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Bond Banter 19 July (some rugby news and information to start the week)

Monday evening updates: We have reached the semi-final stages of Wellington Premier club rugby.

The two Jubilee Cup semi-finals see MSP host Norths and HOBM host Tawa. The two Hardham Cup semi-finals are between home team Petone and Johnsonville and Wainuiomata and Poneke over the hill.

Details of those semi-finals and the semi-finals in both the U85kg competition and Premier 2 Ed Chaney Cup, as well as all other rugby, to come later in the week.

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Should rugby have gone ahead on Saturday? That remains the topic of debate 48 hours on from the union’s decision to proceed.

Certainly, the images and videos of the two flagship Jubilee Cup matches being played on grounds that resembled swimming pools are not great, and while both Nairnville and the Polo Ground aren’t amongst the region’s premier venues, the ones that have had significant investment in recent years – Maidstone, William Jones, and Kilbirnie – all also struggled with the amount of water that fell.

Could, or should, those Jubilee games have been moved? Both OBU and Ories earnt the right to have those games played on their home grounds, but perhaps those games could have been shifted to the Hutt Rec and Porirua Park. The option suggested in some quarters of moving those games to Porirua Park under lights midweek had some merit but would have left the victors with an incredibly tight turnaround before facing MSP and HOBM on Saturday.

Likewise postponing them for a week was a non-starter given there isn’t a spare week in the schedule.

There’s little doubt that, given the circumstances, the WRFU Community Rugby team faced some tough decisions to be made in a very short space of time on Saturday morning and that they do deserve the benefit of the doubt for decisions being put under the microscope in hindsight.

Similarly – in Miramar at least – the very worst of the weather did not actually hit until about 10 minutes before the 2.30pm kick-off for the main game and lasted for about an hour (by which point the ground was underwater). The presentation for the Reserve Grade final went ahead in steady drizzle, but not torrential rain, at about 2.00pm.

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You can “say it aint so”, but its hard to argue with the man himself. It would seem that Jonathan Fuimaono has called time on his club career, amassing 185 appearances for his beloved OBU Goats and each of them in the uncompromising environment of the front row. An immense physical presence on the field, the four-time Jubilee Cup champion – three of those as captain – is also one of Wellington rugby’s most respected figures and an outstanding person off it. It remains a mystery to many that full representative honours eluded him, but he has been a loyal servant of Wellington Maori rugby with who he’s still got one campaign before those massive boots with the 21mm studs are hung up for good. Club Rugby congratulates him on a phenomenal career.

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In the latest edition of our returning veterans’ corner, Tomasi Palu was a surprise inclusion on OBU’s bench in their Jubilee Cup elimination game against his other former side Norths. Forced to retire mid-season a couple of years back owing to a neck complaint, Palu has been coaching since and was part of the group that helmed their Colts to yet another title on Saturday, but couldn’t repeat that later in the day as the Goats title defence came to an end.

Speaking of the OBU-Norths game. He might have had only one outing for Norths so far this season, but you could not question Du’plessis Kirifi’s commitment to his club side. Despite the elements, the Lions skipper spent most of the second half at Nairnville Park roaring on his clubmates while patrolling the dead ball line in front of the Rec centre like a caged animal would.

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Congratulations to Eastbourne’s Jesse Gordon for playing his 200th match for his team on Saturday.

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The John E Kelly Memorial Cup final went to extra time on the Hutt Rec on Saturday. In 2013 the Jubilee Cup semi-final between Ories and Hutt stretched into extra time. Ories won 30-27 but couldn’t back up in the final the next week going down to Tawa 26-21.

Since 2012 OBU have won eight of 10 Premier Colts titles and 131 out of 152 games. From 2012 to 2015 they won 37 games on the trot.

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Ironically, Norths beat OBU 13-0 on Saturday to end the Goats’ season. OBU started with an 18-0 win over Norths in the first round of the Swindale Shield in early April.

The last time OBU was held scoreless before Saturday was in Round 7 of the 2012 Swindale Shield when they were beaten by Ories 21-0. That is 180 matches ago!

