Central Vikings Rugby Union

Central Vikings Rugby Union

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Central Vikings Rugby Union

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Description:
Central Vikings Rugby Union was a New Zealand rugby union team that played in two seasons of the NPC from 1997-1998. The team featured current and future All Blacks, as well as a former All Black in coach Frank Oliver.

History

The Central Vikings Rugby Union was founded in December 1996 with the merger of the Hawke's Bay and Manawatu unions. The Vikings were formed with the hopes of lifting themselves out of the 2nd division and to be competitive in the 1st division. The Central Vikings had 2 All Blacks in the team which included Bull Allen and Christian Cullen as well as featuring various super 14 players such as Chiefs star Mark Ranby who later became an all black himself. The Central Vikings finished 2nd in 1997 when they were beaten 63-10 by Northland but even if they had won, they weren't allowed to progress into the 1st division. They finished 1st in 1998 when they beat the then Nelson Bays team, now part of Tasman Makos. They were subsequently allowed to progress to the 1st division. The Vikings however got into financial trouble and they split back to Hawke's Bay and Manawatu for the 1999 season.

The Vikings were largely hindered in their second season after not only losing All Black legend Christian Cullen but also losing the then All Blacks Coach John Hart after Hart was advised he could not coach NPC, Super Rugby and All Black teams at the same time. Despite of these disadvantages the Vikings went on to win the second division and were picked to be a major force...
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