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A Testimonial by Old Boys University for Trapper

  • By Adam Julian

When Old Boys University (OBU) hosts Oriental Rongotai at Rugby League Park this Saturday the Billygoats will be wearing Inglewood-themed jerseys.

Inglewood is a small Taranaki town 16km southeast of New Plymouth, close to Mount Egmont. It’s known for servicing dairy farming and as being the hometown of legendary All Blacks halfback Dave ‘Trapper’ Loveridge.

The Inglewood United Rugby Football Club is a winner. From 1970 to 1989 they won 10 Taranaki championships and Trapper was involved in a few of them.

Since 2005 Trapper has been coaching co-ordinator of OBU, selling his farm, and relocating to Wellington to be closer to his family and to stay involved with rugby.

He has driven the students to lofty heights. OBU has won four Jubilee Cup championships and three Swindale Shield first round titles since 2015. The Colts have dominated their competitions and overall club numbers peaked at 500. Trapper has worked hard to build a largely inclusive and successful culture. He will be officially acknowledged with a black-tie testimonial dinner at the Rydges Hotel on July 8.

“It’s a surprise and a privilege,” Trapper said in a typically understated fashion.

“I’ll enjoy the night for sure but when I think about the club, I could spend two or three hours naming all the great people past and present. The real heroes are those volunteers who spend hours giving up their time to help in all sorts of ways.”

Trapper doesn’t have a university degree but played for Auckland University from 1972 until the end of 1973. The bank he was employed by dispatched him to the City of Sails. In 1986 he played for Harlequins, England who share commonality with what was to become OBU.

“When I arrived at OBU our after-matches were the only thing at the top of the table,” Trapper laughed.

In 2015 OBU beat Marist St Pat’s 30-27 to win their first Jubilee Cup since 1966, a high point for Trapper.

“The social side is very important, but things have settled down a bit in that regard,” Trapper said.

“A strong rugby club is built from the bottom up, built by dedicated, inquisitive coaches. If that lower base is not strong then great players are harder to come by and the overall culture suffers.

“Rugby is not just about winning trophies. It’s about having a positive experience, meeting new people, building contacts, and having fun.

“I’ve played rugby in 17 countries most of which I’d never have been to if it wasn’t for rugby.”

OBU has played Inglewood in home and away fixtures in the past, one of many strong domestic connections. The idea for Inglewood jerseys this weekend came from long-time stalwart Hayden Smith. The jerseys have been made by Kooga and feature the Cambridge Hotel as a sponsor.

Tongan international Tomasi Palu, Bay of Plenty and latterly Manawatu general Luke Campbell, and current Premier captain Kyle Preston have been among three of the best club halfbacks in Wellington. That hardly seems a coincidence with Trapper around.

Nationwide numbers at most rugby clubs are down. Trapper believes factors like more sporting options, busier lifestyles, and Covid are to blame. He believes the game can help itself by working harder to keep the ball in play longer and simplifying the rules. He empathises with referees who are right to prioritise welfare but are sometimes “on a hiding to nothing” with accidental incidents of foul play.

What’s on the dinner menu for July 8?

“You only talking about food,” Trapper quipped.

Trapper is quick with a joke and doesn’t seem like the most natural subject of a black-tie affair. His first All Blacks tour was with the 1978 Grand Slam winners.

“We used to have these posh dinners after games at nice places like the Waldorf Hotel. I remember one dinner where we had to give our names to the doorman who communicated our names back to the MC who announced them as we walked into the hall. One of the guys said my name is ‘strap, jock strap’ and it was announced to the whole room.

“You would be introduced to all these well-to-do people, lords, knights, lawyers, bankers, and politicians – the real “cream of society”. When I was introduced, I told them I was a pig farmer from Inglewood. That was awkward.”

Trapper’s Testimonial Dinner

For more about the dinner visit this page:


Old Boys University Premiers Trophies:

Jubilee Cup (4):  2015, 2017, 2018, 2020

Swindale Shield (3):  2016, 2017, 2021

Hardham Cup (1): 2009

Old Boys University Colts Trophies:

First-round Paris Memorial Trophy (8):  2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021

Championship John E Kelly Cup (8):  2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021


David Steven ‘Trapper’ Loveridge

Born: 22.4.1952, Stratford

Taranaki Games: 135 (29 tries), 1974-1986

All Black Games: 54 (24 tests), 9t, 1978-1985

First Class Games: 222 (41t, 4dg, 176pts), 1973-1986

Did You Know

Loveridge was given his nickname ‘Trapper’ by Ash Gardiner, a prop forward who played 102 games for Taranaki and the third and final test of the 1974 Bledisloe Cup series. Loveridge explains its origins:

“I used to have long air and a moustache. One night I was training with Taranaki and Ash yelled out, ‘Dave you look like you’ve been caught in a rat trapper. I don’t know where he came up with that analogy, but after rat was dropped, trapper stuck.”

A biography Loveridge – Master Halfback, written by Ron Palenski, was published in 1985.

The back cover of Trapper’s biography, published in 1985.

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One thought on “A Testimonial by Old Boys University for Trapper

  1. Dave Loveridge ( Trapper ) is a legend of the game, he’s got many old school highlights that they occasionally show on the screen and it’s great he’s helping down here in Welly in the grass roots of rugby.

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