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Short Passes 29 July – bumper edition + Lions squad naming

Has the bar at Norths’ HQ at Porirua Park closed yet?


Despite being named on Ories’ bench for the Women’s final, Black Fern Selica Winiata was withdrawn prior to kick-off. While Club Rugby firmly believes this was belatedly the right decision, questions have to be asked why the idea of a non-Wellington affiliated player playing in a final was even entertained, let alone seemingly sanctioned.


It’s still months away, but isn’t next year’s Swindale Shield draw going to be full of intrigue, especially with both MSP and OBU ranked so low going into it.


Having made the semi-finals with an 83rd minute try and then the final with an 81st minute penalty, can the Paraparaumu Under 85s fairytale continue for another week? They play the Avalon Wolves in the U85kg Paul Potiki Shield final this coming Saturday. More on this and the Division 2 final later this week.


Good luck for a full recovery to Wainuiomata Premier captain Greg Leolofi from the gruesome broken ankle in Saturday’s Jubilee Cup decider.


Lower ranked teams ruled the roost on Finals day, taking five of the nine titles.


Two College games of interest this Wednesday. First up Rongotai College and St Pat’s Silverstream meet on the Kilbirnie isthmus in their final round Premiership match where a home semi-final beckons for the winner, while that evening at Porirua Park Premiership side and defending champions Aotea College faces Prem 2 Upper Hutt College in the Coed Cup decider to determine who will progress to the regional stage of that competition.


Ayesha Leti-L’iga (pictured above) stole the show on finals day, scoring a match-winning hat-trick against Northern United. She has now scored 110 tries in 50 games for Ories in Wellington Women’s club rugby.

Marist St Pat’s right wing Willie Schutz scored a try and kicked his side’s goals for an 18-point haul. He scored the most points in the second round in the Hardham and Jubilee Cups, with 97 (including seven tries).


A Wellington XV played a Manawatu XV in Kimbolton on Sunday, losing 19-24. The Report from the Manawatu Standard said:

“Wellington did much of the running, but the Manawatū XV did the tackling and the winning before a big crowd at Kimbolton Domain in Manawatū’s final pre-season match.

It finished 24-19 on Sunday, with Wellington’s third coming in the final seconds after Manawatū had shut them out to lead 17-0 at halftime.”

Scores: Manawatū XV 24 (Braydon Iose, Ben Werthmuller, Jamie Booth, Adam Boult, tries; Sam Malcolm, Ben Wyness, cons) Wellington XV 19 (James Poloniati 2, Nash Fiso, tries; Piri Paraone 2 con) HT 17-0.

UPDATE: Wellington Lions squad for the NPC at the bottom of this article below.

Members of the Wellington Lions at club rugby Finals Day on Saturday.


Norths had a chance to achieve the Premier men’s and women’s double, but missed out. The clubs to have done it are: Petone (1993), Norths (2004, 2008 and 2010).


Referee Scott Sargentina was recently struck down with illness while on a cricket tour with his son Max in India. Scott is recovering in a Bombay hospital.  Club Rugby wishes Scott a speedy recovery. Last Wednesday, another son Jack officiated the nationally televised First XV match between St Patrick’s College, Silverstream and St Patrick’s College, Wellington, won 33-24 by Stream.


The Rongotai College 1st XV made the trip across the Mount Vic tunnel on Saturday and beat Wellington College in the Heron Cup fixture for the first time since 2003. Rongotai jumped to a 15-3 lead after 25 minutes, but soon made life tough for themselves. On the back of a mounting penalty count, Wellington hammered away at the Rongotai try line and eventually were rewarded when their forwards executed a drive from an attacking line out to cross for their first try, the conversion was good and at halftime it was 15-10.

It took more than 20 minutes for points to be scored in the second-spell, Wellington kicking a penalty to close the gap to 15-13. Again more pressure from Wellington had Rongotai under the pump and with just six minutes left Wellington scored out wide from another line out forward drive, the try was converted and Wellington held the lead 20-15.

From the restart Wellington were not able to exit cleanly which gave Rongotai the chance to put together an attack which went through a number of phases and fullback Phoenix James-Kapa finished off the movement with a try to tie the scores up at 20-20 with two minutes left to play, the conversion narrowly missed.

Rongotai claimed the restart and were given a penalty on halfway which centre Pose Tuilaepa took quickly and made a break down into the Wellington 22. Rongotai had another penalty advantage but went close to scoring a try. The ref came back for the penalty which was right in front of the posts and first-five Dylan Jackson calmly slotted the kick to give Rongotai the lead back 23-20 with less than a minute left.

There was just enough time for the restart that Rongotai gathered and the ball was booted out and the full-time whistle went for a memorable win to Rongotai.

The try scorers for Rongotai were: Joyner Gaualofa, Tana Tusa, Reon Paul and Phoenix James-Kapa.


Curiously the Wellington Rugby Referees’ Association celebrated their 125th Anniversary dinner the night before Club Finals. In test week to perhaps a different date would have gained a greater response?


Wainuiomata had a combined 1755 premier games between their 22 man squad before the final.


OBU actually scored more tries this year than they did in 2018 and won 13 games compared to Norths 12.


