as a warm-up to the NZ Schools tour of Australia. In a very keenly fought match, our Barbarians team led until the last couple of minutes. They were awarded a penalty advantage but continued to play on as they had the momentum. As the referee called advantage over, the ball popped out of the ruck on the blindside. NZ Schools picked it up, broke away and after a couple of passes scored under the bar 70 metres down the field. That tied the scores and the ensuing conversion won it for NZ Schools 20-18.
We were very well represented by the NZ Barbarians Schools team. They built up a tremendous team culture during the week. I had the great privilege of presenting them with their jerseys the night before the game in a very emotional ceremony. The team, well coached by Darren Larsen and Ryan Martin, and managed by Chris Metcalfe, drummed home to the players the Barbarian ethos and culture. They displayed a lot of talent and the players and management expressed their delight at being given this opportunity to play at this level. Instead of just having 24 players and one coaching and management team involved in the NZ Schools team, our sponsorship allows another 24 players and coach and management team to gain this exposure as well. Thank you to NZRU in showing such foresight. The team performed a very stirring haka for me as I left to return home.
All Blacks rugby
What a wonderful culmination to the season with the All Blacks winning RWC 2015.
I had the great pleasure and privilege of being there at Twickenham to witness the World Cup final. The game lived up to all the pre-match hype. To see the way the All Blacks dug deep when the Wallabies came back at them was so satisfying. To witness the last hurrahs of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Tony Woodcock in an All Blacks jersey and to see them go out in that fashion was truly memorable. All great players and great men who have given so much to the All Blacks and rugby in this country.
As I write this report, we have all just heard of the untimely death of one of our members, the great All Blacks icon, Jonah Lomu. Another truly great All Black and a great man gone way too soon. He will be sadly missed.
Off the field
We inducted into the club a number of new members (25, listed elsewhere) and congratulations to them. The club continues to encourage all our members to make use of the wonderful facilities that the club has and to get involved with our activities.
In March, we conducted a Barbarians coaching clinic. Thanks for your organisation and initiative, Terry Horne. Top coaches like Sir ‘Ted’ Henry, Mike Cron, Paul Feeney, Steve Jackson and Scott Pierce contributed mightily to the day.
A middleweight (U85kg) tournament was held at College Rifles in March for the Bryan Craies Cup, which continued our ongoing support for this level of rugby. Thanks Dean Allnutt and Roger Moore for your work behind the scenes.
We had a Barbarians Bowls Day at Mangere East Bowling Club which was enjoyed by all who participated. Thanks to Peter Tubberty and ‘Bear Thomas’ for their organisation. We continue to enter Barbarians teams in the Mt Maunganui rugby bowls tournament held in early February each year.
Noeline Walsh, with the assistance of Laurie Skinner and Justine Barry, organised a ladies lunch at the clubrooms, particularly to acknowledge our widows of past members. It was a lovely day. Thank you, ladies. We intend to continue such events.
We have endeavoured to encourage clubs from the greater Auckland area to come as guests to the clubrooms on a designated night and other groups and trusts have been encouraged to use our facilities as well for worthy causes.
We have spent some time on a review of our club rules.
Thank you particularly to Neil Cullimore and Mike Donovan for their time and effort and to Bernie Allen for his legal expertise. We will organise a Special General Meeting in early 2016 to consider and, hopefully, ratify the new rules, which tidy up a number of areas that required attention.
All of our activity requires a lot of work and support behind the scenes. To our sponsors, Barfoot and Thompson, thank you sincerely for supporting our initiatives, particularly the fun days and the game vs NZ Maori. To the community trusts which have supported our work in the past, notably Four Winds Trust, NZ Community Trust, Infinity Trust and North and South Trust, thank you sincerely.
I would also like to thank the following:
The management committee for their hard work and wisdom, their support and fellowship.
Ken Baguley, our secretary, for taking on the role, after John Cresswell’s retirement. The workload has increased significantly in the past few years and requires a lot of time and effort.
Club captain Mark Moore and treasurer Grant McCurrach, who both carry out their roles effectively.
Campbell Burnes for his work in producing our newsletters and content for our website
Our custodians who offer sound advice in looking after our investments.
Mine host Dean Paddy and his staff, who go way beyond the call of duty to make all our members and visitors so welcome at the club.
The unnamed contributors to the welfare of our club.
In closing, my term has come to an end, so can I say what an honour and a privilege it has been to serve as President of our beloved club. Thank you for placing your faith in me. All the very best to my successor, Ron Williams.
NZ Barbarians RFC