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Short Passes – 15 April

Above OBU beat Avalon 8 tries to 2 on Saturday. This coming weekend they play Petone. PHOTO: Hugh Pretorius.

At the top level, the 2019 club season in Wellington is a month old. In a 10-round competition to find the top 7 places for the championship Jubilee Cup and the bottom 7 for the Premier 2 Hardham Cup for the second half of the season, it is hard to know what the “cut-off” will be. This coming Easter weekend round could be crucial for some of the contenders.

It is the first week of the school holidays this week, and the Hutt Valley secondary school teams are contesting their annual pre-season Hope Cup tournament. The Hope Cup is Monday and Tuesday and is between the First XVs of Hutt Valley High School, Taita College, St Bernard’s College, Wainuiomata High School, Naenae College and the St Pat’s Silverstream second XV. Check guides for details.

On Wednesday, the First XVs of Scots College and St Pat’s Silverstream meet at Scots College at 12.30pm in a pre-season match.

The Hurricanes and the Hurricanes Development team (Hunters) are heading to Japan this week to play the Sunwolves and Japan A respectively. Great for the players to get this trip away, but very disappointing that several players in both squads, but most especially the Hunters one, were sidelined from club rugby on Saturday. Club rugby needs these players if they are available to play.


Poneke Premier Reserve right wing Bruce Siale scored four tries on Saturday.

Some more ‘four-try’ hauls this past weekend, including Tawa right wing Caleb Cavubati scoring four tries against Johnsonville in the Swindale Shield, Marist St Pat’s centre Page Va’auli scoring four tries for MSP Women versus Wainuiomata Women and Bruce Siale scoring four tries for the Poneke Premier Reserves against HOBM.

Elsewhere, Norths No. 8 Luca Rees scored another try for his Premier side against the Wellington Axemen. Rees has now scored seven tries this season, to go with his 21 last year for his former club Oriental-Rongotai.

Special mention for Ories centre Malachai Unasa, who scored two tries against the Upper Hutt Rams. He has now scored four consecutive doubles to start the season.

Three tries on Saturday to Old Boys University lock Caleb Delany. When was time a lock scored a hat-trick in a Premier match in Wellington?


There’s plenty of utility backs around, but what about utility forwards? The Upper Hutt Rams’ Leith Mackey started his clubs’ Premier Reserve match against Oriental-Rongotai at his usual spot at tighthead prop, but as players came and went he shifted variously to lock, both flanks, and finished up at No. 8.
After a couple of years hiatus, the Rams’ veteran Ben Aoina returned to Premier rugby last weekend against Poneke from the bench and did so again on Saturday against Ories. His entrance to the game prompted a quick-witted interjection from one well-known member of the Magpies flock, asking if he was in the right game because the “Pressies are playing over on number 2”



Swindale Shield top try scorers after the first four rounds.

Congratulations to more players reaching playing milestones, including Avalon Wolves wing Poata Tuisamoa and Poneke prop Hennie Tui on Saturday – both earning their 50th Premier caps.


What is happening with the Billy Wallace Best & Fairest competition? The season is one fifth old now – any updates?


The Wellington College First XV met a 20-31 defeat to Feilding High School on Saturday at home.


The Hawke’s Bay Premier Nash Cup played its sixth round of nine on Saturday. Following their 54-20 win over mid-table Central, Taradale are unbeaten with six straight wins and 29 competition points. Hastings Rugby & Sports are second on 27 and Napier Old Boys Marist third on 25. An interesting result on Saturday was eighth placed Napier Technical thrashing ninth and bottom placed Tamatea 76-22.


In Manawatu Senior A (Premier) club rugby, College Old Boys had a comfortable 46-7 win over Old Boys Marist in their top-of-the-table clash on Saturday. COB are the only unbeaten team through five rounds. Elsewhere, there was a default with Linton Army defaulting to Massey University.


How would kiwi golf commentator and analyst Frank Nobilo go calling the All Blacks? Perhaps more refreshing than a couple of the screaming skulls on both television and radio at present.


