Some thrillers to start the opening weekend of the National Provincial Championship, with the exception of two matches.
The first of these was Tasman’s 45-8 win over Wellington. The second was Bay of Plenty’s 50-7 win over Otago, after Otago had two thirds of the territory and had more possession than the Steamers.
The Lions will need to regroup quickly to beat the Hawke’s Bay Magpies in their second fixture, this coming Friday night at McLean Park, Napier.
Plenty of current and former Wellington players in action in the opening weekend of the NPC, for sides other than the Lions*
Auckland: Salesi Rayasi (Upper Hutt/HOBM), Leni Apisai (Norths), Danny Tusitala (OBU)
North Harbour: Murphy Taramai (Upper Hutt)
Counties-Manukau: Cardiff Vaega (MSP)
Taranaki: Regan Verney (OBU)
Waikato: Api Naikatini (Norths/Jville)
Canterbury: Tim Bateman (OBU)
Bay of Plenty: Chase Tiatia (HOBM), Hoani Matenga (Wellington), Luke Campbell (OBU)
Otago: Kayne Hammington (OBU), Giorgio Bower (Avalon)
Manawatu: Sam Wasley (Upper Hutt)
Hawkes Bay: Ollie Sapsford (Wellington), Sam McNicol (Petone), Joel Hintz (OBU), Tim Farrell (OBU), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poneke), Zach Donaldson (St Pats Town)
* Not counting players who were in Wellington in 2019 only because of Hurricanes allocations.
Congratulations to OBU Righteous Brothers prop Ed ‘Major’ Griffiths for playing his 200th game on Saturday for his team against the Wests Mixed Veges team in their Reserve Grade Division 2 fixture at Ian Galloway Park.
Headaches for Wellington Pride head coach Ross Bond ahead of their preseason match against Manawatu this weekend, much less their opening Farah Palmer Cup clash against champions Canterbury in less than three weeks time. Bond will definitely be without Black Fern flanker Marcelle Parkes who dislocated her shoulder in MSP’s Division 2 final win over Paremata-Plimmerton, while there are serious questions over prop Dora Laupola (broken arm) and playmaker Acacia Te Iwimate (knee) and a dozen other players are dealing with injuries to a varying degree. One bright spot though is the return of Monica Tagaoi to rugby after missing the entire club season due to a broken leg.
Two important parts of Bond’s plans excelled in the Black Ferns’ win over the Wallaroos on Saturday. Ories duo Ayesha Leti-l’iga and Joanah Ngan-Woo both got on the scoresheet; the former having a storming game on the left wing and the latter making an impression in a 10-minute cameo from the bench
Round 2 of the Hurricanes Youth Council’s Hurricanes U20 Development series was played over the weekend. On Saturday, Wairarapa-Bush beat Poverty Bay 50-14 and Horowhenua-Kapiti defeated Wanganui 58-10.
On Sunday, Wairarapa Bush won the Hurricanes U20 Cup, beating Horowhenua-Kapiti 23-22 in the final.
Wanganui beat Poverty Bay 22-17 in the playoff for third and fourth.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the Hurricanes Heartland U20 team was named to play matches against the Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu U19 teams. See the team HERE
The Wellington U19s open their account against Manawatu in Palmerston North this coming Saturday, alongside Hawke’s Bay versus the Hurricanes selection side.
What changes will the All Blacks make for Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies?
They need a new lock, who will that be? Will Beauden Barrett move to first five-eighth? Will Sonny Bill Williams start outside him?
In 1999, the All Blacks were beaten 28-7 by the Wallabies who went on to win the World Cup. The margin of victory for Australia on Saturday night was 21 points too.
Wales missed a chance to knock the All Blacks off their number one perch overnight, losing 19-33 to England. This also ended their 14-match unbeaten run. Read more HERE
Did anyone reading this watch the Wellington Lions on Saturday? What happened?
No coverage of the Wellington Lions on the Dominion Post website. Similarly, the TVNZ news didn’t carry any coverage of the opening weekend of the competition in its marquee Sunday evening bulletin, which must be a first.
The Final of the Reserve Grade Division 1 John Davies Cup is this coming weekend. The Poneke Ruffnuts versus the Upper Hutt Rams Pirates, at Kilbirnie Park.
There have been 17 red cards in Rugby World Cup history, but only Agustín Ormaechea from Uruguay saw red at the last tourney. How many reds will be issued this year given the tightening or various rules?
Tackles above the waist will be banned at the 2023 Rugby World Cup if a trial of new safety-focused laws are successful, World Rugby have announced.
Six new closed trials, including a reduction in the legal tackle height, have been approved by World Rugby’s executive committee, with tackling the main focus of the trails in a bid to reduce head injuries.
Tackles above the shoulder are illegal in the sport, but an introduction of the trials would reduce that height to the waist and below.
Tackles account for 50 percent of injuries and 76 percent of concussions, according to a comprehensive evaluation by the Law Review Group.
Another trial will mean that a goal-line drop-out rugby league style will be awarded to the defending team when an attacking player, who brings the ball into in-goal, replacing a 5-metre scrum.