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Short Passes 25 November – rugby news and happenings

A balmy day at Porirua Park on Saturday for the second annual Wellington Provincial 7s tournament.

A small group of teams took part in what was a warm-up event for this coming weekend’s Central 7s qualifiers in Levin (and in the case of Canterbury, the Southern qualifiers in Timaru).

Wellington fielded two men’s and two women’s teams, with both given strenuous workouts by the visitors, in particular the Canterbury men’s and Manawatu women’s sides. The men’s tournament was a round-robin affair, while the women’s had a final that went down to the wire with scores locked at 17-17 before the Cyclones flew through to score the winner on fulltime.

A preview and draw for the Central 7s will be posted on this website later this week.


The NZSS Secondary Schools Condor 7s is this coming weekend in Auckland. We will preview this here later this week.


A group of current Wellington players and some ex-First XV players from Wellington have been named as part of a 100-strong group of players for three camps NZ U20 camps.

The players selected for the Wellington-based camp are:

Tyrone Thompson Wellington
Taine Plumtree Wellington
Caleb Delany Wellington
Keelan Whitman Wellington
Iona Apineru Wellington
Josh Southall Wellington
Sam Smith Wellington
Shaymus Langton Hurley Wellington
Kienan Higgins Wellington
Ethan Webster Nonu Wellington
Roderick Solo Wellington
Ruben Love Wellington
Patrick Teddy Hawkes Bay
Lattrell Smiler Ah Kiong Hawkes Bay
Ben Strang Manawatu
TK Howden Manawatu
Jason Myers Manawatu
Tyler Laubscher Manawatu
Stewart Cruden Manawatu
Josiah Maruku Manawatu
Drew Wild Manawatu
James Bolton Otago
Harrison Boyle Otago

Other players in other camps include (Aiden Morgan, ex King’s College in Auckland, joining the WRFU Academy and club yet to be revealed in 2020), Chris Hemi (BoP) and Luke Donaldson (Canterbury).


Joanah Ngan-Woo starts at lock and Amanda Rasch at first five-eighth in Tuesday’s match in Fiji between the Black Ferns Development XV and Papua New Guinea.

The development side has two wins from two matches beating Fiji in their opening match 53-0, and Australia A 50-0 last week.


An awards dinner middle of last week by the WRFU. This was the end of year representative awards, celebrating the Wellington Lions and Wellington Pride and all Representative teams and players and coaches involved this year. Short Passes missed the media release. Nevertheless, congratulations on the winners.


The second annual ‘Red Bull 7s Ignite’ tournament was played in Auckland this past weekend, featuring almost 100 of the country’s leading young sevens rugby prospects. Of course, most are already well known about so it is little more than a made-for-TV event. However, at the end of the day, the NZRU released six names who have claimed a place at the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens National Development Camp. These players are: Grace Kukutai, Renee Holmes, Isla Norman-Bell (girls) and Roderick Solo, Joel Cobb and Jona Mataiciwa (boys). Solo (Scots College) and Ropati So’oalo (Aotea College) were in the ‘Inferno’ team that won the tournament.


The Upper Hutt Rams didn’t get their man. Dave Rennie will be coaching the Wallabies next year instead.

Rennie will complete his commitments with the Glasgow Warriors before joining the Wallabies in July next year on a three-and-a-half year contract, which will take him through to the 2023 World Cup in France.

As a player, Rennie won the Swindale Shield with Upper Hutt in 1990.

As a professional coach, Rennie has two decades of success under his belt.

After guiding the Wellington Lions to a first NPC title in 14 years in 2000 – and their last top flight title – Rennie steered the New Zealand Under-20s to three consecutive world titles from 2008 to 2010, a successful coaching pathway that led him to the Chiefs as head coach in 2012.

Rennie achieved immediate success with the Chiefs, guiding the Hamilton-based side to back to back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013. They played in the finals in each of the six seasons Rennie was in charge.


