Longevity and passion: Lindsay reaches 100th game

By Jared Smith  Photos supplied by Kiwi TV

Ten years and 100 games later, the fire still burns for Steelform Whanganui’s mercurial halfback Lindsay Horrocks.

The 33-year-old South Taranaki farmer played his 100th First Class game for Whanganui against neighbours Horowhenua-Kapiti at Cooks Gardens on Saturday, fittingly scoring a try in another committed display to help secure a home Meads Cup semifinal.

Reaching the 100 milestone when no more than 11 games in a season (ten Heartland and a Ranfurly Shield challenge) can be given First Class status is very rare achievement in the modern game – but what is most telling is how the hard-working No9 has defied the law of averages.

After his debut against King Country on 24th August 2013, Horrocks played in 99 of the next 101 First Class games available to him.

The two he missed were due to being with the 2019 NZ Heartland XV to play the Samoa World Cup squad on Eden Park, and then the last match of the Covid-altered 2020 season due to the wedding of team-mate Angus Middleton.

A very talented group of men in Josh Edwards, Willie Short, Kane Tamou, Tom Stewart, Josh Fifita, Cameron Davies and Tyler Rogers-Holden got to wear the coveted No9 at least once, but Horrocks was still always there on the bench to swiftly regain his spot – never once suffering a game-missing injury.

“Just staying out of the contact stuff, eh,” Horrocks laughed at fulltime on Saturday.

“It’s been a bit of a dream run, to be fair, without any injuries.”

Having won three Meads Cups and two Lochore Cups, Horrocks’ competitive drive to bring his union further success remains undiminished.

“Definitely. When you put that jersey on you seem to grow another leg, and the boys are starting to put some things together in the last few weeks.”

“Just looking forward to next week and stamping our mark.”

Horrocks also played eight games for the NZ Heartland XV from 2015-21, while being named the 2015 NZ Heartland player of the year.

Including Saturday, he has scored 25 tries for Whanganui worth 127 points (two of his tries were six-pointers under the experimental rules in the 2016 season).

But when asked to name his favourite accolade or game, Horrocks preferred to acknowledge those who helped in his journey.

“There’s been a few of them [moments], mate, but really nothing too outstanding .

“It’s mainly the people I meet along the way – that’s the big one for me.

“I’ve been lucky with Burgs and Softy [coaches Jason Hamlin and Jason Caskey] for most of the time – they were really good, down-to-earth people that make you want to play.

“They get you up when we might not be the best skill-set team or the biggest team, but you actually want to get up and get off the ground, and that comes along with those coaches.”

With 76 appearances himself, Whanganui captain Dane Whale has been on the end of a lot of those long Horrocks passes, and paid tribute to his play-making partner.

“It’s an honour to play outside of him in any game, so for him to play in his 100th today, a huge honour to play outside him.

“Massively proud of him, he’s a competitive man and I’ve played against him [in club rugby] plenty of times, but you love having him in your team, that’s for sure. He’s a great man.”

Horrocks jogged out alone on Saturday through a guard of honour from his Border rugby club ahead of his team mates, and then at the aftermatch function was joined by his wife and two daughters to accept his blazer with ‘100’ embroidered and a special commemorative jersey.

The other Wanganui centenarians are:

Trevor Olney 146 (1973-90), Graeme Coleman 144 (1973-83), Bob Barrell 139 (1963-77), Adrian Bull 134 (1985-99), Peter Rowe 120 (2003-17), Bruce Middleton 119 (1974-84), Andrew Donald 118 (1976-84), Jerome Nahona 111 (1989-2000), Guy Lennox 110 (1990-98), Cole Baldwin 105 (2006-17), Kerry Whale 100 (1985-98), Brent Dallison 100 (1975-83) and Jason Hamlin 100 (1992-2001).