Manawatu Rugby Football Union Inc
Manawatu Rugby Union, founded in 1886, is one of the oldest provincial rugby organisations in New Zealand. Manawatu Rugby has a long and proud history at club, provincial and international levels of the game.
Manawatu Rugby Union’s strong club competition has long been the breeding ground for many great players with countless All Blacks making their start in the Manawatu. The region experienced a golden era in the 1970s at provincial level where Manawatu were one of the dominant forces in the game. This dominance grew during the early stages of the decade before culminating with Manawatu winning the Ranfurly Shield in 1976.
Manawatu would go on to retain the shield until 1978 in what is considered one of the greatest reigns in the “Log O’ Wood’s” history. The pinnacle of Manawatu’s Golden era came in 1980 when they took out the National Provincial Championship in emphatic fashion.
Following their inaugural NPC triumph Manawatu teams would struggle to live up to the regions strong record. Manawatu, despite producing a number of All Blacks, would slump to the lower levels of provincial rugby for some time.
Eventually the region would return to the top flight through the rebranded Manawatu Turbos and what has been a continued commitment to the development of local players. The Manawatu Turbos have risen to become one of New Zealand’s most recognised rugby brands. The teams focus on the development of local players has seen Aaron Cruden become Manawatu’s first born and bred All Black since 1986. His achievement would be quickly followed by his Manawatu teammate Aaron Smith.
The Manawatu Rugby Union is committed to the development of the local game at all levels and view the development of local talent as key to the success of rugby’s future in the region.