More Wellington teams announcing their coaching set-ups for 2020, such as Old Boys University:

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2020 Old Boys University Coaching Announcements There is a new head coach who is also an old head coach! We welcome back Jamie Williams to the role of head coach. Jamie played significant roles in the 2016, 2017 & 2018 Jubilee cup victories and will enjoy popular support from the whole club. The assistant coach is Michael Barnes. Barnesy has been involved in OBU for a long time now including being part of the coaching teams during recent jubilee successes and multiple titles with Colts Green. Heading up the management team again this year is Hayden ‘Smithy’ Smith. Smithy is fired up and keen to make 2020 one of our best seasons ever! Premier Women Coaching Announcement Co-Coaches: Tara Horsnell & Mark Tapsell Manager: Lisa Crawford Premier Reserve Coaching Announcement Co-Coaches: Paul Swift & Greg Mullany Manager: Tracy Smith Colts Green Coaching Announcement Head Coach: Dallas Paotonu Assistant Coaches: Mark Brewis Manager: Maree Chiver

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The Taranaki Rugby Football Union were first union out of the blocks last week in announcing their 2020 club rugby draw.

Defending champions Spotswood United will be at home in the first week of next year’s Taranaki Premier club rugby draw.

 Spotswood, who won the premier division for the first time after beating Coastal at Yarrow Stadium in July, will host Stratford/Eltham at the same venue when the competition begins on 28 March 2020.

A total of 14 regular season rounds will be played with eight teams competing for the silverware in the premier competition.

The Division 1 and Colts draws will mirror the premier competition.

Semi-finals will be held on Saturday 4 July with club finals day to be played on Saturday 11 July at Inglewood’s TET Stadium.

An alarmingly short club season, especially if you don’t make the semi-finals.



Who has the biggest boot in club rugby?

Winners of the Red Bull Force Back qualifier will earn the right to attend the Red Bull Force Back national final at Coastal Rugby Club, Taranaki to take on the best teams in the country to be crowned NZ’s best!  The NZ champs will then play Beauden Barrett and his mates in an exhibition.

Read more HERE


A poignant piece by Peter Lampp in last week’s Manawatu Standard – full article HERE 

While three weeks have elapsed since the Rugby World Cup, a red-and-white cloud hovers threateningly over the New Zealand game.

Already masses of Kiwi players play overseas and you could add 80 to 100 to that if an expansive Japanese league takes off.

Japan’s vice-president got all excited by the World Cup fervour and revealed a $730 million war chest to bankroll a new competition separate from the 16-team corporate competition.

That would more than make up for the absence of the Sunwolves, which are to be biffed from Super Rugby from 2021.

The Brave Blossoms and Sunwolves could not get by without naturalised aliens beefing them up and in a new grand league, many more mercenaries would be recruited.

The current corporate clubs employ unlimited foreigners, but may have only two capped and three uncapped players on the field. For New Zealand’s talent, nearby Japan will be more enticing than enduring the gloom of European winters.

Our Super Rugby players with All Black aspirations bank sufficient coin to stay put, so it’s NPC men who would be vulnerable, such as Manawatū Turbos-level part-timers earning an average of $30,000.

The new 12-team league geared to run from August 2021 would directly clash with the Mitre 10 Cup.

The Japanese have declared they will target southern hemisphere players, which means they will cherry-pick the best of the New Zealand and Australian second tiers and Pasifikas who don’t have the funds to hold them.

Japan would also want a few stars, perhaps All Blacks to flit in on their holidays, also known as sabbaticals.

Another latent threat is the expanding American Major League Rugby, which next year will have three new teams to take it to 12, with Ma’a Nonu joining the San Diego Legion.

MLR with its broadcasting deals has the potential to take off. The Americans are beating New Zealand in the sevens game now.

We will never foot it financially with Japan and its 127 million. At this rate New Zealand might run out of cattle and there’s nothing we’ll be able to do about it other than reverting to amateurism – in our dreams.


And from the Sydney Morning Herald at the start of this week:

Foxtel is threatening to sever its two-decade relationship with rugby union, with the pay TV giant withdrawing its bid for key broadcast rights that could deal the struggling code another blow.

Senior Foxtel sources confirmed it had withdrawn its offer for the five-year rights to the Super Rugby competition, the National Rugby Championships and Wallabies Tests. However, they said there was still a chance the pay TV company and Rugby Australia could reach a deal.

The Herald understands Optus has expressed interest in the broadcast rights, potentially looking to expand their digital live sport offering with a deal worth in the ballpark of $30 million per year.


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We love props 👊🏽😂 #rugby #proplife #props

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