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An unbeaten season for the Ories Vatos, who were proud winners of the Reserve Grade Division 1 title on Saturday. It was raining steadily but they played most of the first half as if it were a fine day, throwing it around and counterattacking from deep. They led 28-0 at halftime and went on to win 38-10. Credit to beaten finalists Poneke who never gave up and played well for long periods playing into the wind in the second half.

Some Vatos after their presentation on Saturday. We have video clips of all the tries and some more photos of this final – hoping to publish all this content here on Tuesday.

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A four-week suspension for Marist St Pat’s second-five Isaiah Petelo, for his reckless high shot last week against Ories. This will take him out of MSP’s possible next two games, so a backline re-jig will have to be made.

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Condolences to Ories players Alex Fidow and Jonty Bird and their family and friends for losing their mother Ana, who has passed away after a short illness.

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Oddest moment of yesterday’s Wellington Pride game? When fullback Thamsyn Newton was subbed off after 60 minutes and immediately headed for the changing rooms. The reason? She needed to get to a White Ferns camp. Who said rugby and cricket couldn’t clash in mid-July?

The reason for that clash though? It goes back to yesterday morning when the Otago teams flight out of Dunedin was cancelled, forcing them into a changed plan that saw them overnight in Christchurch rather than Wellington and with their arrival delayed until today, kick-off was pushed back from its original 11.35am.

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Some success around the country for former Wellington players in club finals over the weekend. OBU cult hero Finnbarr Kerr-Newell added to his medal collection as his North Shore club won the Harbour final, coming back in the second half to pip Takapuna 12-11, while the trio of Sam Combs (OBU), Kienan Higgins (Norths), and Olly Sapsford (Wellington) were all part of the Taradale side that beat Hastings 21-15 in the Hawke’s Bay Maddison Cup final.

It was not quite the same ending for former Tawa outside back Tom Maiava, who scored a try in the Waikato Brewery Shield decider for his Hautapu side, but it wasn’t enough as Fraser Tech prevailed 13-10.

Eden won their first Gallagher Shield title in Auckland with a 19-10 win over Grammar-Tec in the final at Eden Park. Not a single Eden player has a senior representative contract. Eden’s second XV also won the second division title, in shades of Tawa 2013.

Inglewood reclaimed the Taranaki title by beating Coastal 23-0, and Border went back-to-back in Wanganui after beating Kaierau 23-18.

Woodlands are 2021 Galbraith Shield Southland Champions after a try in overtime to clinch the game 24-23. They beat Star and Jason Rutledge (43) was captain. In 2000 he was a 22-year-old when he was part of the 2000 Woodlands team which produced an emphatic 48-12 win over Star in a Friday night Galbraith Shield final played at the Les George Oval.

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A second tier North Otago club rugby final on Saturday went 113 minutes, won 18-15 with a penalty to winning side Union.

Union and Kurow were level 5-5 after “normal” time, which were 35 minute halves, and still level, 15-15, after two 10-minute halves of extra time. They then went to golden point and it took 23 minutes for the winner to be found.

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When Fraser Tech, Waikato, and Chief’s hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho made his All Black debut it became the fourth occasion in Fraser Tech history the club won the Waikato Breweries Shield and gained a new All Black. In 1976 Doug Forsyth coached a team that won their second consecutive title and Kevin Greene and Murray Taylor became the club’s first All Blacks. In 1987 Greene was coach and the team won the competition with Paul Simonsson becoming an All Black. In 1988 Tech were once again champions and Jason Goldsmith was selected for the All Blacks. In 2021 Tech broke a decade-long drought when they beat Hautapu 13-10 in the final and Samisoni Taukei’aho became All Black 1198. Furthermore, he became the first hooker to score twice on debut.

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Australia beat France 33-30 with 14 men for 76 minutes. In 1925 the All Blacks beat England 17-11 in London doing the exact same thing. Cyril Brownlie became the first man in international rugby to be sent off in the fourth minute, yet the victors still won.

