- By Club Rugby contributors
MORNIN The rugby season rolls on unabated this week and this coming weekend.
Midweek First XV rugby sees Mana College and Scots College meet at Porirua Park at 5.30pm on Wednesday in the Wellington Co-ed Cup final. This is a standalone final as these teams met each other in the Premiership several weeks ago with Scots winning 54-21.
There is also a full round of schoolgirls rugby on Wednesday afternoon.
Moving into Saturday, the feature games are the Premier 2 Division 2 HD Morgan Memorial Cup semi-finals and three National Knockout U85kg matches, as well as the final round of the First XV Premiership competition.
The U85kg knockout matches see Eastbourne hosting Hutt Old Boys Marist at H.W. Shortt Park, Wellington welcoming Marist St Pat’s on to Hataitai Park and Poneke entertaining Petone at Kilbirnie Park. All games kick-off at 2.45pm.
The HD Morgan Memorial semi-finals see top qualifier Wainuiomata play Norths White at William Jones Park and Stokes Valley host the Avalon Wolves, who knocked over Petone’s second XV in their quarter-final on Saturday. Kick-off times to be confirmed, but probably 2.30pm.
The top four Premiership semi-finalists have been found, with just the order of finishing and the two semi-finals to be confirmed. First XV Premiership matches this coming Saturday at a glance are: St Pat’s Town v HIBS, Mana College v Silverstream, Rongotai v Aotea, St Bernard’s v Scots and Wellington College v Porirua. If nothing changes in the order of finishing after these games then Scots (1) would play St Pat’s Town (4) in one semi-final and Wellington College (2) will play Silverstream (3) in the other.
In other games on Saturday, the Wellington Pride play Counties Manukau at Wellington Stadium at 11.35am and the Wellington Lions play Northland at the same venue at 2.05pm – in their NPC season opener.
Psalm 36:7 – How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Kemara Hauiti-Parapara scored 26 points in the Jubilee Cup final. The previous record for most points in a final was Chris Slade who kicked all 21 points (seven penalties) in Marist St Pats’ 21-15 win against Norths at Wellington Stadium in 2009.
MSP was beaten 36-7 in the Jubilee Cup final. The biggest losing margin in finals previously was in 1998 when Wests beat Tawa 53-21 in 1998. The finals started in 1993. Petone beat MSP 27-15 in the first decider.
The 36 points Tawa scored were the third most in finals, after the 53 Wests scored against them in 1998 and the 40 [40-22] that Ories scored against Norths in 2011.
The lowest scoring final in the current century was the drawn final of 2008 between MSP and Norths that finished all square at 10-10. Unlike on Saturday, it was bitterly cold that day. In 1996, Poneke beat Wests 9-8.
The Hardham Cup is often called the “Hard Up” Cup. William Hardham is buried at Karori Cemetery and won a Victoria Cross for Bravery during WWI. Apparently, he should harden up!
In 2011 Stacey Fluher was suffering from severe leg lacerations after a logging truck ploughed into the back of her school bus, shunting it into a paddock; leaving children bleeding and broken. She helped some of the injured children off the bus, including her niece and nephew, before walking to a nearby childcare centre to phone her mum. Twenty-eight children were taken to hospitals when emergency services arrived. Then in Year 11 at high school, Fluher had just taken up rugby following in the footsteps of her friends and recalls fearfully asking her mother if she would ever play sports again. Remarkably, less than four years later she was a Black Fern and went on to become a sevens and fifteens World Champion. Now she has Olympic Gold and one of the most iconic smiles in New Zealand sport after her try!
Ardie Savea doesn’t always appear to wear a mouthguard. Send him the photo of Stacey Fluher smiling after her try in the Olympic final. They don’t look that bad do they?
Congratulations to Marist St Pat’s lock and season captain Tom Martin for being selected in Waikato’s NPC squad today. Martin missed much of the Wellington club rugby season due to injury, but he appears fit and ready for a possible NPC debut in the coming weeks. He was mostly playing lock for MSP, but the media release has him down as a loose forward in Waikato’s squad.
In their 27-9 defeat to the Springboks, the British & Irish Lions failed to score a try for the first time since 1974 against South Africa. Ironically, they won that test (the first of the 74 series) 12-3.
Marist St Pat’s won more games (13) than any other club in 2021. They outscored Tawa 88 tries to 70 throughout the season.
Wry sideline comment: Which lawyer won the Billy Wallace?
The 1924 Olympic final between France and the United States at Colombes Stadium, Paris was absolute chaos. French fans booed the American team, threw bottles and rocks onto the field and wild brawls broke out in the stands. U.S. reserve Gideon Nelson was knocked unconscious after being hit in the face by a walking stick, and French fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle, leaving the police to protect the Americans. At the medal ceremony, The Star-Spangled Banner was drowned out by the booing and hissing of French fans, and the American team had to be escorted to their locker room under police protection.
