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Club rugby winning streaks and unbeaten runs

The match in 2016 that ended Old Boys University’s 19-game winning streak, losing 20-23 at Kilbirnie Park. 

In 2016 we ran a story called Club Rugby Winning Streaks – a look at some of the famous winning runs in modern and historical times.

Seven years later, we thought to update this by incorporating some more recent teams that have established a prolonged period of victories – including a contemporary contender for the hall of fame of continuous success unfolding now on the rugby fields of Wellington.

The updated article also emphasises the word ‘unbeaten’ as this team and another on a current tear included below have had a draw to interrupt their winning streak.

Since records began on this website in 2005, there have been three notable unbeaten streaks in the Premier Swindale Shield/Jubilee Cup competition, these being.

  • In 2008 Marist St Pat’s did the Swindale Shield-Jubilee Cup double (the latter shared with Norths), losing their first match of the season to OBU (10-20) but then winning 10 straight in the first round and six straight in the Jubilee Cup for 16 straight victories. Their run was halted with a 22-22 draw with HOBM, but they won their next two matches, drew the final and won their 2009 opener – meaning they didn’t taste defeat in 20 games.
  • Similarly, 2010 Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup champions Northern United won 13 matches in a row in 2010-11. The run of wins was halted in their last match of the first round when Petone held them to a 32-32 draw. Norths had also drawn two matches in the 2010 Jubilee Cup round-robin, meaning they didn’t taste defeat in 19 games.
  • In 2015 and 2016 Old Boys University had 19 consecutive wins. They went all the way in 2015 and won their maiden Jubilee Cup title, returning in 2016 to win their opening 10 matches of the season before being stopped on 21 May of that year by Poneke who beat them 23-20.

Two other notable Premier runs in the modern era have been Oriental-Rongotai and Tawa.

In 2011, Ories won 11 in a row, including nine straight in the Jubilee Cup to win the championship in title in their own right for the first time in over a century. They then won their first two matches in 2012, but their 13-match winning streak was then halted by Tawa.

In 2013 Tawa won everything there was to win, most notably the Swindale Shield – Jubilee Cup double, but along the way they dropped four games. Tawa won their last four matches in 2013 (including the Jubilee Cup final) and went on a winning run in 2014 that lasted eight matches before Petone beat them 31-27 in round nine and ended their 2013-14 streak at 12.

What about historically? Some great winning runs in the past include:

In 1979 Marist St Pat’s every match of the season. In fact this is was in the middle of a winning streak of 41 consecutive matches. It was ended by Petone in the final of the 1980 of the Jubilee Cup.

Petone were dominant for several seasons in the 1970s, winning the title in eight of 10 years. In 1973 they won all 18 matches, scoring 620 points and conceding 106.

Other teams to have dominant eras, but unsubstantiated winning streaks, included Petone between 1904-07, Poneke in the immediate post-World War One era and University between 1952-54.

What about in the ‘lower grades’?

There have been some big winning streaks in the past 10-15 years by U85kg teams such as by the MSP Blues and Tawa Titans teams and more recently by Avalon.

In 2018 and 2019 Avalon won 26 of 27 matches, but their streak was interrupted at 16 matches when they lost 17-13 to the Upper Hutt Rams in the 2018 extra-time Paul Potiki Shield final.

The Ories Vatos are currently in hibernation in 2023 with a long-running winning streak intact in the Premier Reserve grade, being unbeaten in three seasons and retaining their title last July in the final against rivals the Poneke Ruffnuts. Hopefully they can pick up where they left off in the future. They went through the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons undefeated, winning

49 games undefeated
2020, 2021 and 2022

Going back further, the Poneke Dogs of War were unbeaten in 43 straight games between 2005-07. This team had 100 wins from 103 outings between 2003-08 and captured six JC Bowls and five Paul Potiki Shields in the U85kg division.

The Marist St Pat’s Premier 2 team won 24 straight games in 2018 and 2019, before being stopped by Old Boys University.

There are currently two unbeaten runs on the table in Wellington club rugby – although both have been interrupted by draws.

Coming in hot is the Tawa Premier 2 side, currently contesting the Harper Lock Shield. By our count, this team is currently unbeaten in 38 matches.

Tawa’s second XV started winning in 2020, won all 16 matches in 2021, won 15 and drew one in 2022 and have won their first four in 2023.

Their draw (22-22) was the trophy presentation match against Old Boys University at the end of the first round last year.

Tawa – Harper Lock Shield winners 2022.

Another current team to look our for is the Petone Colts, currently on a run of 14 unbeaten matches, although this also includes a 17-17 draw with HOBM early last season, the team they beat to win the final in July. Their last loss was to OBU Green in the 100-minute final in 2021.

OBU Green won 36 in a row between 2012 and early 2015, setting the benchmark in the Colts competition. OBU Green were the WRFU Team of the Year in 2014.

OBU Green 2014.

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