Manawatu vs Counties, 1980

Manawatu vs Counties, 1980

Scene from the clash between Manawatu and Counties at Pukekohe, 24 May 1980. Manawatu won 21-19. Manawatu players D. Clare and T. Sole come to the aid of Jim Carroll (with the ball). Carroll’s father Phonse played for Manawatu and New Zealand in the 1920s. His older brother Joe also played for the province, between 1965 and 1968.

Between 1976 and 1981 Manawatu was one of the strongest teams in New Zealand rugby. They came second in the inaugural competition in 1976 and achieved their breakthrough championship win in 1980 before again finishing as runners-up in 1981. Manawatu also successfully defended the Ranfurly Shield 13 times between 1976 and 1978.

In the early 1980s the side had eight All Blacks in its ranks. 

Manawatu struggled to recapture the success of this era and eventually was relegated to the second division of the NPC. Following the restructuring of New Zealand’s provincial rugby competition in 2006 Manawatu, now marketed as the ‘Turbos’, returned to the top flight of New Zealand rugby, the professional ITM Cup competition.

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