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The Monday rugby wrap: 28 February (some news and information to start the week)

Above: When Tawa and Hutt Old Boys Marist met in the first round of the 2012 Swindale Shield. HOBM won this match 29-18 and went on to win the first round club rugby title.

Formerly called Bond Banter – a news and information column to start the week in rugby from the ground up.

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Evening edition: Potential Covid disruptions aside, we finally have rugby coming up – and lots of it.

Starting with a trickle then exploding into another full scale season of community rugby, March and April could get exciting.

There are some scheduled inter-club pre-season matches this weekend in the Wellington region at least. Please follow our channels for more details of these later this week and for our coverage. The Great Covid Disruption (GCR) notwithstanding, there are pre-season games this coming Saturday set down for William Jones Park, Maoribank Park, Evans Bay Park and either Otaki or Levin (and possibly elsewhere as well).

We are still in the Red settings for the foreseeable future, so the 100-person limit still applies and if you are aged 12 years and three months or older involved in club sport you need to show a My Vaccine Pass (MVP) to participate.

On Friday the government announced that MVP’s were being lifted off teenaged school sports participants, and the secondary school rugby community awaits further clarification on this.


Sad news on Monday morning, with the news of the passing of Majin Passi of the Northern United media and livestreaming crew.


Absolute scenes at the Sportz Bar in Whanganui when the Hurricanes charged from 14-32 down to beat the Blues 33-32 on Saturday. The two bartenders proudly wearing Blues attire were teasing the patrons throughout only for the majority of punters to erupt with joy at the end. A hearty and welcoming drinking hole with the complementary rum and coke from a gracious runner-up much appreciated.

The impact of the Hurricanes bench was outstanding with every substitute adding zest, skill and courage.

Braydon Iose was especially eye-catching, adding further strength to an already stacked loose forward department while Ruben Love played without the hesitancy of his start against the Crusaders.

Who in Wellington knew who Justin Sangster was this time last year? He looks the part at this level. A workhorse on defence.

Bailyn Sullivan and Peter Umaga-Jensen flourished in the midfield, young, fast and powerful. Is this the best combination moving forward?

Julian Savea looked more comfortable on the wing. Fitting in a week where New Zealand lost two larger than life personalities on the wing Fijian Salesi Rayasi shows his real potential and personality with a brilliant hat-trick against the Blues.


Jason O’Halloran scored a hat-trick against the Blues in a 34-45 loss at Athletic Park in 1998. Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri scored twice each for the Blues in that game.

Joeli Vidiri scored an incredible 112 tries in 154 first class games. A dynamic player and very gentle man he was a pleasure to talk to when meeting him at various rugby related events.


This Hurricanes win also comes 10 years after another famous last-gasp win over the Blues, involving one Beauden Barrett who is now with the Blues.

On 23 March 2012 Barrett scored this ripper and kicked the conversion in a 26-25 win:


In the other match that went ahead this weekend, the Crusaders beat the Highlanders 34-19 to go two from two.

The Hurricanes now return home to Wellington Stadium to play the Highlanders on Saturday.


In Australia, the Reds beat the Waratahs 20-16, the Brumbies accounted for the Fijian Drua 42-3 and the Force beat the Rebels 28-3.

The Brumbies and the Waratahs are two from two, the Waratahs and the Force have won one from two and the Rebels and the Drua are none from two.


This weekend also sees the scheduled start of the Super Rugby Aupiki (Women’s) competition, now played over two weeks in Taupo.

On Saturday, the Hurricanes Poua play Matatu (South Island) and the Blues Women and Chiefs Manawa meet in the other game.

Although with the Chiefs isolating in Hamilton with a positive Covid case in their group as recently as late last week, officials could be getting a bit nervous about this too.

Update to Women’s competition (Wednesday): New Zealand Rugby has made the decision to delay the start of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki to ensure squads are not compromised by COVID-19 withdrawals.

All squads are currently impacted with players in isolation, this prevents the Blues from taking the field this weekend, while Chiefs Manawa, Hurricanes Poua and Matatū will now play a game of three halves this Saturday.

The revised format will see the round robin fixtures played across the three match-days currently scheduled, Thursday 10 March, Tuesday 15 March and Sunday 20 March, with a winner crowned based on competition points


The Hurricanes U20s side was due to play their Crusaders U20 counterparts in Blenheim on Saturday, but this match was postponed for reasons unknown, but related to the ongoing Covid disruption.

The Super Rugby U20s tournament is scheduled to be played in Taupo in April, but it would not be surprising if this was pushed back to later in the year. Although doing that would also impact adversely on club rugby competitions around the country.

It is also noted that the Six Nations U20 tournament is being played right now, so this weekend in New Zealand we have domestic U20 matches failing to go ahead and in Europe their international equivalents going head to head. England beat Wales 43-14, France beat Scotland 30-17 and Ireland beat Italy 39-12.


Devastating news late last week with the loss of two former legends of the game, and Joeli Vidiri and Va’aiga Inga Tuigamala.


This photo below was sent to us by a reader, via social media. It is of the late tri0 Joeli Vidiri, Jarrod Cunningham and Jonah Lomu in happier times.

Sent in by a reader: Joeli Vidiri was a dynamic player and very gentle man he was a pleasure to talk to on the few occasions I met him at various rugby related events. On a train from Kingsland Station to Briotmart I sat with him and was able to share the link below from a phone. Joeli didn’t know the footage existed and I had to retreat from the doors at my stop to get my phone back.


In the Six Nations this weekend, Ireland condemned Italy to their 100th tournament defeat with a 57-6 win.

The game descended into farce midway through the first half, after Italy’s starting hooker had left the field injured then his replacement was shown a red card. This forced uncontested scrums for an hour. It also meant No. 8 Toa Halafihi to leave the field, leaving the Italians with 13 men on the field. A yellow card in the second half meant they played 12 against 15 later for a time.

The Azzurri remain without a win in the competition since 2015 having lost their last 35 fixtures, while Ireland turn their attentions to Twickenham and a date with England in two weeks’ time.

England held off Wales 23-19 and France beat Scotland 36-17 in the land of the kilt.

France have won 22 of the last 28 matches against Scotland and achieved their biggest win since 2019 against the Scots.



Scotland have secured the final spot at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup after beating Colombia 59-3.


An end of an era at St Bernard’s College with Kay Hudson retiring after 28 years of service in the office. Kay is the Mum of Huddy Hui host and fellow St Bernard’s teacher Brad Hudson. Kay’s diligence and rapport with the boys will be missed.

This weekly news and information column is a collaborative one, with several contributors. If you have anything to contribute or broadcast to the wider audience or because not everyone is sitting on social media reading your posts please email 

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