Six-Test Kiwi Areariki ‘Riki’ Cowan enjoyed a brief but memorable stay on the Canterbury Rugby League scene after heading south from Auckland.
The hulking Mt Albert prop was a 20-year-old bolter in the New Zealand team during the 3-0 series whitewash of the touring Great Britain Lions in 1984, coming off the bench in the second and third Tests.
Cowan, a Junior Kiwi in 1982, was a replacement forward in all three Tests against Australia during the unforgettable 1985 series – including the Graham Lowe-coached Kiwis’ iconic 18-0 third-Test victory at Carlaw Park – and came off the bench again in one Test against Great Britain among seven appearances on New Zealand’s end-of-year tour.
The Auckland, New Zealand Māori (touring Britain as a teenager in 1983) and Cook Islands rep joined Addington in 1990, helping the defending champs to another Grand Final (lost 24-14 to Hornby) and featuring prominently in Canterbury’s watershed campaign.
Cowan started all nine of Canterbury’s matches that season, including the historic wins over Auckland and Great Britain.
He left for Wellington in 1991, representing his third provincial team from the Petone club, as well as spending an off-season in England with St Helens and playing for Wellington City Firehawks in the inaugural Lion Red Cup.
NEW ZEALAND (1984-85)
6 Tests – 0 points
6 tour matches – 0 points
-1985 Kiwis tour of Britain and France