Click here to watch historical video of Massey rugby from the 1930s (1m 23s) .
Click here to view the 3 Sport news story from TV3.
75 years of mud, sweat and tears
Past and present players of the Massey University Rugby Football Club – the country’s largest – reunited over the Queen’s Birthday weekend for their 75th jubilee celebrations.
The guest speaker at the dinner was Doug Rollerson – one of the MURFC’s longest serving players and the Captain of Varisty A for six years. He played for Manawatu during its most successful era, including its Ranfurly Shield reign, kicking the goal that won the Shield off Auckland in 1976. As an All Black from 1976-1981, Doug played 32 games, including 12 tests both internationally and within New Zealand. He has had an exceptionally successful business career and recently retired after six and a half years as CEO of North Harbour Rugby Union. He is featured in the 3 SPORT news video linked above.
Dr Roger Peren, 78, re-lives his historical kick-off of the Club’s first game in 1929. At the time, the three-year-old Dr Peren was cheered on by his father Sir Geoffrey Peren, the Principal of the Agricultural College from 1928 – 1958. Sir Peren developed the perendale breed of sheep whilst at Massey and attended the All Black’s famous 1905 match against Wales in Cardiff. At the post-match reception Dr Peren says he is delighted the Club has maintained its vigour after 75 years and that his own vigour didn’t let him down when he stepped up to the ball again.
Bad weather pushed spectators off the sidelines and into the shelter of the Rugby Institute to watch Massey’s Varsity A side take a one-point win over the High School Old Boys as part of the Massey University Rugby Football Club’s 75th Jubilee Celebrations. The students led 18-6 at half-time and were in front all the way, scoring a single penalty in the second half.
The vice-chancellor from 1959 – 1983, Sir Alan Stewart’s association with Massey stretches back to 1937 when, as a student, he got straight into the rugby. He played until the advent of war and later coached a successful side in 1953. He says the game was then the ‘only game to play’ and a vital part of student life with a healthy rivalry between clubs. In his day there was only one field, located approximately where the library stands today, and it was a rough pitch. Former All Black Doug Rollerson, guest speaker at the 75th Jubilee Dinner, says the fields are ‘bowling greens’ compared to the rock-strewn paddocks he recalls, fondly, from his Massey Club days.
Jim Keir was a prop from 1953-1955 when he studied dairy farming as a student. The bulk of Club players to attend Jubilee events were from 1950- 1980, a period in which the game, the city and University have seen significant change.
Rugby buddies Earle Sutherland and Rei Apatu played on the same Club team in 1952, as wing and fullback respectively.
Dr Geoff Watson, from the School of History, Philosophy and Politics, has compiled a Jubilee booklet featuring an historical overview of the Club and team photos throughout the years. A brief history follows: The oldest and largest of the Massey Clubs formed was the Football Club. Rugby was considered to be the only form of football in New Zealand in 1929. The club was formed on a permanent basis in 1930 and slowly grew in strength to win the Manawatu senior competition in 1939. Its major problem was a lack of sufficient players to make up two strong teams. The seconds were continually being called upon to provide players for the seniors. The start of the season in early May meant that Massey had to wait until the second term to take advantage of the number of players drawn from the generally older and tougher dairy diploma man.
Regular games against Lincoln began in 1930 and Victoria University College in 1931. The Massey team gained the right to compete in the New Zealand Universities tournament in 1936 and entered a team in the following year. The advent of the war put an end to the club’s activities until 1943 when it was reformed and prepared for a new phrase of development.
The Massey University Rugby Club is now the largest in the country. It is significant in the context of the club, with its inability to field a team in 1928, that there are now literally hundreds of players vying for a place in the Senior A team. The club has developed from the low of the war years through the 50’s and 60’s and the establishment of the social rugby to the development of the women’s game.
Massey University Rugby Football Club’s All Blacks:
Michael (Mike) O’Callaghan 1968
Robert (Bob) Burgess 1971-1973
Kent (KK) Lambert 1972-1977
Doug (Dougie) Rollerson 1976-1981
Lachlan (Lachie) Cameron 1979- 1981
Kevin (Herb) Schuler 1989- 1995
Chresten (Chester) Davis 1996
Mark (Bull) Allen 1993- 1997 (Came to the club in 1997 as an All Black from the Stratford Club)
Those that played for MURFC before becoming All Blacks:
Keith Gudsell 1949
John Hotop 1952-1955
Selwyn (Mick) Bremner 1952 –1956
Keith Bagley (deceased) 1953
John Buxton 1955-1956
Brian Molloy 1957
Wilson Whineray 1959–1965
Kelvin (Kel) Tremain (deceased) 1959- 1968
Brian Finlay (deceased) 1959
Andrew (Andy) Haden 1972-1985
Alasdair (Sandy) McNicol 1973
Richard Myers 1977-1978
Jason Hewett 1991
Lee Stensness 1993-1997
R. Mark Ranby 2001