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The Monday Wrap 6 June (some news and information to start the week)

For the most part, the weather has been kind all season so far. Wall-to-wall sunshine at Maidstone Park on Saturday where the home team’s supporters are getting used to late defeats. Poneke beat the Rams 26-24. PHOTO: Peter McDonald.

Monday evening edition: Three rounds to play for 10 teams and a probable fourth catch-up game for four more teams to come in this year’s Premier Swindale Shield before the start of the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup knockout rounds.

Games at a glance this coming Saturday: #1 – Poneke v Marist St Pat’s / #2 – Avalon v Petone / #3 – Norths v Wainui / #4 – OBU v Wellington / #5 – Pare-Plim v J’ville / #6 – Tawa v Ories /#7 – Upper Hutt Rams v HOBM

Lookout for our preview at the end of this week, which will focus on the run home each side has and what they need to do to win or finish inside the cut-off to make the Jubilee Cup.

One mid-week Beard Trophy match on Wednesday at 6.00pm at Porirua Park, where Mana College will be defending it against Premier 2 school Bishop Viard College.

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The Blacks Ferns beat Australia 23-10 in their match today.

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Two Mitchell Butler penalties gave the OBU Scallywags a 6-5 win over Central at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim in a National U85kg knockout match on Sunday.

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Jacob Walmsley the current Sam Reid of Wellington club rugby? Not big, but fast and elusive from fullback.

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Reuben Va’a has scored 32 tries in 46 games for Ories. He scored four tries against Paremata-Plimmerton on Saturday. His brother Steven scored four tries against them too, in the 2019 Swindale Shield.

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Poneke have won seven games by less than five points this season. Upper Hutt have lost seven games by ten points or less.

Their game on Saturday started with a penalty to the Rams as 2:45pm came and went without Poneke having navigated the epic cross-country trek from the visitors’ temporary changing rooms to the pitch at Maidstone Park. The game eventually started a couple of minutes late.

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70 years on the throne for our monarch. Our congratulations to HRH Queen Elizabeth II for reaching the seven-decade milestone.

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By our count, the Wainuiomata Premiers had five players on debut on Saturday against Wainuiomata, four of them backs. That’s a lot of new players to introduce this deep into a Premier season.

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Big day of milestones around the grounds. Norths’ Jerome Vaai and Upper Hutt’s Aiden Woodward joined the club centurions ranks with Ories’ Malachai Unasa and MSP Women’s skipper Jaydah Timu reaching 50.

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Tough decision made last week for the four sets of Premier players from Johnsonville, Paremata-Plimmerton, Tawa and Hutt Old Boys Marist to play their two Covid catch-up games on one of the next three Wednesdays, to be confirmed.

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250+ combined Premier rugby appearances lined up against each other at first five in Saturday’s Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield curtain-raiser between Old Boys University and Tawa. Nothing could separate the two teams that finished all square at 22-22, with Tomasi Palu (OBU) and James So’oialo (Tawa) the two opposing flyhalves in this game.

Below: Tawa celebrate their Harper Lock Shield first round Premier 2 competition win:

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Old Boys University’s Callum Harkin (118 points) and the Upper Hutt Rams’ Tynan Barrett (103) both crossed the century of points milestone in the Swindale Shield on Saturday.

Aukuso Tuitama (Johnsonville) and Ruben Va’a (Ories) have joined Niko Patelesio (Wainuiomata) as the top try-scorers in the Swindale Shield with 8 tries each.

This doesn’t include HOBM’s points from Saturday, we are still waiting to receive HOBM’s try/point scorers from their 43-0 win over Wellington to bring this list up to date. 

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Ories women suffered their biggest loss since a 56-7 setback against Norths in 2019 when they were beaten by the same opponent 43-10 on Saturday.

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Veteran Serena Curtis-Lemalu was a 70th minute substitute for the Poneke women in their win over Pare-Plim in the Women’s Izzy Ford Cup. She was overheard shortly after asking referee Scott MacLean how long was left. “Seven-and-a-half minutes” was the response.