With many unions starting to name their NPC squads, a familiar name is joining Waikato this season in former Northern United and Johnsonville player Api Naikatini. The media release from the WRU follows:

“Waikato Rugby Union continues to strengthen their forward pack with the signing of Fijian International, Apisai Naikatini, for the 2019 Mitre Cup.

Naikatini, 34, is an experienced Lock/Blindside Flanker having played over 39 matches for Wellington at national provincial level plus 18 matches for Fiji at international level.

Waikato Head Coach Andrew Strawbridge said, “Apisai Naikatini is another hardworking man and we are pleased to have join us for the 2019 season. He is a talented player that can play multiple positions to a high standard in the forward pack.

Having him in the team will again provide us with experience, having played all around the world for multiple teams; he will add value to this season squad both on and off the field.”

Apisai Naikatini joined Waikato after completing a season in the United States of America Major League Rugby competition, where he was a part of 2019 Champions side, Seattle Seawolves.”


The Defence Blacks squad has been selected to play in the upcoming International Defence Rugby Competition in Japan.

Wellington club rugby players selected include Josh Houston-Tupou (Upper Hutt Rams), Christian Lloyd (Upper Hutt Rams), James Coburn (Tawa), Joe ‘Apikotoa (HOBM) and Aidan Woodward (Upper Hutt Rams), and coached by Tim Kareko (Upper Hutt Rams).


Corey Kennett recently retired from rugby after over four decades playing and 1000 games of senior rugby. He signed off with a 13-12 win for his Levin College Old Boys side against Paraparaumu in the Horowhenua-Kapiti Reserve Grade final. Credit: Horowhenua Chronicle.


Pets of the Jubilee Cup.
Colts brothers in arms. HOBM lost the final 7-31 on Saturday to OBU but showed great spirit in defeat.


“Fan takes legal action after being struck by rugby ball during All Blacks test in Dublin”

A fan who claims she was hit by a ball during the All Blacks’ historic loss to Ireland in Dublin last November has taken a personal injury claim against the Ireland Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

The woman lodged a legal action claim against the governing body and the company that operates the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, New Stadium DIC.

It is understood that the ball was kicked into the crowd by a player, however, it is unclear whether or not an All Black was involved.

Read more HERE


UPDATE: Wellington Lions squad below.

A generally strong and mostly predictable team. Short Passes comments that if you are going to select jouneyemen from elsewhere (halfback anyone) then why not select local battlers? Short Passes has been impressed with Petone’s Logan Henry all year, while Campbell Woodmass has been playing well and was the final MVP.

The media release explains a couple of selections:

Hurricanes utility back Vince Aso has transferred from Auckland and is one of six new additions in the backs along with former Canterbury halfback Connor Collins.

Up front, Italy lock Josh Furno and Queensland Reds prop Sef Fa’agase will provide some valuable experience.”

“The key thing for us is we have recruited into spaces we clearly needed,” Head coach Chris Gibbes said.

“I think the guys who have come in provide not only excitement but an ability to do their job really well.

They bring a different type of energy to the group and that’s adding to our culture and that’s exciting.”

Outside backs: Vince Aso (Paremata Plimmerton) Losi Filipo (Petone), Connor Garden-Bachop (Northern United), Wes Goosen (Old Boys Univesity), Ben Lam (Tawa)

Midfield backs: Pepesana Patafilo (Tawa), Billy Proctor (Marist St Pat’s), Matt Proctor (Oriental Rongotai), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata), Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)

Five-eighths: Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United), Callum Harkin (Old Boys University), Trent Renata (Oriental Rongotai)

Halfbacks: Kemara Hauti-Parapara (Tawa), Jono Hickey (Western Suburbs), TJ Perenara (Northern United), Connor Collins (Hutt Old Boys Marist)

Loose forwards: Teariki Ben-Nicholas (Old Boys University), Vaea Fifita (Wellington), Mateaki Kafatolu (Petone), Du’Plessis Kirifi (Northern United), Ardie Savea (Oriental Rongotai), Galu Taufale (Poneke)

Locks: Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Marist St Pat’s), James Blackwell (Petone), Josh Furno (Western Suburbs)

Props: Alex Fidow (Oriental Rongotai), Xavier Numia (Oriental Rongotai), Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Petone), Morgan Poi (Old Boys University), Sef Fa’agase (Johnsonville)

Hookers: Asafo Aumua (Avalon), Dane Coles (Poneke), James O’Reilly (Hutt Old Boys Marist), Sitiveni Paongo (Tawa).



Former All Blacks prop Steve McDowall fears the demise of club rugby will have serious ramifications for the game in New Zealand.

McDowall, who played the last of his 46 tests for the All Blacks in 1992, coached the Marist North Harbour premier club side this season and said the experience left him wondering how NZ Rugby can help stop the decay.

“If you were looking forward you wouldn’t see much of a future for rugby in this country, to be honest,” he said.

“Twenty years from now it could be the third or fourth-ranked game.”

He also had concerns about “Development B” teams taking players out of clubs. He said provincial unions need to be mindful that they have to do all they can to support the clubs before the damage is done.

Read the full article HERE 


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