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Collegiate Rugby Club celebrated their 50 years in 1976. One of the youngest clubs in Invercargill, nine ex students of Southland Technical College had a meeting and decided to start a new club.
A committee was formed and the subscription was set at three pounds. Friendly games were organised for the first year and the club colours were to be gold and maroon.
The club grew quickly and had their first competition success when the fourth grade A team won the competition with only one loss and nine wins.
The captain of that team was Mr L. G. Whittington.
In 1938 Mr A. Cartwright began a 20 year association with the club.
The next two years teams were entered in the second, third, fourth and fifth grades.
Walter Weeds was selected for the Southland junior team.
It was not until 1944 that the club gained senior status, which involved a two year battle to earn the right.
Wattie Muir was the first senior captain and Jack Smith was vice-captain.
In 1945 three members made the Southland team and they were; Ray Grenfell, Bill Thornton and Gordon Watson.
The early 1950's was when the Club really shone. Len Wilson the first five eight became an All Black and was named to tour Australia along with two other Southlanders' Bill McCaw and Eddie Robinson.
It was in 1953 when saw their proudest moment in history by winning the Galbraith Shield.
The team was coached by Ian Montgomery and two team members, Len Wilson and Ian Nuttal played in the All Black trials.
These two along with Geoff Ronald played in the Southland team that year.
The shield success came at the right time for their 21st Jubilee.
A major blow came to the club in 1960 when a fire destroyed their clubrooms but this did not deter them and it was Jack Hegan and Perry Adank led the rebuilding and the new clubrooms were opened in 1962.
It was again in 1965 that they lifted the shield under the coach of Alex Gray and the captain of Denis Gilroy.
Alex Gray had been a member of the 1953 team and was a Southland representative.
Success had eluded the senior team since, but the U 20 team finished first equal with Southland Boys High School in 1979.
The club could also be proud of their administration success with R.G. Webb, E. Little, A. Cartwright, J. W. Smith, P. A. Tait and Wattie Muir all contributing.
Reference: Fifty Years Of Collegiate Rugby. The Southland Times June 1976.
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