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Bond Banter 16 August: Bumper news in briefs, what’s happening in rugby this week

Air time for Ethan Webster-Nonu, who scored a brace for the Wellington Centurions in their tight win over the Whanganui Heartland squad on Saturday. PHOTO: Stewart Baird.

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

Similarly, if you are out there on Saturday’s and want to contribute to adding to our Saturday evening round-up stories please get in touch. Our resources are stretched at this time of year with the nature and variety of the rugby and we can only be at so many places at once. 

UPDATED: Another fragmented weekend of rugby coming up, with lots on but it is all spread across several venues and two days. Rugby involving Wellington teams this coming Saturday and Sunday at a glance (full preview at the end of this week):

Saturday: 

  • College Sport Wellington remaining lower grade finals (Premier 2, U15s etc, St Pat’s Silverstream, kick-off times TBC
  • U85kg National Knockout Cup match Avalon v MSP, Hutt Rec 12.30pm.
  • Wellington Māori v Wellington Samoans, Hutt Rec, 2.30pm
  • Wellington Pride v Auckland Storm, Porirua Park, 2.30pm
  • Hurricanes Heartland U20s v Wellington U19s, Bill Brown Park, Palmerston North, 1.00pm
  • Hawke’s Bay Saracens v Wellington Centurions, Tremain Field, Napier, 1.00pm

Sunday:

  • College Sport Wellington Premiership First XV final. Scots College v St Pat’s Silverstream, 2.40pm.
  • Wellington Lions v Manawatu Turbos, NPC round 3 and Coronation Cup, Palmerston North, 4.35pm.

First, the midweek rugby this week is the Wellington schoolgirl Premier 1 final at Porirua Park on Wednesday evening. Plus the last round of the double round-robin Premier 2 and U15 competitions.

  • Premier 1 Final: St Mary’s College v Wainuiomata High School, Porirua Park 7:30pm
  • Premier 2: Bishop Viard College Paraparaumu College, Porirua Park, 6:00pm
  • U15 Development: St Mary’s College v Aotea Kotiro, Porirua Park, 4.30pm and Mana College v Porirua College, Mana 1, 4.00pm.

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The Wellington U19s played a game of three halves on Sunday in Blenheim against their Tasman and Canterbury counterparts. They won the first match against Tasman 15-14, with tries to Dominic Ropeti, Sapati Tagoai and Peter Lakai. They met a 19-22 defeat to Canterbury in the second, with tries to Kigi Nu’u, Riley Higgins and Logan Love and two conversions to TJ Clarke.

This weekend is the opening round of the Hurricanes Central Shield competition, with Wellington playing the Hurricanes Heartland U20s in Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay hosting Manawatu in Napier in the other game.

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Club Rugby wishes the family, friends and club and work mates of Dane Hayes all the best.

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Several clubs are into their end-of-season events, one being Paremata-Plimmerton who signed off on their season with the Battle of the Bridge with loyalties between Paremata and Plimmerton drawn on whether they cross Paremata bridge to get to the ground. Both sides comprised players from all six of their senior teams from Premiers to Presidents including the Women. For the record Plimmerton won the Hedges Family Trophy for the third consecutive year by 10-5 in the 60-minute game which started and finished in bright sunshine with the wet southerly change in between.

That game was followed by Pare-Plim’s senior prizegiving, following on from Old Boys-University’s on Friday night and Poneke’s last weekend. We’re putting these together and will run them at the end of the month.

At Upper Hutt, the Upper Hutt Rams Thirstys and the Upper Hutt Rams Pirates met in their annual match for the Richard Van Der Linden Cup,  in honour of the former Springboks team (later the Pirates) player who tragically died in an early morning crash on his way to work in February 2014.The Thirstys won this year’s match 41-29.

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Poneke and Upper Hutt moved on in their quest for National Under 85kg glory on Saturday. Poneke cruised into the last eight by crushing Eastbourne 49-26, running in 6 converted tries in the opening 40 minutes to lead 42-0 at the break before the Gulls managed some respectability in the second but still saw their centenary season come to a close. Poneke’s quarterfinal opposition and venue is still to be determined, but it will be either Hamilton Marist or New Plymouth’s Tukapa with the latter thumping North Harbour club Massey 70-0 yesterday.

