Another month is drawing to a close, but before it does there is a banquet of rugby coming up over the next several days.
This sumptuous rugby experience starts this Thursday when the Wellington Lions play the Counties Manukau Stadium Steelers at Wellington Stadium for the Jonah Lomu Trophy (more on that at the bottom) and in round four of the National Provincial Championship competition. The Lions are coming off a 23-22 win over Canterbury and the Steelers lost to Waiktao 26-31. NPC Draws & Results HERE
On Saturday, the Wellington Pride start their Women’s NPC campaign with a season opener against Canterbury in Christchurch. Farah Palmer Cup Draws & Results HERE
There is also a full day of representative rugby this coming Saturday, including a double header of representative fixtures at Porirua Park between the Wellington U19s and Development sides against Hawke’s Bay opposition. More coming later in the week in our previews.
A strong Wellington flavour Manu Samoa‘s latest squad for a pair of upcoming matches ahead of the naming of their RWC squad. Eight players with ties to the region have been named, comprising Motu Matu’u (Ories), Kane Lea’upepe (Jville/Ories), TJ Ioane (OBU), Jack Lam (Ories), Henry Stowers (Wainuiomata), Ray Lee-Lo (MSP), Alapati Leiua (Norths), and Belgium Tuatagaloa (Petone).
A more recent Wellington player experiencing success overseas is Paremata-Plimmerton’s Blake Neve. Currently domiciled in Sweden the first-five/fullback has been playing for Kalmar in the country’s south-east, with the side having gone through their league season undefeated.
Some players just have great records at some grounds. Former Bishop Viard College and current Palmerston North Boys High prop Nasser Tato is one. Including his Beard Trophy games there for his old school, PNBHS’s upset 24-22 win over Scots ran Tato’s record at Porirua Park to 8 wins and no defeats!
Maybe we were a little hasty in our 5 games of the year in last weeks Awards article. Saturday saw the Paremata-Plimmerton Punters and OBU Pink Ginners play out a classic semi-final in the Reserve Grade Division 2, with five lead changes throughout. The Ginners scored late, but missed both that conversion and an even later penalty, and were hot again on attack when the ball was lost forward in the shadow of the posts.
The top seed Upper Hutt Rams J8’s beat the MSP Internationals in the other semi-final, so the last trophy of the club season will be determined at Maoribank Park this coming Saturday afternoon.
In 1966 there were 43 teams split into three grades playing the WRFU’s U19 club competition.
Ten of the Scots College starting XV that played St Pat’s Silverstream in the final last weekend can return to school next year and another four are on the bench. They have recruited well.
Past Billy Wallace Best and Fairest winner Shahn Eru made an early impression for former French champion club Perpignan in the opening match of the Pro D2 season against Beziers finishing off this sweeping move.
#PROD2 | L'image de la J1
🔥Le premier essai de la saison ! Une remontée de 90 mètres avec 11 joueurs de l'@usap_officiel qui touchent le ballon sur cette action 🤝
Un magnifique mouvement collectif conclu derrière la ligne par Shahn Eru 🙌 pic.twitter.com/lBxYUNWsEm
— Rugby PRO D2 (@rugbyprod2) August 23, 2019
Eru – who jointly won the Best & Fairest with Ardie Savea in 201? – is one of three former Wellington players at Perpignan, who were relegated from the Top 14 last season and two years ago, along with his Wainuiomata clubmate Genesis Mamea and former Norths, Ories, and St Pats Town prop Eric Sione.
Palmerston North BHS rallied from 17-0 down at halftime to beat Scots in the Hurricanes regional First XV semi-final on Saturday. In 2014 Scots recovered from 17-0 down to beat the same opposition in the Hurricanes Regional final.
The Hurricanes have signed halfbacks Jamie Booth and Jonathan Taumateine for the next two Investec Super Rugby seasons.
The pair replace Richard Judd and Finlay Christie, with the former leaving the Hurricanes to take up a contract in Japan while the latter signed for the Blues.
Booth, who was schooled at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, is no stranger to the Hurricanes having been a member of the wider training squad in 2016 before returning in 2018 when he made eight appearances.
The 24-year-old left the capital to play for the Sunwolves in the 2019 where he established himself as their first choice halfback.He has also returned to Manawatu to play in the National Provincial Championship.
Taumateine, 22, has taken the opportunity to move south after previously representing the Chiefs.
The former Samoa and New Zealand Under-20 representative has impressed in recent seasons with Counties Manukau.
The Westpac Stadium annual report is due, which will show the official audited attendances for 2018/19. The bottom three attendances ever at the Stadium for the Lions before last season were :
- 16 September 2016 Mitre 10 Cup: Wellington Lions v Bay of Plenty 1,713
- 18 Aug 2011 ITM Cup: Wellington vs Southland 1,702
- 17 September 2015 ITM Cup: Wellington Lions vs Otago 1,655
Friday night’s match not being well attended despite it being in theory the most high profile opponent for the season. This single game record and the season average low of 2,556 could both be under pressure.
“England’s chariot running like a dream heading into the World Cup.” England dispatched Ireland in their RWC warm-up match on the weekend. What does this mean for their respective fortunes at the tournament? Read more HERE
Above: Mike Lewis Pictures gets a good sequence reel of Vince Aso’s try on Friday night.
Below: The Lions and the Steelers meet for the Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy on Thursday – here is Lomu in the 2000 NPC final: