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The Rugby Wrap 21-22 March (updates Tuesday)

A successful Marist St Pat’s Community Day event on Saturday. Great participation, about 60 people, from Junior & Senior players, parents and community leaders including WRFU Life member Peter Scott (21 years with WRFU and 11 of those as Chairman Rugby Board), participated in the Beach Clean-up.

MSP plans to do this event twice in the year, before the start of the rugby season and at the end, and challenged other rugby clubs to do the same in their local communities and MSP can join to help. MSP thanks all sponsors especially Pak n Save (sausage sizzle), Wellington City Council (rubbish bags/gloves) and Dingle Foundation (bucket hats), KRL Business Network and Bay Bulletin editor David Blocksidge (photo).

Tuesday EDITION: It’s the first week of autumn, meaning loads of rugby is imminent. Hopefully.

The WRFU came out with some messages late last week, signalling that the Premier Swindale Shield competition will start as advertised on 2 April, as per the current draw, to be ratified by the Rugby Board at their meeting this coming Thursday. As it stands, the competition will start in Red settings, so restrictions and vaccine passes all still apply. More in italics:

If the season start is postponed, or we need to take a break during the season, the season would be shortened, rather than rescheduled this would be by virtue of removing weeks from the second round Jubilee/Hardham competitions prioritising the completion of a full first round Swindale Shield. 

The Premier Women’s Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy also kicks off on 2 April, with the draw being published next Monday. Because of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the Women’s competition must be over by June, so any disruptions will mean cancelled games.

All other Senior grades (Premier 2, Under 21, Under 85kg, Reserve and Presidents) are expected to kick-off no earlier than Saturday 16 April, and can continue on into August.


Several more pre-season matches brewing for this coming Saturday, 26 March. More information at the end of this week.


A rollicking 42-41 win for the Avalon Wolves in Masterton on Saturday. The Wolves played Masterton Marist, with a few invitational players in their ranks from other nearby clubs. A good win for Avalon, who had several frontline players out isolating for Covid, and some Colts players who filled their ranks.


The Petone Premiers came from behind to beat the Freyberg Premiers 32-19 on Saturday at North Park. Freyberg were a late replacement for Paremata-Plimmerton, who pulled out citing Covid. The Hammerheads Colts side also pulled out so the Petone Colts and the Petone Premier Reserves played an intra-squad match.


Some spectators turned up to Maidstone Park on Saturday to find no rugby posts. Instead, the game of three halves between the Upper Hutt Rams, Hutt Old Boys Marist and Stokes Valley was contested on the field between the number 1 and 2 grounds.


The last time Tawa and Ories met, in last year’s Jubilee Cup quarterfinal, the Polo Ground was literally underwater. They met in comparatively polar opposite conditions at Lyndhurst Park on Saturday. Tawa won five tries three. Continuing a tale of the halfbacks, their star number nine from last year was absent, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara now in France playing for Oyannax in the second tier competition(PRO D2).


Johnsonville’s squad played a game of five 20-minute halves against Manawatu champions Feilding Yellows. Both sides were missing several players because of Covid; Johnsonville missing some backs and Feilding some forwards! The game panned out that way, with Feilding left wing Eseroma Nabuka and first-five Drew Wild scoring three of their first four tries. Johnsonville came back and scored a couple of good forwards tries and stirring length of the field try at the end of the regulation 80 minutes to see Feilding win 6 tries to 4. Impressive effort on and off the field by 270-game veteran Brad Carr.


Marist St Pat’s beat Wainuiomata 11 tries to three in their pre-season hit-out at Evans Bay Park.


Brian Stanley Coomber, a Life Member of the Wellington Rugby Referees Association Inc. passed away on Sunday, 13 March.

Brian was a member of the Association for 60 years from 1962 to 2022. He was President of the Association in 1987-1988 and a former member of the NZRU Judicial Committee. He was made a Life Member of the Association in 1991. He wrote a book on the history of the Association called “The 31st Man”

He was a Wellington College Old Boy and a member of the Wellington College 1XV in the early 1950’s. Here he is bottom left (seated) in the photo below:


When All Blacks go bad.

Former All Black Zac Guildford has been sentenced to nine months’ community detention for two separate fraud charges involving family and friends.

The 33-year-old, who is based in Greytown, appeared in the Masterton District Court on Friday after he admitted stealing $41,500 from his grandfather via online banking and to another charge of defrauding a friend of $60,000 in May. Guildford did not seek permanent name suppression.

Read more HERE

Extremely sad news for such a gifted player.


Old Boys University and Manawatū flanker Shamus Hurley-Langton is joining Connacht in Ireland.

One of the unluckiest players not to make a Super Rugby squad this year?

Can’t make Super Rugby, so heads overseas aged 21. Shows how redundant NZR are making the NPC competition?


Thoughts on the new “50-22” and “goal line dropout” rules?

On a still day with no wind there are merits in the former at least, but on a windy 50 km/hr northerly day perhaps not for either.


The Hurricanes won their first match in Super Rugby Aupiki, defeating Matatū 18-6. Down 11-6 at halftime Matatū failed to capitalise upon a wealth of territory, a generous penalty count and were stung by the uncanny brilliance of Ayesha Leti-Iiga who scored superb two tries. The Hurricanes’ intensity on defence was outstanding with loose forwards Sarah Hirini and  Kaipo Olsen-Baker to the fore. Hirini, who looked short of a gallop on Tuesday in the loss to the Chiefs, was abrasive in contact and linked with her support effectively while Olsen-Baker was a beast of the back of the scrum and looked like a dead-set future Black Fern. Rihanna Ferris and Kate Brown had an immense impact off the bench.

Why is Glen Moore not fielding questions on Super Rugby Aupiki and form of perspective Black Ferns?

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate was originally named in the Blues Aupiki squad yet turned up in the Hurricanes and produced two solid performances. How and why did this happen especially when one considers Hurricanes coach Wesley Clarke is assistant coach of the Black Ferns

Has Super Rugby Aupiki done anything to suggest the Black Ferns are better equipped to tame the forward power of England and France at the World Cup? The inaccurate lineout play by all teams must be a real concern.

The Chiefs beat the Blues 35-0 in what was effectively the first Super Rugby Aupiki final. Luka Connor, Ruby Tui, Hazel Tubic, Portia Woodman and Langi Veainu scored tries. Kelly Brazier added two penalties and two conversions.

The Super Rugby Aupiki final was reduced to farce when Blues and Black Ferns props Aldora Itunu and Krystal Murray were sin-binned in quick succession early in the second-half. With the Blues down to 13 players the Chiefs predictably employed their scrum to win penalties and territory, but why weren’t such lopsided scrums considered a safety issue? The penalty count was like a Wall Street ticker.

There were 34 penalties in Super Rugby women’s final, while the Hurricanes gave away 22 and won by two tries.


“Have they found the Gladiator within at last.” Great commentary line after Italy beat Wales 22-21 in Cardiff. Italy won their first Six Nations game in 2576 days.

Welsh wing Josh Adams, who scored a cracking try, gave Italian fullback Ange Capuozzo his man of the match award after Italy beat Wales 22-21 to snap their 36-game, seven year Six Nations losing streak. Capuozzo made a breathtaking break to set-up the match winning try for wing Edoardo Padovani with the last play. Capuozzo scored two tries on debut against Scotland and said of his performance: “I can almost stop there, it’s so beautiful.” He was born in France and is only 68 kg.

France beat England 25-13 to win the Six Nations Grand Slam for the first time since 2010, their 12th Grand Slam overall. France have won 15 of their last 16 tests in Paris. France have won eight tests in a row for the first time since 2004. The scores in that sequence were: Ireland (35-17), Italy (25-0), Wales (29-22), Scotland (31-0), England (24-21), USA (39-31), Canada (47-13), Australia (27-14).

French No.8 Grégory Alldritt played a barnstorming match against England. His father, Terence, was born in Kenya to Irish parents and has lived in Stirling, Scotland. His mother is French. He has two older brothers: Tom and Scott. His breakthrough performance was against England two years ago when he was named man of the match in a 24-17 win.

France paying $3.25 to with next year’s Rugby World Cup, on home soil. Would you sell some of your Bitcoin to reinvest in that bet?

Ireland beat Scotland 26-5 to win the triple crown beating the Home Nations: England, Wales and Scotland in the same Six Nations campaign. They scored more points and tries than overall Six Nations champions France. Ireland have won the triple crown 12 times.


The Fiji Barbarians side won the Fun Flavour FRU Mini 7s tournament beating New Zealand 17-10 in their last game. The All Black’s 7s drew first blood through Brady Rush, however Fiji replied with a converted try to Iowane Teba. Amanaki Nicole increased the visitor’s lead in the second half but it was all Fiji after that. The Barbarians scored two tries to Vuiviwa Naduvalo and Waisea Nacuqu as they capped a wonderful performance winning all their six games. New Zealand’s full results from the weekend were: Fiji Barbarians (10-22), Australia (26-12), Fiji Warriors (17-5), Fiji Warriors (5-5), Australia (27-7).

The Black Ferns Sevens have been in Fiji the past fortnight and have struggled to match the Olympic gold-medal winning form of 2021. After winning a local tournament last weekend they lost five consecutive matches to Fijiana who won bronze in Tokyo. Reapi Uluinasau, Ana Naimasi and Alowesi Nakoci were among the Fijians at the Olympics last year and were to the fore in trying weather in an outstanding weekend for Fijiana.

Black Ferns tournament results: Pool matches: beat Valkyries 33-7, beat Army 5-0, beat Marist 39-0. Quaterfinal: beat Fire Warden 24-0. Semi-final: beat Lautoka 54-0. Final: beat Army 36-0.


South Canterbury rugby clubs are confident they can field teams for the upcoming competition despite some players falling ill to Covid-19, South Canterbury Rugby Football Union’s chief executive says..

Craig Calder said last Tuesday, clubs voted unanimously to go ahead with the 12-week senior club ruby championship, due to kick off on April 2, unless there was a “massive swing” in the number of cases among players.

Read more HERE


This past weekend’s pre-season rugby photos: 


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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