Issue 4 : 29 April 2018

Talofa Lava, Kia Orana, Malo E Leilei, Tena Koutou, Hello ...

... and welcome to the latest issue of “For The Love Of The Game”, the official e-zine of the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. We hope you enjoy reading the articles below. 

If you have any feedback on this issue, ideas for future articles, or would like to contact the Editor, please click here. And, you are invited to forward the e-zine to others you know, who may be interested in reading it.

If you are interested in applying for membership of the Association, please click here.

Annual General Meeting Celebrates Successful Inaugural Year ...

At the Association’s AGM held on Monday, 23 April, the President (Andy Leslie) congratulated all those involved in furthering the Association’s goals in its inaugural year. The Chairman (Gordon Noble-Campbell) in presenting the Association’s Annual Report, noted that an organisation to represent the interests of amateur sportspeople has played an important role in New Zealand society, throughout our sporting history. If you would like to receive a copy of the Association's Annual Report, please contact the Editor, by clicking here.

The delegates in attendance unanimously re-elected Andy Leslie and Marian George as President and Vice-President respectively, with a ten-member Board (with two new members, as profiled below), also elected for the coming year. 

Japanese Octogenarian Still Loves (And Plays) The Game ...

When it comes to longevity, Japan holds a number of unique records in the game of Rugby Union. The game has been played in Japan for over 150 years, with the Yokohama Football Club formed in 1866, four years before New Zealand’s first recognised game of Rugby Union which featured the Nelson Football Club, and more than 20 years before the New Zealand Rugby Union was even conceived.

And when it comes to players, the Japanese hold numerous records for the world’s oldest active players. 13 years ago, the Editor refereed a “golden oldies” tournament in Sugadiara, Japan, which featured at least 30 players over 80 years of age, with the oldest player on the field being 92 year old Sadayoshi Morita, the oldest player in the game at that time.

At the Golden-Oldies Rugby Tournament held in Christchurch last week, “For The Love Of The Game" had the opportunity to talk to 80 year old Koichi Seino, certainly one of the oldest active rugby players in the world in the current era and the oldest player at the well-attended 2018 Christchurch Tournament.

(At 80 years of age, and after 66 years as a player, Koichi Seino still loves the game)

Seino-san plays for the Fuwaku Rugby Club in Tokyo, the original club of its kind in the world for golden-oldies players. The name “Fuwaku” translates to “those aged over 40”, with the club featuring players who continue to put on their boots well into their 80s and 90s.

A retired salary-man, now aged 80, Seino-san has developed a life-long family rugby bond with his son and grandson, which had its genesis during his time at Junior High School in the early 1950’s. While at Junior High School, he was inspired to play the game after watching a match between Waseda and Oxford Universities in September 1952, a game won by the Oxford team by 12 points to 8.

(The Oxford University Tour to Japan in 1952 inspired Koichi Seino to play Rugby Union)

Back in that era, Seino-san recounts, he had rugby training every day of the week, with a game played on a Sunday. Seino-san went on to play rugby for Nihon University as a tertiary student. “Nichidai” (as the university is popularly known), played in the inaugural NHK Cup Final in 1961.

It was over his formative years of education that Seino-san developed a love for the teamwork and camaraderie associated with Rugby Union and also from where he also learned the communication skills which have helped him throughout his working and family life.

This isn’t the first time Seino-san has visited New Zealand. He played in the Golden-Oldies Tournament in Wellington six years ago, at the young age of 74. However, his age is not a barrier to enjoyment. A forward throughout his rugby life, (as a result of not being a particularly fast runner), Seino-san is not concerned about the risks of playing as an octogenarian and he continues to regularly train to keep himself match-fit.

When thinking about the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, Seino-san won’t be drawn on who will win the William Webb Ellis trophy, but the Editor can’t help but feeling the Brave Blossoms will surprise many as they did in England in 2015. Seino-san hopes that many from this country will come to his, to enjoy Japan’s renowned hospitality to visitors.