The Upper Hutt Rams were similarly untroubled with the Division 1 side too good for Division 2 winners Old Boys-University, winning 38-0 at Kelburn Park. The Rams will next face the last South Island side standing in Dunedin’s Carisbrook Bush Pigs, who beat Christchurch’s Lincoln Eels 30-24 under the roof at Forsyth Barr on Saturday.

Unlike last week, Poneke’s U85kg side on Saturday was without Premier stars Pakai Turia and Nick Robertson, but did have the services of former New Zealand and England Sevens star Warwick Lahmert who directed traffic at halfback. Lahmert notionally hung up the boots earlier this season at the end of his Taranaki club Spotswood United’s season, but seems to have been coaxed back into the game for now. Lahmert has a number of ties to Wellington, one being his wife Brigitte (nee Tyler) who was a leading referee here.

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Avalon and Paremata-Plimmerton won a single Swindale Shield game combined this season and that’s when the Wolves beat Paremata-Plimmerton 43-17 in their Round 6 clash. Both clubs fared much better in lower grades winning a combined four titles. Marist St Pat’s, Norths,  and Petone essentially went through the season without winning a title.

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He couldn’t end his long tenure with the club as a winning coach on Saturday, but Wainuiomata Premier 2 coach and Life Member Nick Domonokos bowled out a winner on Saturday. Club Rugby thanks Nick for all his help and assistance over the years with Wainuiomata rugby 15s and 7s teams. Club Rugby understands that Nick is heading to the Hawke’s Bay for some sun and fun, so will no doubt still support Wellington club rugby from afar!

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In 2010 St Pats Silverstream beat Wellington College as the fourth place qualifier 12-10 in the semi-final and went on to win the Premier I final against St Pats Town.

Regardless of the outcome, Silverstream will represent Wellington in the Hurricanes Boys’ Regional playoffs for the National Top Four. Scots College selected the Co-ed Cup route which is very disappointing given their unbeaten record in the Premiership this season and the fact two of their matches were defaulted in the local Co-ed competition against vastly weaker schools. Scots have won 75 of their last 91 Premiership matches.

The 2021 Wellington College First XV put the capital C back into the ‘Col’ First XV. When one thinks of ‘Col’ they think of a tough contest every time not the record defeats and missing the semi-finals they’ve suffered from the past two seasons.

Who were all those stewards walking around Haitaitai Park in security bibs? Did we really need crowd control like that? The large group of Wellington supporters were loud, behaved, and added atmosphere to a great game.

Will they write a Bible verse about the penalty kicked by Emmanuel Solomona? His winning kick below (PHOTO by Andy McArthur):

Two groups of good natured supporters on the bank at Scots College on Saturday, with about 100 students from each school getting amongst some good natured banter and chanting.

St Pat’s Silverstream have lost seven finals at Jerry Collins Stadium, including all three to Scots by a combined margin of 11 points.

St Pat’s Silverstream have won 11 of their last 12 Premiership semi-finals.

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Who do you think will win the 2021 First XV Premiership Final?

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Bookmark Saturday 23 October for the ingaurgal Bula Fiji 7s tournament at Porirua Park:

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Perusing the online player profiles on some of the provincial union websites – Auckland, Wellington, Waikato, Manawatu, Tasman and Canterbury, for example. Tasman are the most thorough, Canterbury’s are pretty good, but leave out how much their players weigh, while Waikato’s provide the least information, closely followed by Wellington.

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Two current Wellington club rugby Premier players in the Horowhenua-Kapiti squad that met the Wellington Maori in Levin on Saturday: Keenan Gilson (OBU) and Connor Strang (Poneke). Plus Leon Ellison (formerly Norths) returns this season to play for the mighty Nua.