It is two weeks of school holidays now, followed by the start of the winter sport season for secondary school teams. Sky TV has announced they are moving their First XV coverage from the Rugby Channel to their Sky Sport channels.

They will be covering 33 matches this year, plus the series in Hamilton from the end of September featuring the New Zealand Schools and NZ Barbarian Schools.

First XV matches being covered in the Hurricanes region on TV include:

  • Saturday 18 May St John’s College (Hastings) v St John’s College (Hamilton) – 12.30pm at Hastings
  • Sat 15 June: Napier Boys’ High School v Hastings Boys’ High School – 12.00pm at Napier.
  • Wed 24 July: St Pat’s Silverstream v St Pat’s College – 12.30pm at Silverstream
  • Wed 31 July: Palmerston North Boys’ High School v Napier Boys’ High School (Polson Banner) – 12.30pm at Palmerston North.
  • Sunday 18 August: Wellington Premiership Final; TBC at Jerry Collins Stadium
  • Saturday 31 August: Regional Final – to be confirmed
  • Friday 6 September and Sunday 8 September – Top 4 semi-finals and finals at Palmerston North


A Taranaki rugby player who suffered a serious neck injury at a club rugby game on Saturday afternoon is now in a stable condition in an Auckland hospital.

Connor Wilson, 20, was flown to Middlemore Hospital by the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter after suffering the injury while playing for the Clifton Colts at an under-20s club rugby game at the Clifton Rugby Club in Tikorangi.

Taranaki Rugby community rugby manager Cole Brown is acting as a spokesperson for Wilson’s family and said the player had made positive improvements overnight; however, he was unable to reveal the extent of his injuries. Read more HERE


An update on the Roy Johns Memorial Shield, which the Hutt Old Boys Marist and Poneke teams played for on Saturday:

Roy Hollie Reginald Johns was born on 18 May 1920 at Harris Hospital, 139 Ghuznee Street, the son of Reginald Albert Johns and Eveline Maud Johns. The Johns family lived at 40 Charlotte Avenue in Brooklyn. Roy’s grandfather, Albert, was a partner in the iron-foundry business of Johns, Wallace and Muir, at 63 Tory Street and Roy became an iron-moulder by trade. Roy’s job was considered to be essential to the war-effort in World War Two and he was exempted from active-service as a result. A member of the Poneke FC (and the combined Poneke-Oriental senior team) in the 1940’s, Johns was originally selected for Wellington B in 1941, but owing to the unavailability of the first-choice half-back (O’Halloran from Athletic) he was selected to play against Hawke’s Bay that year, a match lost by 13 to 16. Johns went on to represent Wellington throughout the War years as the regular half-back and was noted to have had “an excellent game” in Wellington’s defeat of Auckland in 1944 by 12 points to 9. Johns also represented the Brooklyn Cricket Club (which played in Wellington Cricket’s Second and Third Grades during the War years) as a batsman, famously scoring 133 not-out in a match against the Hutt Club in 1941. Roy died in 1988 at which time the Memorial Shield was created and first competed for. It has been played for 26 times over the past 31 years, with the record showing (following yesterday’s match), 14 victories for Hutt Old Boys Marist and 12 for Poneke.


Here is one for the defensive enforcers out there.

Scotland international Jonny Gray produced one of the most startling performances in rugby history with his effort for Glasgow Warriors against Leinster in the Guinness PRO14 encounter at the RDS. The Warriors forward made 43 tackles without missing a single one. Josh van der Flier had set a PRO14 record with 34 hits for Leinster against Connacht last year but Gray’s display blows that mark clean out of the water. The 25-year-old was initially credited with 41 tackles only for the figure to be upgraded. Read more HERE 



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Above – Random book reading: 1950s and 1960s All Black fullback Don Clarke describes the Clarke brothers’ training regime on the Waikato farm in the summer of 1950/51. From Page 22 of Clarke’s book ‘The Boot’.

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