("At Any Time, Until The End Of Time" - Photo Credit,

As to the future? The motto of the Fuwaku Rugby Club, “at any time, until the end of time”, suggests that Seino-san will continue to lace up his boots and enjoy rugby’s bonds of camaraderie for many years ahead.

Spacewise Amateur Sports Hour - Radio Show ... 

Join Dave Piper, Adam Julian and Sandy Antipas as they cover ice hockey, athletics, rugby and rugby league in the edition of the Amateur Sports Hour broadcast on Friday, 20 April.

Click here to listen to the show.

The Amateur Sport Hour is brought to you through the generous support of Dion Ross and the team at Spacewise New Zealand, specialists in the hire of new and used shipping containers.

Association Suggests Review Of UN Convention ...

Following recent media reports that children as young as 14 are now being targeted for professional sport contracts, the Association has suggested that a review of Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted by the New Zealand Government in 1993), may be required.

The Convention stipulates that a child (being a person aged under 18 years of age), has the right to be protected from work that threatens his or her health, education or development.


The Association notes that the adoption of the United Nations Convention by New Zealand occurred before the professional sports referred to in recent media reports had seriously begun to actively recruit children for development contracts.

The Association believes such contracts have the potential to limit a child’s ability to actively pursue sports they may be interested in for the sake of enjoyment, rather than as a career, and also interfere with their secondary school education at a critical age.

New Board Members Elected At Annual General Meeting  ...

At the Association’s Annual General Meeting on 23 April, two new Board Members were elected, Jo Coughlan and Will Caccia-Birch.

(Jo Coughlan and Will Caccia-Birch, new Association Board Members)

Jo is a former Wellington City Councillor and Mayoral candidate, and is Director of Silvereye Communications in Wellington. Will is the Head of Community Rugby at Wellington Rugby (a Regional Sporting Organisation member of the Association). Both Jo and Will will join the eight Board Members re-elected at the AGM to serve the Association over the coming year.

Grassroots Players To Pay For National Team ...

The question of grassroots players paying levies for the costs of their national team has become a hot topic for Rugby Canada in recent weeks. The national body for the sport in Canada has increased the annual registration fees for all players over the age of 12, by $20 and the fee players under the age of 12, by $5.


As a tier-two rugby nation, Rugby Canada receives more than C$2 million per year from World Rugby, as part of a "high performance investment," over half of which is dependent on whether or not the men's team (currently ranked 21st in the world), qualifies for the World Cup.

However, with women’s rugby also growing in Canada, those involved in the game are concerned the women's team receives less total funding, even though it's been more successful, finishing fifth in the 2017 Women's World Cup.

You can read more about this story, by clicking here.  

From The Archives ...




Appreciation of the prompt action of the Minister of Broadcasting (the Hon. D. Wilson), in reinstating the junior sports session broadcast from 3ZB at 6.45 on Friday evenings was expressed at a meeting of the Canterbury Council of Amateur Sport, held on Wednesday evening. The Council had written to the Minister protesting against the deletion of this feature from the station’s programme.

Mr A. R. Blank moved that the Council should write again to Wellington, requesting that the Council’s previous suggestion of having more time allotted to sport by the YA station should receive further consideration. His motion was carried.

The Canterbury Council of Amateur Sport was formed in January 1943, before altering its constitution to affiliate to the New Zealand Council of Sport in December 1944.

The President of the Council was Eric Vyse Maidstone Phillips, a long-standing member and former Club Captain of the Christchurch Football Club, who was also President of the Canterbury Rugby Union at the time. Phillips was a strong advocate for team-work and club-spirit and a staunch defender of the amateur ethos. He became President of the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1945. Phillips was born in 1891 and died in 1981.

Today, the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. has once again begun to profile junior sports on the radio, on the Amateur Sports Hour weekly show on 1161AM (

The Final Word ...

“Life in amateur sport goes on, win lose or draw.”

(Seán Óg Ó hAilpín – Fijian-Irish Hurler & Gaelic Footballer)

© New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. (2669211), 2017

Registered Office, Level 1, 57 Willis Street, Wellington, 6011

P O Box 582, Wellington, 6140

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