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Swindale Shield by the numbers

  • By Steven White and Adam Julian

The top try scorers at the end of the first round – Luca Rees is the Swindale Shield’s top try scorer for three of the past four years. See below for more.

The closing chapter of the first round has been written and the Swindale Shield takes pride of place in the Cambridge Hotel for the next 12 months.

The Old Boys University Goats have won their third Swindale Shield, following their maiden win in 2016 and their second in 2017.

OBU and MSP finished equal on 56 points but OBU take the 2021 title because they won 20-18 in their head-to-head meeting in Round 5. MSP had the superior points differential record, having scored 532 points in 13 matches and conceded 168 against OBU’s 494 points for and 168 against – the same points against tally.

In 2016 OBU went on to finish fifth in the Jubilee Cup and in 2017 kicked on to win the championship title as well.

OBU’s Swindale/Jubilee double win in 2017 is just one of five seasons since 2000 that the Swindale Shield winner has gone on to win the Jubilee Cup later that same season. The others in this period were MSP in 2008 (Jubilee shared with Norths), Norths in 2006 and 2010 and Tawa in 2013. Can OBU add to this record? We will find out on the afternoon of Saturday 31 July when this year’s final takes place.

OBU are the defending Jubilee Cup champions as well, so seven teams will spend the next month plotting their path past them and to championship glory.

A look at the final points table from this year’s Swindale Shield sees the top eight and bottom six sides that will start the respective Jubilee and Hardham Cup rounds the same teams as last year. There is movement up and down from last year amongst the top 8 teams, but places 9, 10 and 11 stay the same and the bottom four clubs stay the same and it’s just their finishing order that changes.

2020 Swindale finishing order and points 2021 Swindale finishing order and points Change year-to -year
Marist St Pat’s 55 OBU 56 +3
Petone 50 Marist St Pat’s 56 -1
Norths 49 Ories 50 +4
OBU 49 HOBM 47 +3
Tawa 49 Norths 46 -2
HOBM 46 Tawa 43 -1
Ories 36 Petone 41 -5
Wainuiomata 34 Wainuiomata 34
Poneke 27 Poneke 26
Upper Hutt Rams 20 Upper Hutt Rams 24
Johnsonville 16 Wellington 14 +2
Pare-Plim 13 Johnsonville 13 -1
Wellington 12 Avalon 8 +1
Avalon 2 Pare-Plim 2 -2

The biggest rise in places year-on-year from 2020 was Ories who have gone from seventh to third and the biggest drop is Petone who fall from second to seventh.

Wainuiomata finished on the same points as they did last year – 34. In 2020 Wainuiomata arrived at 34 points having had 7 wins and 6 losses and having scored 310 points and conceded 381. In 2021 they won 7 and lost 6 and scored 314 points and conceded 344.

Ories ended the first round as Bill Brien Challenge Cup holders, and will defend it next in their first home game of the Jubilee Cup round, but this won’t be this weekend as they play MSP away.

As noted above, second placed MSP has the best for and against record through the first 13 rounds of the 2021 season. They have scored 532 points. This is fewer than the 558 they scored to win the title last year and more than the 516 points 2018 Swindale champions Norths scored in 13 games, more than the 494 and 447 points 2016 and 2017 winners OBU scored in 13 games. In comparison, Norths in 2010 scored 546 points in 11 games.

MSP scored the most tries in the first round with 79, ahead of Norths with 74, OBU with 69, Ories with 62 and Tawa with 57.

MSP scored 50 points or more in a match on three occasions and reached the 40s on five other occasions. Their lowest score in a match was 18, the game they lost to OBU that ultimately decided the first-round silverware. Marist St Pats lost two games by a combined margin of three points.

At the other end of the table, winless Paremata-Plimmerton conceded 589 points and scored 175.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the bottom placed team lost every game, following on from Johnsonville in 2018 and 2019 and Avalon in 2020.

Pare-Plim were bottom in 2017, but drew a game and lost their rest, while Johnsonville and Pare-Plim were bottom in 2015 and 2016 and lost every game. So the last time a team finished bottom but still won a game in the round was Wellington in 2014.

Paremata-Plimmerton, Johnsonville and Avalon have all lost 32 games since 2019.

Overall, a cumulative total of 4,771 points were scored in the 91 games of this year’s Swindale Shield, at an average of 52.4 points per game.

There were 674 tries scored in this year’s Swindale Shield, at an average of 7.4 tries per match.

The fewest tries scored in a single round was 26 in round 11 (and forwards scored 13 of those tries). The most tries in a round was 60 in round 9.

The three highest scores by the winning team in this year’s Swindale were MSP’s 80-3 win over Avalon in round 10, OBU’s 78-12 win over Avalon in round 9 and Norths’ 76-6 win over Pare-Plim in round 5.