Arthur Flux has played over 300 games of U85kg rugby. He broke his arm in Avalon’s 23-21 win over Upper Hutt in the semi-final and a smile wider than his sling after Avalon beat Johnsonville 16-3 in the Paul Potiki Division I decider. Pre-game on Saturday, he also sang this ditty:
Johnsonville U85kg lock Tom Jameison was a towering presence in the Division I final. If he bowls like his namesake Kyle he’d cause ever more hassle for opponents in the summer. Superb athletic!
In Dunedin, Taieri first-five Cameron Millar slotted six penalties (think Chris Slade in 2009, above) to help his team to a 21-17 win over Green Island in the Dunedin Premier club final at Dunedin Stadium on Saturday. The other scoring play came from a dropped goal to fullback Caleb Leef (see dropped goals, above). The attendance was over 6,000.
Referee Jack Trevella penalised Johnsonville for backchat in the Paul Potiki final. He grew up in Churton Park and is a proud Johnsonville junior. That penalty might last beyond fulltime! Despite being out of zone, the talented 24-year-old was head prefect and dux of Wellington College in 2014. He was a very promising halfback challenging Kemara Hauiti-Parapara throughout the grades at Col. Unfortunately, he suffered concussion, but he has risen quickly as a Level 2 as a referee.
The only thing busier than the Lyndhurst Park bar is the LinkedIn profile of Kemara Hauiti-Parapara. He doesn’t officially/ publicly have an NPC gig.
Tawa scored 42 of the last 45 points in the Ed Chaney Cup final against Hutt Old Boys Marist.
The Tawa Premier 2 side won all 17 matches and outscored opponents 592-249.
The Vatican Army arrived at the Hutt Rec in time for kick-off for the Jubilee Cup final, adding fanfare and colour to the occasion. They were led this year by their first African pope, Malcolm Mashingaidze, a current player with over 150 caps in MSP’s U85kg team.
Wellington club rugby top try-scorers 2021 (Swindale Shield and Jubilee/Hardham Cups combined):
- Luca Rees (Norths) 13
- James Tuia (MSP) 12
- Ryan Setefano (MSP) 11
- Nick Robertson (Poneke) 10
- Kemara Hauiti-Parapara (Tawa) 10
- Lotu Nuku (Tawa) 10
- Reon Paul (Norths) 10
- Six players with 9 tries
Top try-scorer 2021 Luca Rees.
Wellington club rugby top points-scorers 2021 (Swindale Shield and Jubilee/Hardham Cups combined):
- Brandyn Laursen (HOBM) 159
- Sam Reid (OBU) 157
- Dale Sabbagh (Norths) 152
- Pakai Turia (Poneke) 148
- Kemara Hauiti-Parapara (Tawa) 113
- Carne Green (Petone) 103
- James Prcotor (MSP) 97
- Tynan Barrett (Upper Hutt Rams) 93
- Mark Sutton (Johnsonville) 85
- Declan Hay (Ories) 69
Top points scorer 2021 Brandyn Laursen.
From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in a week for Tawa rookie Lipa Saveatama. The former Mana College standout was sent off in their semi-final win over HOBM last Saturday, but it transpired to be a case of mistaken identity and the actual culprit was teammate Ben Aumua-Peseta who was subsequently suspended during the week. Forward to yesterday and it was Saveatama who put the icing on Tawa’s cake with the final try in the Jubilee Cup final.
A gut-wrenching 23-22 loss for the Wellington Pride in their Farah Palmer Cup clash with Canterbury in Christchurch yesterday with the hosts driving over through Southland prop Amy Rule in the 79th minute after both Jackie Patea-Fereti and Joanah Ngan-Woo were sent to the bin, though there’s certainly big question marks over the latter. Wellington recovered from a 3-13 deficit to lead 20-18 heading into the final few minutes. There had also been a pass from hooker to Alicia Print to left wing Ayesha Leti-l’iga that was called forward, which could have gone the other way on another occasion. Leti-l’iga doesn’t miss tries this close to the line even with a bit of work to do.
Canterbury have won 23 matches in a row. Canterbury prop Steph Te Ohaere-Fox played her 100th game, becoming just the second player in New Zealand to hit the milestone for one province, behind Auckland’s Fiao’o Faamausili who played 106 games and scored 46 tries. The former Black Fern missed last season due to childbirth. She is the first Canterbury centurion male or female since the legendary Andrew Mehrtens.
But you also have to wonder if the draws machine at NZ Rugby is broken, as it was the third year in succession Wellington have travelled south, with the mainlanders having been to the capital just once since 2015, when Wellington won 43-38 at Jerry Collins Stadium in 2018.
A tough weekend for coach Zac Feaunati as well, losing the Jubilee Cup final and then flying south and losing the Farah Palmer Cup match.
You can’t read too much into pre-season games, but the Wellington and Manawatu NPC squads got through a solid hit-out in their warm-up in Levin on Friday. There were 10 tries scored for the local crowd to cheer on.
Manawatu champions Feilding Yellows coach Nathan Williams was an interested spectator, with several of his chargers in the Manawatu team, such as prop Tietie Tuimaga, flanker TK Howden and backs Drew Wild and Josiah Maraku. The latter scored a hat-trick of tries.
