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Season on the line for some in club rugby this weekend

Premier Swindale Shield teamlists and draw HERE 

  • By Scott MacLean

The season is on the line for many teams this weekend across several grades. Not only is the silverware on the horizon for some, but for others the spectre of dropping into their grades second division looms.

For both Wainuiomata and Old Boys-University its Old Timers’ Day, with OBU electing to celebrate it on an away game closer to their spiritual base at the Cambridge Hotel, while Norths have the second of their heritage weekends taking their matches across Porirua Harbour to Onepoto Park.

Premier Swindale Shield

With just three weeks left and 11 teams still in the running for the seven Jubilee Cup berths its another critical round in the Swindale Shield. As is normal at this point of the season we look at what’s remaining for the 14 teams.

Hutt Old Boys Marist (1st, 34 points)
Remaining: Johnsonville (A), Ories (H), Norths (H)

At 17 points ahead of eighth-placed Tawa, the Eagles have already secured their Jubilee Cup place. However, their eyes remain firmly fixed on the Swindale Shield itself and they should comfortably take another step towards that against the cellar-dwelling Hawks at Helston this week. After that though they face a pair of hard games to finish against the two sides chasing them on the table if the silverware is to return to the Nest. They’ve taken the opportunity to rest Sheridan Rangihuna and Lise Soloa tomorrow, but it’s an otherwise strong-looking side.

Oriental-Rongotai (2nd, 30)
Remaining: Wainuiomata (H), HOBM (A), MSP (H)

The Magpies vaulted themselves into real contention with their dominant performance against Norths two weeks ago and backed that up be reclaiming the Jimmy Grbich Shield from Poneke. While they only need three points to make certain of a Jubilee berth, surely they must be targeting the trophy that they’ve never won and had slip through their grasp on several occasions. In that regard a win tomorrow is a must ahead of a showdown encounter at the Hutt Rec. Their side tomorrow restores the Luke Tau’alupe-William Heather 6/8 pairing, and Trent Renata pushes up from fullback into first-five.

Norths (3rd, 29)
Remaining: Upper Hutt Rams (H), MSP (A), HOBM (A)

The loss to Ories was a setback to their chances and left them reliant upon other results

Luca Rees scoring another try last weekend.

falling their way if they are to retain the Swindale. Like Ories a handful of points will see them back to the Jubilee Cup, and they can take care of that tomorrow in their last home game of the round against the Upper Hutt Rams. After that though there is a tricky trip into the city to face MSP, with the possibility that if they’ve won both of those they could still be playing for the Swindale in the last round.  They bring back several first-choice players that were rested last weekend, with Dudley Parsons starting a Premier match in the Norths #10 jersey for the first time in four years, almost to the day.

Poneke (4th,26)
Remaining: OBU (H), Wellington (H), Petone (A)

The only other side that could wind up with the silverware, Poneke would likely need maximum points the rest of the way and for the others to fall almost completely by the wayside. Jubilee Cup qualification isn’t yet certain and just what they need to achieve that depends entirely on results below them. Their fate remains in their own hands and a repeat of their last meeting at home with OBU will go some way to achieving a midseason goal.  Pakai Turia returns for them tomorrow but starts on the bench and 150-game back Ben Huntley makes his first appearance for the season.

Old Boys-University (=5th ,20)
Remaining: Poneke (A), Wainuiomata (H), Pare-Plim (H)

Wainuiomata (=5th, 20)
Remaining: Ories (H), OBU (A), Wellington (A)

Petone (=5th, 20)
Remaining: Wellington (H), Avalon (H), Poneke (H)

Currently occupying the remaining Jubilee Cup places, these three will have their eyes on the teams chasing them more than catching those ahead. Each face at least one side currently ahead of them on the table; for OBU and Wainuiomata that comes tomorrow when visiting Poneke and hosting Ories respectively ahead of their meeting at Nairnville next week. Conversely Petone have a run of home games to finish with the first two of those against sides currently in the bottom-three; and they’d hope to have their return secured before the visit of Petone in the final-round lest they find themselves in the same situation as last year.

