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Short Passes 17 February

Some good work by the Hurricanes on Saturday night against the Sharks in their 38-22 win.

In particular by starting hooker Asafo Aumua (above), who could be a set for a big year. As well as having a storming 48 minutes around the field (before being making way for Dane Coles), Aumua’s lineout throwing was on point.

Jackson Garden-Bachop and Du Plessis-Kirifi also played well against the Sharks, who the previous week had thrashed the Highlanders 42-20.


Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes Hunters beat the Crusaders Development side 57-17.

Nine different players scored their tries and many players had compelling games, including all three starting loose forwards Brayden Iose, Josh Southall and Devan Flanders (see below).

Iose and Southall are both shaping for big years coming back from the injury trail. Former Palmerston North Boys’ High School player and NZ Secondary Schools captain in 2016, Iose has had a terrible run of injuries, while Southall missed much of last year with a pre-season knee injury and will be looking for a big year with his new club Petone.

A reshuffle to the Hurricanes team later that evening owing to the late withdrawal of Reed Princep saw Flanders come on to the bench, and after playing 70 minutes at full throttle for the Hunters played another 10 or so for the Canes’ top team.

The Hurricanes have a bye this coming weekend, before the Hurricanes roadshow rolls into Napier on Saturday 29 March at 4.45pm to play the Sunwolves and the Hunters playing the curtain-raiser.


New Zealand Rugby announced the names of 52 trialists for the upcoming U20 Development camp in Palmerston North, ahead of selection for the team to play in the U20 World Cup in July. Twelve players with current, past, or soon-to-be connections to Wellington have been named in the 52-strong training group for this years national U20s programme. Forwards dominate the local contingent. The Wellington players are:

Tyrone Thompson (MSP)
Caleb Delany (OBU)
Taine Plumtree (OBU)
Iona Apineru (UHR)
Josh Southall (UHR)
Sam Smith (WoA)
Shamus Hurley-Langton (OBU)
Aiden Morgan (club TBC)
Roderick Solo (Ories)
Reuben Love (club TBC)
Harrison Boyle (Otago, formerly St Pat’s Silverstream)
Tom Martin (Waikato, plays for MSP)
Not considered due to injury:
Kienan Higgins (Northern United)


Unfortunately sometimes at Short Passes we have to pass on unfortunate news, and this is one of those occasions, with the passing of Cormac Ryan in his native Ireland last week. Ryan played for the Poneke Premier Reserves across the past two seasons, and is remembered by Club Rugby as “a hard nut prop, but one who played the game fairly and a great bloke for the chat on and off the field.”

Our condolences to his family and friends, Poneke, and those of his home club in Ireland, Midleton RFC in Cork.


The Warriors rugby league nines team that competed at the Perth NRL Nines this past Friday and Saturday featured none other than Rocco Berry, who was in the St Pat’s Silverstream First XV last year. It was a far from happy start however, with the Warriors well-beaten in both their outings.


All Blacks Assistant Coach John Plumtree was a welcome visitor at OBU pre-season training last week:


The annual Shannon 7s tournament is coming up on 29 February – on the iconic Shannon Domain. Spots still open, and a Women’s division this year. For more visit HERE


This coming Saturday sees the annual Hawke’s Bay 7s tournament hosted by the Central Hawke’s Bay Rugby & Sports Club in Waipukurau> Draw and details to come later this week.


A short wrap of this past weekend’s Super Rugby from an Australian perspective:

As Australian rugby keeps its fingers crossed for an improved broadcast deal, this was not the weekend Rugby Australia administrators were after.

The Brumbies and Reds were both in positions to win their respective matches over the Highlanders and Jaguares, only for a lack of discipline — perhaps some dubious refereeing in some cases — and a lack of experience seeing both sides slip to heart-breaking defeats.

Those losses saw the collective cross-conference record of the four Australian teams slip to 0-6 for 2020.

Elsewhere, there were wins for the Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Stormers and Rebels; Dave Wessels’ side on the board courtesy of their 24-10 win over the Waratahs.

Read more HERE 


Last week Hamish Bidwell, formerly of the Dominion Post and RNZ and now with Rugby Pass, opined with this:

New Zealand Rugby’s day of reckoning isn’t far off.

Whether it’s precipitated by South Africa’s potential withdrawal from Sanzaar is a moot point. The fact is the game in this country is now unable to sustain itself at any level and radical change is required.

It’s not good enough for NZR to bankrupt itself to meet the wage demands of its elite players. And it’s definitely not good enough to then reward the pampered few with rest weeks and sabbaticals.

Community rugby in this country is dying of neglect at a time when some of our better All Blacks, despite annual salaries to $800,000 to $1 million, demand time off to keep them enthused.

Whether South Africa does or doesn’t go in 2026, or sooner, NZR has to change. The current model, with its reliance on TV money and emphasis on the All Blacks at the expense of all else, is no longer fit for purpose.

Read more HERE 

  • View 15 years of rugby photos from the ground up HERE 
  • 2020 – #rugbyfightsback – more to come.

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