The red card to Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete for making contact with the French opponent’s head in an ‘illegal head clash’ was by all quarters seen as fairly harsh. Moments later this:

https://twitter.com/snorkymortlock/status/1416348619226025986

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Former Upper Hutt midfielder Dave Rennie has won three tests as Wallabies coach, all of them in Brisbane. Australia have won nine tests in a row in Brisbane.Noah Lolesio kicked 17 out of 18 for the Wallabies in the French series, including 15 in a row. Melvyn Jaminet only missed a single kick for France too.

The All Blacks and the Wallabies play a three-test series for the Bledisloe Cup on 7 August, 21 August and 28 August in Auckland, Perth and Wellington respectively.

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A mystery – at least to us – has been solved. The curious case of TJ Perenara being overlooked for the All Blacks for their first campaign of the year. Surely it was not out of spite for toying with them (or at least the MSM media) about playing rugby league? Coach Ian Foster said this weekend that he was ineligible having not played a game in New Zealand up to that point in the season after a stint in Japan’s Top League with the NTT Red Hurricanes. This shows the value of providing team and player information in media/stakeholder releases (see our commentary on these below). UPDATE: Perenara has been named in the All Blacks squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

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The British & Irish Lions beat the Stormers 49-3 this weekend, ahead of the first test against the Springboks at the same venue this coming weekend. At the same time, A South Africa A side lost 14-17 to the Bulls in a warm-up match, while several players are battling Covid-19.

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Ardie Savea celebrated his 50th test with a try but was under the microscope by the MSM rugby media for not wearing a mouthguard during the All Blacks’ 60-13 win over Fiji.

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A fast start by defending Farah Palmer Cup champions Canterbury, thrashing Counties 59-12. Kendra Cocksedge scored 20 points leaving her a dozen short of becoming the first woman in New Zealand history to score 1,000 first class points.

At least three of Canterbury’s tries came from kick and chases and all were the result of swift, sharp play. The Pride beat Otago 13-5 unconvincingly yesterday, so will have to be at full strength and on their guard all match if they want to compete with Canterbury when they meet in Christchurch in a fortnight.

Auckland’s set-piece attack was the difference in them beating Bay of Plenty 44-12. The run of play in that match was closer than the scoreline shows, but a second half sin-binning to a BoP player proved costly as the floodgates opened at that point.

A subtle change picked up in the Women’s NPC teams this year, with an additional reserve now named in their match line-ups. The professional men’s game has had eight reserves for several years now, but the women’s has increased from 22 to 23 players per side.

Women’s NPC draws & results HERE

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The Wellington Orcas female rugby league side named last week was a who’s who of former and fringe Wellington Pride players and current Wellington Women’s club rugby players.

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With the start of the representative season, and in particular the Women’s NPC competition, it is interesting to compare and contrast the state of respective provincial unions’ communications.

Many unions are sending our media and stakeholder releases with their squad and team namings and the usual information and statistics and comments from the coaches, and of course match details, detailed within. Late last week Canterbury and Bay of Plenty even put out their own stories introducing some of their new players and sent these out dressed up as media releases. Taranaki have been promoting their upcoming match at Pukekura Park, aka Martin Crowe Oval, with regularity (although this one will be to pump their cash cow match for the season with Yarrow Stadium out of action). But with other unions, a graphic on Instagram and Facebook suffices. Each union to their own, but some of the differences in communications are quite telling.

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Two titles this year for Paremata-Plimmerton, with their Women’s and now Colts winning tier two final deciders. Good going for a club who’s Premier team went winless this season.

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Visit and bookmark the Hurricanes Youth Council’s website for news and information and schedules with the represesntiave season just around the corner. The HYRC’s first competition for 2021 is the Hurricanes Under 20 Cup, which kicks-off on Saturday, 31 July. The website is a useful resource for all those involved in Hurricanes Youth Rugby.

Website link here: http://www.hyrc.org.nz/

 

The Mystery Morrison terraces at Nairnville Park weren’t a particularly pleasant place to be on Saturday.

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More photos galleries posted after the weekend. More to come. Visit and bookmark this page at: https://clubrugby.smugmug.com/2021 

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This Monday column is a collaborative one with a few contributors. If you have news or information or something to contribute please email editor@clubrugby.co.nz 

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