In team news OBU have gone as full-strength as they can, with the three old warhorses restored to the front row and the little and large midfield pairing of Matt Goosen and Izzy Foai. Wainuiomata’s starting side is almost unchanged for that that beat the Rams last while, while Petone get back both Kaliopasi Uluilakepa and Adam Simpson.

Both Tawa and MSP will want to reach higher this weekend.

Tawa (8th, 17)
Remaining: Avalon (A), Pare-Plim (A), Upper Hutt Rams (A)

Marist St Pats (9th, 16)
Remaining: Pare-Plim (A), Norths (H), Ories (A)

And then there are two on the outside looking in. The situation isn’t unfamiliar for Tawa who have been in this predicament a number of times in recent years, and while they are away from the leafy confines of Lyndhurst Park for the rest of the way all three matches are against sides below them on the ladder. It is a new experience though for MSP, who if not for their win over Tawa last week would be pretty much dead and buried. They remain relative long shots to keep their remarkable streak of Jubilee Cup appearances intact and while you’d think they’ll bank the five points against Pare-Plim, they could need to do the same in the remaining weeks against two of the frontrunners and their biggest rivals.

Tawa make just three changes; in come loosie Lorenzo Lolesio and outside back Tom Maiava and joined by Romu Senileba who’ll make his debut after an in-season switch from Johnsonville.  MSP have made a handful of changes with the Proctor brothers starting once again.

Upper Hutt Rams (10th, 14)
Remaining: Norths (A), Johnsonville (H), Tawa (H)

Avalon Wolves (11th, 12)
Remaining: Tawa (H), Petone (A), Johnsonville (A)

For the northern Hutt Valley pair the equation is simple, only wins will do and bonus points are a must. They both face difficult assignments tomorrow, and the likelihood is that if they aren’t victorious then they will be consigned to the Hardham Cup for another year.

In an interesting move erstwhile loose forward Daniel Schrijvers will start at centre for the Rams tomorrow, one of a host of changes the Rams have made from the side beaten by Wainuiomata last time out.  Scott Waldrom starts at 8 for the Wolves in place of his younger brother with Tajun Crosland-Misa returning to the #10 jersey where he started the season.

Wellington (12th, 10)
Paremata-Plimmerton (13th, 4)
Johnsonville (14th, 1)

All three are destined once again for the Hardham Cup, but each could yet have a say in who makes the Jubilee Cup and who doesn’t. The Axemen this week travel to Petone, Paremata-Plimmerton host Marist St Pats, and Johnsonville are at home for the visit of the competition leaders. In news for these three Wellington have again reshuffled the composition of their backline with Eremia Tapsell lining up in yet another position, Pare-Plim are able to bring back a number who missed last weekend through illness, and Johnsonville will start Jacob Walmsley at first-five as much through necessity as invention.

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There are three interclub trophies in play tomorrow.

  • Poneke and OBU will again contest their Beet Algar Rosebowl. Beet (short for Beethoven, and named after the composer) was one of the early heroes of Wellington club rugby, playing for Poneke and was a Wellington rep either side of World War I, and an All Black in 1920-21. During the war he served with the Wellington Mounted Rifles (the same regiment as Petone’s William Hardham, VC), and was wounded in the Battle for Jerusalem in 1917. He became a long-time coach, administrator and Life Member at Poneke, and served as their Patron from 1978 until his death in 1989. OBU hold this after their 55-10 thrashing on Opening Day last season, though Poneke won the return clash in the Jubilee Cup 18-14 on a typically bleak winters day at Kilbirnie Park.
  • North and the Upper Hutt Rams have their Terry Farrow Memorial Cup at stake. Farrow had an instrumental role in the merger of Porirua and Titahi Bay, and was later made a Life Member of Norths before his passing in 1999. Additionally, his father George was a Life Member of Upper Hutt. Tomorrow’s match is the second of North’s Heritage matches and they’ll wear the yellow and blue hoops of the former Titahi Bay club with the match at their old home of Onepoto Park.
  • Petone and Wellington will contest their Bill Francis/Jack Taylor Trophy. Both Francis and Taylor are names of the Axemen’s lengthy past and former All Blacks who faced the Villagers many times. Petone retained this in a canter last year winning 55-0, though the Hardham Cup match was closer with the Villagers winning that 31-17.

