Back row, from left, Gary Gabites (inset), Blue Cook, Dave Minchin, Dave Laurenson, Brian Roycroft, John Delaney, Jim Hamilton, Morris Columb, George Cochrane, Brian Marrett; middle row, (from left) assistant club captain Davy Caswell, Neville Richards, Gordon Lewis, Les Butchers, John Stamp, Selia Fagalima, John Varcoe, Murray Roberts, Dave Roddick, Lindsay Gray, Jack Philip, president; front row, (from left) manager Nichol Taylor, Barry Marrett, Gordon Simpson, Russell "Sam'' Simpson, vice-captain, coach Peter Leonard, coach, captain Paul Roddick, Ken Barlow, Gordon Wilson and club captain Eric O'Hara1972, it was a nervous wait for fans of the Star Rugby Football Club. They had not won the Skinner Cup senior rugby title for 27 years and going into the last game of the season it was still not guaranteed.

There were no finals like today, just two rounds and whoever was on top got the silverware.

The Herald of the time said "Merlin himself could not have weaved a better finish", with the four top teams clashing, and either Star or Celtic able to emerge victorious.

Star and Celtic had managed a win apiece when they played and were both on 26 points. A first-ever tie was on the cards for the Skinner Cup.

Star faced defending champions Old Boys first up, with both sides having strong backlines.

Celtic were also looking for their first win in 15 years and had the best forward pack in the competition, while Temuka's had been far from impressive going into the clash, so both front-runners were expected to win.

Star, however, drew 6-all and thought they had blown their chance.

They then watched Temuka play Celtic, knowing the Magpies would need to either win or draw to keep Star's dream alive.

As it unfolded, there was little between the sides but in the end Temuka did enough, winning 15-13, and making Star the champion side.

The Herald recorded Star deserved the title having scored 314 points in 16 games, with 143 against, with wing Neville Richards a "one-man scoring machine" despite "duffing a simple penalty from in front of the goal posts which would have given Star the outright win".

Richards scored 138 points from 15 tries, 12 penalties and 21 conversions.

Celtic's Neville Twaddell also had a chance to snatch a draw for his team but missed a late conversion, 10 yards in from touch.

Star coach Peter Leonard remembers Celtic turned down a penalty near halfway that could have won them the game also.

"I couldn't understand why Ru Twaddell didn't take the kick; it was a long one but he was capable. Temuka said afterwards they did it for us but that is often the way in rugby."

Leonard, who was in his second year with the team, said he believed the key to success was the strong bond the players had.

"We had plenty of ability but it was that bond that was special.

The Herald also noted "over the season the slick backline stuck to a policy of spinning the ball and the young pack, under the leadership of dashing flanker Sam Simpson, was fiery and mobile."

Leonard said it was always hard to name players who made the real difference but second-five and captain Paul Roddick was special.

"He was unlucky not to go further; from memory he was injured when the South Island trials came around."

As for the character of the team, Leonard said it was prop Selia Fagalima.

"Yes he was certainly a character, in more ways than one."

The Star team of 1972 supplied five players who went on to regularly represent South Canterbury that year with Richards, speedster Murray Roberts, Roddick, Simpson and Fagalima.

Note: In 1997, Star amalgamated with Zingari to become the Harlequins Rugby Club