Two weeks to go.
The countdown is on to the start of the start of the Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu Premier club rugby seasons on Saturday 21 March.
Many clubs throughout the Hurricanes region and lower North Island are in action this weekend against opposition from outside their region.
Top billing is the Wellington Axemen and Nelson clash at Hataitai Park, as both clubs kick off their 150th seasons, while Poneke host New Plymouth club Tukapa at Ian Galloway Park for the Zemba Cup, which the two clubs first played for in 1939 and for many years was an annual match.
Elsewhere in Wellington, there are squad hit-outs between Norths and the Upper Hutt Rams, Wainuiomata and Ories and Tawa and Paremata-Plimmerton.
There is a pre-season fixture at Petone’s North Park between Heartland clubs Waikanae and Martinborough, preceeded by a game of three halves match between the Petone Ponies Women and Paremata-Plimmerton and HOBM women.
The New Zealand Marist Spillane tournament is in Napier, featuring the Marist St Pat’s and Hutt Old Boys Marist clubs. The two Wellington clubs and the two Hawke’s Bay clubs, hosts Napier Old Boys Marist Marist and Hastings Rugby & Sports, clash in Saturday’s semi-finals with the winner of each match meeting in the Division 1 final on Sunday. HOBM’s Colts and Women’s teams are also in action, with the Colts playing Auckland Marist on day one and the Presidents meeting a local combined team in a non-competition match.
On the other side of the island, Johnsonville head to New Plymouth to play Spotswood in their annual clash against them. Spotswood are the Taranaki champions so this will be a tough early season clash for the Hawks.
In representative rugby, the Hurricanes Hunters play the Blues A in their match at Evans Bay Park at 1.00pm, ahead of the Hurricanes and Blues sides meeting in Super Rugby later in the evening.
Games this Saturday a glance (all matches and kickoff times subject to change, check club social media pages for confirmation):
- Wellington Axemen Colts v Poneke Colts at Hataitai Park, 11:00am
- Wellington Axemen Under 13 v Nelson RFC at Hataitai Park, 1:00pm
- Wellington Axemen Premier v Nelson RFC at Hataitai Park, 1.45pm
- Northern United Colts v Upper Hutt Rams Colts at Porirua Park 3, 11:30am
- Northern United Premier v Upper Hutt Rams Premier, at Porirua Park 3, 1:00pm
- Petone Women v Hutt Old Boys Marist Women & Paremata-Plimmerton Women at North Park, 11:30am
- Martinborough v Waikanae at North Park, 1:00pm
- Poneke Premier Squad v Tukapa at Ian Galloway Park 1, 1:30pm
- Wainuiomata Colts v Petone Colts at Mary Crowther Park, 12:00pm
- Old Boys University Colts Green v Old Boys University Colts Black at Boyd Wilson, 2:00pm
- Wainuiomata Premiers v Oriental Rongotai Premiers, at Mary Crowther Park, 1:00pm
- Paremata-Plimmerton Premiers v Tawa Premiers, Aotea College 1:00pm
- Hutt Old Boys Marist Colts v Auckland Marist Colts at Napier, 12.00pm
- Marist St Pat’s Premiers v Napier Old Boys Marist at Napier, 3.00pm
- Hutt Old Boys Marist Premiers v Hastings Rugby & Sports at Napier, 3.00pm
- Johnsonville Premiers v Spotswood Premiers at New Plymouth, 2.00pm
- Hurricanes Hunters v Blues As at Evans Bay Park, 1.00pm
- Hurricanes v Blues at Wellington Stadium, 7.05pm
Teamlists for the Wellington Axemen versus Nelson match are:
Nelson RFC Wellington FC
1. Kershawl Sykes-Martin 1. Tevita Falekakala
2. Brendan Asuma Goodman 2. Raimona Tapiata
3. Isaac Salmon 3. Joe Reid
4.Shiloh Edmonds 4. Ben Strowger-Turnoch
5. Conor Rhind 5.Tom Robinson
6. Larry Banse 6. Josh Michael
7. Connor Higgins 7. Gabriel Wilson
8. Isaiah Miller 8. Xavier Smith (captain)
9.Matthew Soper 9. Isaac Bracewell
10. Riaihe Rangihaeata 10. Jake Sargood
11. Ben Faing’aanuku 11 Tim Kerins
12. Chris Kerslake 12 Matt Goosen
13. Paddy Miller Leef 13 Jayden KIni
14. Neo Milligan-Richard 14 Paea Tohunu
15. Navarre Harbour 15 Tomo Kishioka
16. Dylan Turnbull 16 Anthony Wanakore
17. Blair Robertson 17 Malifa Chapman
18. Luhan Arangies 18 Ty Adams
19.Cody Dellaca 19 Teo Fudakowski
20. Viliami Akauola 20 Tim Kerins
21. Isaiah Malaulau 21 Te Aranga Hakiwai
22.Rico Joass 22 Satch Pryor
Coach Kade Heke 23 Max Allen
Physio Dave Egelstaff 24 Will Cosgriff
Manager Chris Pugh Coach Richard Deck
Asst Manager Brett Newcombe Assistant coaches; Jason Bird,