Has Jimmy Cowan really played 100 games for Southland?

The answer is yes, and no.

Rugby Southland assure me they have gone through the records pretty closely, with the tireless Bill Anderson trawling through the books for an accurate count.

The last thing anyone would want is for Cowan to jet off to Gloucester only for it to later emerge that he was short of the ton, or tonne.

But according to the NZRU and the Rugby Almanack, Cowan remains on 99 games.

The confusion stems from a preseason game between the Stags and the ACT Brumbies in 2001.

The Brumbies were the defending Super 12 champions but were beaten 11-5 at Rugby Park in a game which was notable for the debut by Southland Boys’ High School winger Alesana Muliaina, the second-youngest player to ever turn out for Southland.

Rugby Southland, probably in an effort to make sure Cowan got to triple figures, count the game but the NZRU and the men behind the Almanack (the bible for New Zealand rugby) don’t because they don’t recognise games between provinces and franchises.

The Southland Times preview for that game, by the late John Morrison, includes nine players on the Southland bench.

That’s pretty typical for a preseason game, but it also means it can’t be counted as a first class game.

I don’t want to cheat Jimmy out of becoming a centurion and he’ll hopefully make this a moot argument if he comes off the bench against Harbour tomorrow afternoon.

I suppose it’s up to Rugby Southland to decide which games are official and which ones aren’t. But you are taking liberties with tradition when you play fast and loose with the rules. That I don’t like.

The same thing happened in Balclutha earlier this season when Southland retained the Donald Stuart memorial trophy despite losing to Otago.

The game had been given official status to help Cowan get his numbers, but Southland didn’t bother to even take the shield to Balclutha, later claiming it should only be up for grabs in home games.

The truth is they had simply forgotten. Rugby is a game built on traditions, you mess with them at your peril. Cowan’s final tally will forever be confused and that’s something he doesn’t deserve.

For the record, here’s the team that played against the Brumbies in 2001. Where are these guys now?

SOUTHLAND STAGS: Pailate Fili (vice-captain), Alesana Muiliaina, Anthony Lafaiali’i, Hayden Martine, Kuka Asolupe, Ashley Barron, Jimmy Cowan, Iona Sipa, Simon Etheredge, Kelvin Coghlan, Steve Jackson, Brendon Timmins (captain), Aaron Dempsey, Jason Rutledge, Keith Cameron. Reserves, Davin Heaps, Brett Roberts, Mark Wilson, Paul Glynn, Don Younger, Jamie Whelan, Aaron Kimura, Tere Ngu, Daniel Pinn.




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One Response to “Has Jimmy Cowan really played 100 games for Southland?”

  1. cracker666 Says:

    bit like the 125th…or was it 124th? FML.

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