Winning teams recollect success

Former Otago Rebels (from left) Adine Wilson, Jo Morrison, Georgie Salter (coach), Anna Stanley...
Former Otago Rebels (from left) Adine Wilson, Jo Morrison, Georgie Salter (coach), Anna Stanley and Belinda Colling pose for a selfie at the 1998 Otago champions function at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Forsyth Barr Stadium was heaving with familiar and wonderfully talented sports people yesterday.

Some of Otago’s most beloved sports heroes were drawn back to the city to celebrate a remarkable 20th anniversary year. The province won two of the most prized sporting titles in 1998.

The Otago Rebels beat the Southern Sting 57-50 in the inaugural final of the Coca-Cola Cup, and the Otago men’s rugby team dispatched Waikato 49-20 in the National Provincial Championship final.

They were heady days.Twenty years later  the feat is still being celebrated. The Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) organised a celebration and festivities were expected to go late into the night.

ORFU president Des Smith managed the 1998 rugby team and said it was marvellous to see so many of the crew back together again.

"I have not seen some of the guys for so long ... and it is just fantastic that so many have made the effort to be here," he said.

Smith said the 1998 season was a blur now but "we had some amazing players".

"Some amazing netball players as well. And the teams, well, let’s just say they used to fraternise.

"Out of that developed some romances. To have four couples here today who actually married is quite special, really."

Those couples were: Adine Wilson (nee Harper) and Jeff Wilson, Anna Stanley (nee Rowberry) and Jeremy Stanley (who actually played for the 1999 Highlanders), Belinda Colling and Charlie Hore, and Tara Blaikie (nee Pate) and John Blaikie.

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