The three lowest scoring games by aggregate were Petone’s 12-0 win over Tawa in the opening round (12 points), Wellington’s 8-7 win over Pare-Plim in round 10 (15) and Poneke’s 11-5 defeat of Johnsonville in round 11 (16).

The highest score posted by a losing side in the first round was 37, by Tawa in their 37-39 loss to HOBM in round 10.

There were two draws in this year’s Swindale Shield. Ories and Tawa drew 19-19 in round 2 and HOBM and the Upper Hutt Rams drew 26-26 in round 13.

There were three matches that were decided by just one point, these being Petone’s 18-17 win over Poneke in round 2, Wainuiomata’s 25-24 win over Norths in round 7 and Wellington’s 8-7 edging of Pare-Plim in round 10.

OBU and Ories have won the same number of games (87) in the Swindale Shield since the start of 2011.

Individually, Norths No. 8 Luca Rees was the top try-scorer with 13 tries. Rees started at the back of the scrum in all 13 of Norths matches and he scored two tries in a match on three occasions.

Rees has topped the try scoring charts three times in the last four years (see table below). He has scored 52 tries between 2018 and 2021.

Another loose forward, James Tuia (MSP), was second with 12 tries, ahead of his teammate and outside back Ryan Setefano with 11.

In his last 44 games James Tuia has scored 36 tries.

Three of the top six individual try scorers were forwards.

The top points scorer in the first round was OBU fullback Sam Reid with 153 points, more than HOBM’s Brandyn Laursen with 141, Norths’ Dale Sabbagh with 129 and Petone’s Carne Green with 103.

Brandyn Laursen has finished as second top points scorer three times and topped the Swindle Shield individual points table in 2013.

There were 15 individual hat-tricks scored in the first round Swindale Shield.

Two of these hat-trick bags included instances of a player scoring four tries or more in a match. These two players were MSP’s James Tuia who scored 4 tries against Poneke in round 4 and Petone’s Riley Higgins who crossed for 4 tries against Pare-Plim in round 9.

As well as these match hauls of three tries or more there were a further 70 instances of a player scoring two tries or more in a match. Several of these braces were scored in the same match, but an entire round (round 11) saw no doubles at all.

There were 11 instances of a player scoring 20 or more points in one match. The leading three hauls were Alex Ropeti scoring 28 points for OBU against Avalon in round nine (in top points scorer Sam Reid’s absence), Reid scoring 26 points for OBU against Pare-Plim in round 8 and Dale Sabbagh scoring 25 points for Norths against Avalon in round 2.

Special mention to Josh Robertson-Weepu, who is joint fourth on this list (with MSP’s Andrew Wells) with him scoring 23 points for Wainuiomata in a losing cause against HOBM (lost 23-28) in round 5.

The leading try-scorers from each of the first rounds over the past 15 Swindale Shields have been:

Year Top try scorer (s) Number of tries
2007 Francis Seumanutafa (Norths) 11
2008 Sinoti Sinoti (Norths) 11
2009 Alapati Leiua (Norths) 17
2010 Buxton Popoalii (Norths) 18
2011 Jason Woodward (Upper Hutt) 8
2012 Tupeni Kamakorewara (HOBM) 11
2013 Sosi Tuimavavae (Poneke), Jason Love (Wainuiomata) 10
2014 Chase Tiatia (HOBM) 9
2015 Afa Fa’atau (Ories), Fereti Soloa (HOBM), Telea Seumanutafa (Tawa) 10
2016 Paddy Hughes (Wellington) 13
2017 Michael Sage (Poneke) 12
2018 Luca Rees (Ories) 17
2019 Luca Rees (Ories) 16 (10-match competition)
2020 Losi Filipo (Norths) 13
2021 Luca Rees (Norths) 13

Note that between 2007-15 inclusive it was an 11-round competition, in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 it was a 13-match competition and in 2019 a 10-match first round series.

The leading points scorers from each of the past 15 Swindale Shields have been:

Year Top points scorer (s) Number of points
2007 Jonathan Bentley (HOBM) 105
2008 Fa’atonu Fili (MSP) 141
2009 James Proctor (Ories) 171
2010 James So’oialo (Norths) 206
2011 Jason Woodward (Upper Hutt) 172
2012 Glen Walters (HOBM) 117
2013 Brandyn Laursen (HOBM) 192
2014 Fa’atonu Fili (MSP) 136
2015 James So’oialo (Tawa) 148
2016 Joyner Key (Upper Hutt Rams) 127
2017 Adam Deck (Ories) 143
2018 Glen Walters (HOBM) 177
2019 Willie Schutz (MSP) 104
2020 Logan Henry (Petone) 150
2021 Sam Reid (OBU) 153

Note that between 2007-15 inclusive it was an 11-round competition, in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 it was a 13-match competition and in 2019 a 10-match first round series.

Roll on the Jubilee and Hardham Cups!

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