Wednesday, 1 May 2024 - 9:03am

15 years in the making

2 min read

News article photos (2 items)

The 2024 Canterbury Police Cavaliers rugby team.
Sunshine, rain and hail - Mother Nature threw everything she had at the game.

On 26 April, as part of Anzac commemorations, Canterbury Police played Canterbury FENZ (Fire and Emergency NZ) as the curtain raiser to the Crusaders vs Rebels game at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch.

The last official game between the two teams was 15 years ago at Jade Stadium (Lancaster Park) and attempts at a rematch were interrupted by earthquakes and COVID – until now.

The 2024 Canterbury Police Cavaliers team comprised 27 players, the most seen in several years, all turning out for a run on the main field. The team included new constables several weeks out of College through to gracefully aging constables with a quarter of a century's service or more who are still lacing up their boots. 

The game looked like it would be played under the evening sun and was expected to be a dry track, which would be ideal for the Police team, but the heavens opened an hour before kick-off with hail and torrential rain. Although the field was still in pristine condition, the ball was slippery for both teams.

Police vs FENZ rugby 2024.

Police were caught napping early on and FENZ were first on the board with a quick try. Police quickly regrouped and hit back several minutes later with a great team try and a successful conversion.

Police led for much of the first half 7-5. Just before half time, Police team captain Constable Paul Arthurs elected for a penalty kick in front to take us to the break 10-5 up.

Leading the second half, Police secured another hard-fought try while the FENZ team continued to defend strongly for a majority of the half.

The Crusaders Salute to Service Champion trophy.

FENZ dug deep and fought on from an attacking lineout to dot it down and put them within reach of the win with only a few minutes left to play. Police defended fearlessly through the likes of Constable Richard Mo’ale hitting tackles.

Inspector Kerei Gray (who manages and still plays for the team) made a brief cameo at the end to have a hand in both games with a 15-year gap.    

The full-time whistle went with Police winning 17-10 and taking home the Police vs FENZ trophy. Capping off a successful night, Police also won the Canterbury Crusaders Salute to Service Champion trophy, pictured right, which is played between FENZ, Police and Army, taking it off FENZ who previously defeated the Army.

A great night out and hopefully a chance to make it an annual game without waiting 15 years for it to come around again.

Police’s winning ways must have sparked some light in the Crusaders, with them going on to beat the Rebels in great fashion, revitalising their 2024 season.

Match report by Canterbury Police Cavaliers Coach Rowan Wynen.