Premier Reserve Harper Lock Shield

At the top of the table Marist St Pats would be expected to retain their unbeaten record and the competition lead when visiting competition minnows Pare-Plim at Ngati Toa. Across the other side of Porirua Harbour Norths will look to keep pace when taking on the Upper Hutt Rams at Onepoto, while Tawa – the only other side that could realistically claim the trophy – travel to Fraser Park to face mid-table Avalon.

The remaining fixtures have Poneke hosting OBU at Kilbirnie, Ories making the journey to face Wainuiomata at William Jones, Petone and Wellington meet at the Petone Rec, and HOBM are at Helston to face Johnsonville.

All seven matches are back at the usual 1pm kick-off.

Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy

Women’s draw and teamlists HERE 

Having passed the midway point the table is taking shape. Unbeaten duo Norths and Oriental-Rongotai meet next Friday night, but before then Norths head to Nairnville to face Old Boys-University while Ories win by default over Hutt Old Boys Marist, who pulled out of their match by Friday. There’s a key mid-table clash between Marist St Pats and Paremata-Plimmerton at Kilbirnie, and either Wainuiomata or Poneke will notch their first win when they meet at 7.30pm tonight on the Fraser Park artificial. Petone has this week’s bye.

All three matches tomorrow get underway at 11.30am.

Colts Paris Memorial and JRD Cup

Colts Division 1 draw HERE 

The Norths Colts beat Paremata-Plimmerton 19-18 last week.

The highlight clash of the Division 1 schedule is the match between unbeaten leaders MSP and OBU Green which seems set to decide where the trophy will wind up in three weeks’ time given their form. Behind them HOBM will look to keep the pressure on and host bottom-side Tawa at the Hutt Rec, Petone and Pare-Plim meet at the Petone Rec in a match with implications for making it to the second round, and Norths host the Upper Hutt Rams at Porirua Park.

Division 2 gets underway tonight at 7.30pm with Johnsonville and OBU Black taking to the Alex Moore artificial, followed tomorrow by leaders Oriental-Rongotai heading to Wainuiomata and Avalon hosting Wellington at Fraser Park. Poneke have the bye.

All matches tomorrow are at 1pm.


The Tranzit Festival rolls into Gisborne for the second of the three sets of matches. Scots will look to back up their first-up win when they take on Hastings Boys, with St Pats Town facing Palmerston North at the same time. Those games are followed by Silverstream lining up against the hosts in the feature game, while Wellington College are up against Napier Boys this week.

Locally it’s the second round of the qualifying process, and four schools can book their tickets into the Premiership for 2019 with the two matches giving direct entry. In those Kapiti College head to Masterton to take on Wairarapa College while Aotea and Rongotai meet at Ngati Toa Domain, with the sides that lose those matches get a second chance next week. Behind them the other 12 teams will be aiming to join them in the qualifier matches next week with those matches being (home teams first); HVHS vs Upper Hutt (2.30pm), Taita vs Paraparaumu (1pm), Hutt International vs Mana (2.30pm), Tawa v Onslow (2.30pm), and Porirua vs Naenae (11am). The sixth match is at William Jones at 11.30am between Wainuiomata HS and St Bernard’s, being the first of the matches of Old Timers Day out there.

The remaining grades continue in grading and preseason, except for the six Under 80kg sides who begin their competition proper.

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