The Temuka Rugby Club was established in 1875 and in 2000 was able to hold a very successful 125th Jubilee. A book entitled “All Black and White” was written in conjunction with this occasion and the information found on this page has generally been sourced from this excellent reference point.
The Temuka RFC has a heritage and spirit stronger than most. This comes from the club’s closely intertwined links with the town and its surrounding districts over more than a century and a quarter. Few who have lived in Temuka for more than a short time would not know someone who has not proudly run onto the historic and picturesque Domain Oval wearing black and white. 125 years of strong performances on the field have been matched by good sound administration off it.
Since the South Canterbury RFU was formed in 1888, Temuka had been represented in all but 10 of the years. Of the 11 players to play more than 100 games for their province, Temuka has produced 5; Richard Sharpe, Peter Grant, Gerard Coughlan, Steve Tarrant and Stephen Todd.
All Blacks & Internationals
Four Temuka players have worn the black jersey and silver fern, a record many larger clubs would be proud of.
[Click the photos to enlarge]
Gus Spillane (1913) – A fast and heady five-eighth from the great Temuka rugby family noted for their instinctive “rugby brain” played two tests against Australia as well as representing South Canterbury from 1908 to 1923 captaining them to victory over Auckland in 1922.
W.A. (Archie) Strang (1930) – A five-eighth who slotted a magnificent drop goal to give the All Blacks a rare win over the Springboks in that country. He also captained South Canterbury against the 1930 British team.
Lachie (Goldie) Grant (1947, 1949, 1951) is justifiably regarded as the best rugby player Temuka ever produced. He was a loose forward with superb lineout skills who played four matches for the NZ Services team and nine for the 2nd NZEF (Kiwis) side, represented the South Island in 1947,1948 & 1951, captained the All Blacks once as well as captaining South Canterbury to its first Ranfurly Shield win in 1950.
Tom Coughlan (1958) – A big, strong, fast flanker with a firm attitude who showed early promise earning an All Black trial at just 19 in 1953. He also played for the New Zealand XV in 1955, The Rest of New Zealand in 1960 and the South Island in 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1960. He represented South Canterbury 76 times between 1952 and 1960.
Tane Norton (1971-77). Although we cannot officially claim Tane Norton as a club All Black, we are justifiably proud of his former and ongoing close relationship with the club. He played in the middle of a strong front row in 1965, 66 and 67 during the ‘golden era’. He played 61 matches for NZ including 27 tests and became the oldest player ever to captain the All Blacks during his final season.
Brendan Laney Scotland (2001), a midfield and utility back was controversially rushed straight into the Scottish national team by the then national coach, Ian McGeechan just two days after he arrived from New Zealand. After the initial controversy died down, however, he became a popular figure with team-mates and fans, through his personality and leadership. Prior to leaving NZ he had represented the NZ U21 team in 1994, Temuka Seniors from 1992-94, South Canterbury, Otago, and the Otago Highlanders in Super 12 rugby. He played for Edinburgh from 2001 – 2005.
The Temuka Rugby Club has also had three players who have worn the silver fern for the Maori All Blacks. They are;
Temuka’s five South Canterbury Centurians
The Temuka Rugby Club also has some more players who dedication to the club was appreciated by all those who played with them, and although not becoming South Canterbury centurions, they all represented Temuka proudly for the province.
|John Mawhinney (Loose Forward)
NZ U17 1982
NZ Secondary Schools & NZ U19 1984
Auckland B 1990
Temuka Seniors 1992-98
South Cant. 1992-98
SI Divisional XV 1996
NZ Combined Services 1992
Temuka Seniors Coach
|John Spillane (Hooker)
Captain of 6 consecutive championship winning teams
South Cant. 1979-80, 83
|Brian McCully (No 8)
17 years & in excess of 300 games
South Cant. 1971-72, 83
|Ray (Mojie) Teahan
Played in a record 10 winning Skinner Cup Championship teams
South Cant. 1976-83
A major factor in the strength and spirit of the Temuka RFC is the powerful family influence within itself. Whether brothers or generations they are many, including Horgans, Scotts, Fishers, Spillanes, Gaffeneys, Grants, Coughlans and Tarrants to name a few.