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The Manawatu Rugby Union are saddened to hear of the passing of former All Black and Manawatū centurion Perry Harris. Harris was one of the cornerstones of the dominating Manawatū sides of the 1970s. He was born in Feilding and attended Sanson Primary School and Feilding High School. He came from strong rugby stock with both his brother Graham and father Rex having also represented Manawatū. The powerful loosehead prop was a late bloomer on the rugby field. Leaving high school, he had played hooker and that was the position he played his first few years with the Te Kawau thirds. He played eight seasons of senior club rugby, eventually shifting to loosehead prop, before being called into the Manawatū squad for the first time in 1970. But when he finally got his crack, he made himself a fixture starting every game in his first season and missing just six games within his first 78 appearances. It was 1976 that was the highlight year for Harris. He started for Manawatū in their infamous Ranfurly Shield win over Auckland in 1976 and two days later was on a plane to join the All Blacks during their tour of South Africa. Harris played four games on that tour including one test. In 1978 he registered his 100th game for Manawatu before opting to retire in 1979. Our thoughts are with the Harris family.

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A spot has just opened up at the Highlanders for a top class hooker, with Ash Dixon is heading off to Japan. With Tyrone Thompson off to the Chiefs, maybe an opportunity has opened up for James O’Reilly to go to the Highlanders? The type of rugby that James O’Reilly plays would suit the Highlanders. There are others too, such as Southland’s Flynn Thomas. Watch this space.

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Wellington’s second-half collapse against Waikato in Hamilton would have to rank as one of the most spectacularly frustrating displays in Lions history. And there have been many, from the 1920s through to the 1990s and not to mention recently.

With a third of the starting XV past or present All Blacks, Wellington led 34-8 at halftime in good conditions. The second-half started with five consecutive penalties, a Julian Savea yellow card, Ruben Love’s departure for injury and the early subbing of captain Du’Plessis Kirifi. Composure vanished, tackling was voluntary, and basic errors mounted up as Waikato scored 35 of the next 38 points to win by six. The visitors earned two bonus points, but hardly seemed worthy of anything by the end. The Waikato bench was eye-catching. How much of a factor in their potential success will it be for the remainder of the season?

The question must be asked of Lions coach Leo Crowley and his staff as to why captain Du’Plessis Kirifi was replaced at a time when the side desperately needed his leadership.

Canterbury beat Manawatu 25-22 in the NPC this past weekend, with New Zealand U20s wing Chay Funaki scoring two tries, as he did against the Turbos in 2020. The Lions-Turbos match this coming Sunday could be a cracker.

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A few weeks ago in this space we mentioned about Petone prop Hoani Tui returning to the Village fold after over a decade away. Injuries amongst the Lions propping stocks saw him called into the full representative side, and yesterday he made his first appearance for the province since 2008!

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Another question for Wellington Rugby. The Hurricanes have been doing this for a while, and now the Lions have started this – why do you send our media releases announcing the Wellington Lions team and then  have the team embargoed for several hours? If there is a reason for it, why can’t you schedule emails instead?

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Speaking of front-rowers, a big shift from the trio of Angel Uila, Alicia Print, and Dora Laupola who all played the full 80 minutes for the Pride in their loss to Waikato yesterday.

Mia Anderson who scored the winning try for Waikato against the Wellington Pride in the Farah Palmer Cup is from Kerikeri and scored the ‘FPC try of the round’ against Auckland in 2020.

It was a genuinely cracking game, with Ayesha Leti I’iga scoring twice to close to within a try of 50 for the Pride. Wellington only got one bonus point which was harsh given their fine second-half, withstanding a few missed tackles.

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Former Black Ferns first-five Krysten Cottrell scored a record 30 points for Hawke’s Bay in their 80-5 victory over Tasman in Round 5 of the Farah Palmer Cup on Saturday. The previous record for most points in a game for the Tuis was 25 scored by Deidre Hakopa when she scored five tries against Southland in 2003. Hakopa played 39 games and scored a record 21 tries for Hawke’s Bay from 1997 to 2009. The school receptionist was still playing for her club Clive aged 51 this year when they won the championship.

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Former Hastings Boys’ High School wing sensation Kini Naholo has been in the gym. A lot. Naholo has noticeably bulked up since Club Rugby last saw him steaming towards us and filling up our camera lens. He has lost none of his finishing finesse though, scoring a great winger’s try in the corner for Taranaki against Northland yesterday. He could yet follow in the footsteps of his former All Blacks older brother Waisake who made his Canterbury debut in the weekend.