For Wellington, blindside flanker Taine Plumtree was a standout, with his All Blacks coach dad in attendance. Plumtree’s name will be on the teamlist for their season opener this coming Saturday.
Taine Plumtree capped a big game with a try.
The word is Keelan Whitman will be the Lions’ starting No. 8, and he too continued his good form from club rugby. His support play and link play was good and he has a busy workrate. A shame for MSP that he couldn’t have played in the Jubilee Cup final though, even off the bench.
Unfortunately his MSP teammate Billy Proctor could be gone for 2021. He left the field injured early in the second half with what seemed to be an Achilles or ankle injury.
The Lions open their season against the Northland Taniwha on Saturday afternoon at the Stadium. The Turbos host Counties Manukau on Friday night at Arena Manawatu.
The NZ Marist Rugby Colts have started their New Zealand road trip starting on the West Coast. They roll through Wellington this week with games against:
- vs Wellington Centurions (7 Aug, 12.30pm, Hataitai Park) – https://m.facebook.com/events/383258896474900/
Horowhenua-Kapiti and Poverty Bay were both bonus point winners in Round One of the Hurricanes Under 20 Heartland Series played in Shannon and Napier on Saturday. Horowhenua-Kapiti beat Whanganui 38-20 and Poverty Bay beat Wairarapa-Bush 26-19.
This series continues next weekend with a double-header round on Saturday and Sunday at Massey in Palmerston North.
From there the Hurricanes Heartland U20s will be selected to play in the Hurricanes U19 competition against the Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu U19 teams. First games in that series is 21 August.
Support Women in Rugby Aotearoa (WIRA) by joining up as one of 500 founding members to the new organisation set up to support, promote and strengthen the women’s game.
Last week New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced INEOS as the Official Performance Partner of its seven Teams in Black* in a unique new six-year partnership kicking off in 2022.
The Performance Partnership will see NZR’s Teams in Black including the All Blacks and Black Ferns join INEOS Sport teams; Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team; INEOS Grenadiers cycling team; INEOS TEAM UK sailing team; and football clubs OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport as part of a unique sport performance group.
The INEOS Sport performance group will bring together some of sport’s best people and teams to tackle the greatest sporting challenges, through technology and human performance, and will officially launch later this year.
Goal line drop-outs in rugby union? No thanks.
A shout out (poor pun) to the commentators on Saturday. Brad Hudson called three hours of rugby for Wellington Rugby and Grassroots. Dave Gaunt was the happiest Tawa voice at the Hutt Rec.. Gordon Noble-Campbell and Andy Leslie worked overtime for Te Upoko and JP Tocker has become the unmistakable voice of MSP.
Meanwhile, Mike Lewis shot three hours straight of video highlights and his wife Caroline shot stills for both games and MSP’s Michael Holden arguably had the best seat in the house, filming MSP’s live feed from up high from the ‘crow’s nest.’
The Fijian men were brilliant in defending their Olympic title but what about their women, extending the Black Ferns to extra time in the semi-final and eventually winning bronze to become the first Fijian women to win an Olympic medal. Suffrage for Fijian women happened in 1963. When naming famous Fijian sportspeople two dozen male rugby players and Vijay Singh (former World No.1 golfer) immediately spring to mind. What about women. Vilimaina Davu was a dogged defender who played 60 tests for the Silver Ferns from 2000 to 2006 and won a World title in 2003 and a Commonwealth Games gold in 2006. In 2013 she won hearts when after five years of trying she gave birth to her first child via caesarean.
Jerry Tuwai became the first Fijian to win two Olympic gold medals. He grew up in a poor part of Suva ironically named ‘New Town.’ He was so destitute when asked by a German journalist at the 2016 Olympics how he learned to play rugby he removed his boots and showed his battered feet revealing he played on a roundabout. When his parents presented Jerry with his first pair of boots, they called the boots knife and fork because Jerry’s talent would be what fed them. He has notoriously bad teeth and once ran away from a dentist and only returned after coach Ben Ryan threatened to drop him for the Hong Kong Sevens.
New Zealand rowing eight crew member Phillip Wilson is an old boy of Wellington College, what an effort.
Sent in by his old school friend and rowing mate Henry Morrow a rugby rowing 8 crew:
Cox: Aaron Smith. Stroke: Richie McCaw. Crew: Dan Carter, Sam Whitelock, Jonah Lomu, Kieran Read, Jerry Collins, Conrad Smith Bow: Christian Cullen.
While sports (and clubs which provide them) are generally believed to promote positive social values, such as sportsmanship and fair play, incidents of anti-social behaviour both on and off the playing field are not that uncommon and in recent months have attracted headlines in New Zealand’s media.
As distinct social and organisational entities, the responsibility of clubs in demonstrating values representative of their community cannot be underestimated. In the same way as (is sometimes said) “the eyes are the window to the soul”, sport clubs are perhaps “a window to the values of the communities they represent.” The behaviour associated with a club will eventually come to define it.
Read more HERE