Five generations of Grants beginning in 1888 have been involved with the club in playing, coaching and administrative roles, with Lachlan achieving the pinnacle of representing his country. Many more of this family achieved representative honours for their province and the newest generations are still playing today.
The Spillane family began their association with Temuka rugby in 1890 and it continues to today, with one member (Gus Spillane) achieving All Black status, but perhaps it was most fitting that Frank Spillane was the club president during the 125th Jubilee celebrations held during 2000.
Frank, Tom and Mick Coughlan gave sterling service to Temuka and South Canterbury while Tom played for the All Blacks as well. In the same tradition, Frank’s sons Tim and Gerard played 9 and 12 years respectively for the Temuka Seniors and Gerard represented his province more than 100 times.
In the early years of the 20th century there were seven Horgans, sometimes with four of them in the same team, while in 1919-20 there were four Fishers in the senior team, descendents of which are still involved in the club today.
The six boys in the Scott family of Winchester contributed greatly to the success of the club in the first decades of last century as players, coaches and four of the brothers also represented the South Island.
The Tarrant family has also provided generations of players, coaches and administrators to the club with four of the family representing their province with Steve playing 129 times. Each year the Mary Tarrant Memorial Cup is awarded to the person contributing most to the Temuka RFC – be it player or administrator.
It is not a coincidence that three of Temuka’s four All Blacks came from just such backgrounds.
During its long history Temuka has provided a number of representatives at various levels of the South Canterbury Rugby Union and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union. All have made strong and valued contributions not only for their club but for rugby in a wider sense.
Temuka contributed to the development of the game in NZ with J T M Hayhurst the President of the NZRFU in 1902 while more recently Pat McKillop has been a member of the NZRFU JAB from 1983-97 and chairman of the NZRFU Southern Zone JAB 1988-200 and obviously having a large role in the development and fostering of our game at a junior level.
Dedication and service has been a forte of many members of the Temuka RFC and it is fitting that many of these people have been awarded Life Membership of our Club.
|1914 – A H Clemens||1959 – Mrs E K Lyall||1976 – J W Scott|
|1914 – D Horgan||1959 – Mrs D Fleming||1979 – R C Walker|
|1920 – Rev Father Kerley||1962 – L J Grant||1983 – G A Brown|
|1934 – J H Anderson||1962 – M M Coffey||1984 – K Surridge|
|1934 – J C Kelland||1962 – W Spillane||1987 – R T Teahan|
|1934 – W McCallum||1965 – J M A Ritchie||1991 – J B Hammond|
|1935 – Mrs C J Taylor||1965 – A P (Gus) Spillane||1991 – L B Parke|
|1935 – Mrs F Beri||1966 – W McCully||1994 – P T Mulvey|
|1935 – A Washington||1966 – A F Gaffeney||1994 – I F Moloney|
|1935 – J K Scott||1971 – J S Lyall||1997 – D P Teahan|
|1935 – G W Armitage||1975 – R M Comer||2000 – A R Laney|
|1947 – W H Palmer||1975 – A M Smith||2007 – F W Spillane|
|1949 – J Fisher||1975 – P F Scott||2019 – R Priddle|
|1954 – R A Lyall||1976 – M F Haughey||2019 – T Clarke|
|2020 – H George||2022 – K Darby||2022 – S Fisher|
Venues & Facilites Down the Years
In the beginning hardy souls came by bicycle or “horsepower” to play, but as the game grew in popularity so too did the need for improved facilities.
The first grandstand was built at the Temuka Domain soon after the turn of the century. A cold shower wasn’t installed until 1929 when a current All Black joined the club. By the early 1960s huge fundraising efforts were made and contributed to the new facilities which were completed in 1965. These comprised of a lounge/hall, modern kitchen, six changing rooms on the upper level, with the shower block, toilets and storage on the basement level.
During the 1980s after the grandstand was declared unsafe, the local councils agreed to plans that would eventually see the completion of a two stage development that would include changing rooms, toilets, gymnasium and sports storage facilities on the ground floor, plus toilets, kitchen, bar, announcer’s room and lounge overlooking the Oval, and an open grandstand. These facilities are proudly used today.