Strength in numbers and spirit

The Te Anau Rugby Club is growing at a similar rate to the lakeside town.

The senior team has again accumulated a squad of 30 players including debutants Shaun Stodart at prop, first five Jacob Gower, second five Sean Beaver, utility forward Nate Corbett, hooker Corey Blackler and centre Martel Anderson.

Te Anau's successful preseason included winning a game against Ohai Nightcaps 39-17 for the Graeme Gaffa Mullally Memorial Cup.

Te Anau is one of seven teams in the division one competition this year. They have won two of their five competition games played and have not been far off the pace in some of their losses.

Te Anau had the bye in round one but had home ground advantage for their first game against Edendale. Te Anau led 15-10 at halftime but the quality Edendale side took their opportunities in the second half to win 37-22. The locals’ best player on the day was fullback Aiden Meskauskas.

The next week it was "Ladies Day" in Te Anau. In perfect weather and ground conditions the locals went down 30-19 to the powerful Wyndham side.

The team were none from three after losing to Pioneer 40-14 in Gore.

During the week before duck-shooting. Te Anau hosted Albion on the Thursday night. Te Anau enjoyed a well-deserved 41-22 win. Player of the day that night was first five Jacob Gower after scoring 21 points.

Veteran playmaker Hisashi Cole was celebrating his 100th game for the green and gold against Albion. His leadership and determination have been invaluable to the team.

Last weekend the Te Anau "Bush Chooks" made the long bus trip down south to beat the defending champions Tokanui 25-20.

This Saturday, Te Anau will host the Riversdale Waikaka Vikings in the last game of the first round. A bonus point win could draw Te Anau level in fourth spot on the competition ladder with the Vikings.

Prop Kane Prentice made his debut for the Southland Stags in 2022 and is back in a player and coaching role again this year for Te Anau and the front row has been further strengthened with the addition of Shaun Stodart.

Head coach Todd Cavanagh has Steve Clegg and Hisashi also helping out with the coaching. Loose forward Grant Taylor is another on-field leader.

The Fiordland College Under 16 team will play against St Peters Under 16 in the curtain-raiser match at 1.15pm on Saturday.

The club has loyal supporters and also fields 10 primary school aged teams. A year 7&8 team competes in a Southland-wide competition, they play Riverton 11.15am. The club’s three Y5&6 teams play against clubs from the northern, central and western sub-unions. Te Anau also has six under-9 tackle and under-7 Rippa teams.

Te Anau Seniors: Kane Prentice, Grant Taylor, Harry McCallum, Hayden Pearce, Jake Houpapa, Jamie Greig, Josh Bolger, Nick Fraser, Riley Stirling, Rusiate Vuruya, Shaun Stodart, Sean Beaver, Tyler Peters, Corey Blackler, Daniel Lord, Daniel Woolhouse, George Conner, Gregor Goble, Jacob Gower, Hisashi Cole, Luke Wairau, Martel Anderson, Raine Collins, Aiden Meskauskas, Fine Mahina, Sly Tamatea, Peter Downs, Brad Foote, Aferti Mau, Nate Corbett. Coach: Todd Cavanagh, Steve Clegg, Kane Prentice and Hisashi. Managers: Jason Meskauskas, Patrick Clegg and Shelly Cavanagh, Trainer; Dave HedgeHog.