October 12 1981
Waikato finish mini-tour with win
Waikato finished their end of season three match visit to Fiji with a 39 – 22 defeat of Lautoka.
It had been a busy and satisfying 1981 season for Waikato. After winning promotion to the National Championship First Division in 1980 they had maintained their position with five wins in ten championship matches. Starting the season as Ranfurly Shield holders they had withstood six challenges before losing the trophy to a star studded Wellington side in the last match of the domestic season.
The 1981 Waikato season started early, against the Harlequins on March 28, followed by three matches in Australia in May. Though New South Wales had toured in New Zealand as long ago as 1882 it was 1973 before any New Zealand unions played overseas, with North Auckland and Auckland the first to do so. Throughout the 1970s more unions toured, usually to Australia, with Waikato first doing so with three matches (all won) in June 1980.
Being in the First Division and Shield holders as well may have been the spur for Waikato to prepare for a big season with a visit Australia in 1981. The end of season trip to Fiji? A reward for a job well done perhaps.
Results in Fiji.
October 3 v Rewa at Suva. Drawn 10 all. W Coates, B W Smith tries. R A Adam conversion.
October 6 v Nadi at Nadi. Lost 10 – 33. S Putt try, R B Litt dropped goal, R A Adam penalty goal.
October 12 v Lautoka at Lautoka. Won 39 – 22. R A Adam (2), D E Phillips, B W Smith, A W Baker tries. A W Baker dropped goal, R B Litt 2 penalty goals and 5 conversions.