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Check out this awesome cake – that was [presumably] eaten at the Waikanae Rugby Football Club‘s Centenary weekend celebrations on Saturday:

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The All Blacks have won their last 27 home tests against Australia, who have failed in 22 previous visits at Eden Park stretching back to 1986.

The official crowd number for the Bledisloe Cup test was 25,121 –  which seemed dubious looking at all the empty seats on TV. Plus of those apparent 25,000 supporters, how many were freebies and giveaways?

Nevertheless, It’s the smallest crowd for a Bledisloe Cup test since 1958, when the fixture was played at the Epsom Showgrounds while the northern grandstand at Eden Park was being built. In that test the All Blacks won 17-8 with Colin Meads (playing blindside) scoring his first test try in New Zealand and Don Clarke kicking four penalties and a conversion. It was the first series Wilson Whineray captained the All Blacks and the referee was Bob Forsyth who had one arm owing to an injury in WWII. Australia’s captain was Queensland flanker Chilla Wilson who played 12 tests and was manager of the Wallabies 1984 Grand Slam winning tour.

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The All Blacks have won the last 10 Bledisloe Cup second tests in with an average score of 38-13, with Saturday night being the third time they’ve cracked a half century. The All Blacks have now won the Bledisloe every year since 2003. One idea to reinvigorate the Bledisloe is to put it on the line every time any New Zealand or Australia teams meet in rugby, so open it up to U20s, Women’s and even schoolboys tests as well.

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The oldest living All Black Roy Roper turned 98 last Wednesday. He phoned the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North the day before to remind them.

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As always, thanks to all the community rugby contributors that document the game:

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A couple of modern day legends of the game still giving it their all in the NPC:

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Hamilton Boys’ High School won  the Super 8 title on Saturday. Hamilton beat Hastings’ Boys’ High School 12-10, after trailing 10-0 at halftime.

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What about the finish to the Otago First XV competition! Southland Boys’ High School were leading Otago Boys’ High School 24-23 with time almost up at Dunedin Stadium. Then Otago BHS’s Finn Hurley stepped up and snapped a 45 metre dropped goal to win the game 26-24. What a play!

Otago will meet the winner of this coming Saturday’s Canterbury Championship final between home team Nelson College and Christ’s College.

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St Paul’s Collegiate (Hamilton) beat Whanganui Collegiate 33-10 in the final of the Central North Island competition on Saturday in Taupo.

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Wallabies great Toutai Kefu is in hospital fighting for life after he was injured in a home invasion in Brisbane on Sunday night.

Multiple news agencies have reported that Kefu is in a serious condition after he was stabbed in the abdomen during the incident at his Coorparoo home around 3am [AEST] on Monday morning. Read more HERE

This is what NZR could be getting into with the All Blacks: 

Lionel Messi’s financial package at French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain includes crypto tokens.

Messi signed a two-year deal with PSG last week, with an option for a third, that will net him an annual salary of $41 million plus bonuses, and a reported $30 million signing-on fee.

PSG said Thursday that Messi’s “welcome package” includes the cryptocurrency ”$PSG Fan Tokens.”

Marc Armstrong, chief partnerships officer of PSG, said in a statement that embracing Socios.com and $PSG Fan Tokens has enabled the club to engage with a new global audience and create a significant digital revenue stream [our emphasis].

“Fan Tokens and Socios.com play an increasingly prominent role across sport at the very highest level,” said Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios.com, in a statement. Read more HERE

What are fan tokens?

Fan tokens are cryptocurrencies that permit their holders to access a variety of fan-related membership perks like voting on club decisions, rewards, merchandise designs and unique experiences. They can be used by sports clubs, music fan clubs and other organizations to democratize and organize experiences, establish club leadership and more.

Unlike NFTs, fan tokens are completely “fungible” or interchangeable. This means that, just like fiat or cash, the tokens can be exchanged for sports club merchandise, VIP experiences and more. Additionally, they play an important role in tightening the club community with another team-branded piece of fandom.

The gatekeepers of the All Blacks brand could also be looking very closely at NFTs as well  – these have exploded in the USA this year – as an example check out NBA Top Shot HERE

This is all an area that Club Rugby is keeping an eye on as well. If anyone reading this understands this space and can see an opportunity, please get in touch with us.

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Rugby coming up in August, September and October

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

 

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