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Some quirks in the refereeing appointments on Saturday. At the Petone Rec Jamie Fairmaid had the assistance of his father – current WRRA President Mark – on the line for the Petone vs Tawa match (at least for 25 minutes until Jamie got injured and handed the whistle over to Luke Pearce), while at Kilbirnie Park Steve Newson had his son Brad as part of his team for the Ories vs Pare-Plim encounter.

In another father-son duo with refereeing ties, Joseph Pinfold, son of former Premier referee Mike and a past referee himself, made his Premier debut off the bench for HOBM in their win over Wellington.

The WRRA have also presented badges to their Premier referee group, with the majority receiving theirs at the association’s meeting last week. That group now also includes Luke Pearce and Zarne Johnson with both having been elevated to that group in recent weeks.

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With the Hurricanes season having come to an end in Canberra on Saturday night, what chances of some high-profile additions over the run home in club rugby? This could be a blessing in disguise as far as community rugby goes. Wellington Lions pre-season schedule unknown, but we would assume some of these Hurricanes players now have about a month off before their next representative commitments.  Of course, a group of non-Wellington players will also likely head off now to their home provinces.

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The Reds haven’t won any match in New Zealand since 2013 and haven’t beaten the Crusaders in Christchurch since 1999.

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The Blues have only lost one playoff match at Eden Park and that was the 1998 final against the Crusaders.

The Blues have achieved 14 wins this season. The record for most wins in a season (including finals) is 17 by the Crusaders in 2017. They played 18 games, the Blues will play 17 if they contest the final.

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The record for most consecutive wins in Super Rugby is 19 by the Crusaders between 2018 and 2019.

The Blues were the first team to string together 10 successive victories in their 12-game span in the 1997 campaign, followed by the Bulls who would stretch their exploits across the 2009 and 2010 seasons with 12 wins on the trot.

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Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga are both playing superlative footy for their respective Super Rugby teams. With the All Blacks midfield woes could a 10/12 split between the pair be a possibility? How can you leave out the most talented players in the country? Isn’t the challenge of a coach to make a system work to cater for his best players? Imagine having  Barrett and Mo’unga on opposite sides of the scrum while attacking.

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The Hurricanes season is over at the quarter final stage following a second-half collapse against the Brumbies. In a strange game the Hurricanes were in control at 11-3 until a Brumbies red card galvanised the hosts; scoring two tries. The Hurricanes regrouped and were ahead 25-18. Approaching the final quarter a kick out on the full by fullback Josh Moorby signaled another momentum shift. With a rampant maul, stern defence and sloppy Hurricanes handling, the Brumbies scored the last 17 points of the game. Dramatic swings in fortunes weren’t uncommon for the Hurricanes this season!

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Are the English women the only team better at mauling than the Brumbies!

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Hurricanes Report Card 2022

Best Performance: Epic comeback against the Blues, down 32-14, won 33-32. It’s still the Blues only loss of the season.

Worst Performance: The loss to Moana Pasifika should never have happened and was made worse by the fact Hurricanes trade off Danny Toala scored the winning try.

Best Forward: Ardie Savea – Immense week in week out.

Best Back: Jordie Barrett – Remarkable level of involvement to the extent he sometimes overplays his hand. The Hurricanes would be lost without Barrett.

Best New Back: Josh Moorby – Versatile, startling pace, scored tries. An ideal replacement long term for the departing Wes Goosen whose consistency will be sorely missed. Special mention to Aidan Morgan, a first five for future years

Best New Forward: TK Howden – The Hurricanes are blessed for depth in the loose forward department with Brayden Iose, Tyler Laubscher and Caleb Delany all putting their hands up at some point throughout the season and a bundle of hungry youngers coming through the age group system like Cooper Flanders and Peter Lakai. Howden was a standout for his high work rate, aggression and skill. A player with a growing presence. Special mention to Justin Sangster in the locking position.

Sundry Thoughts: The hooking crisis reached absurd propositions with no less than nine players used. Raymond Tuputupu became the youngest ever Hurricane at 18 and with plenty of size and athleticism looks set for a big future. Unfortunately established stars Asafo Aumua, Du Plessis Kirifi and Tyrel Lomax regressed. Aumua’s assault on Gareth Evans was a moment of madness and he still hasn’t shrugged the aging and battered Dane Coles as undisputed top pick. Kirifi suffered illness for part of the season and seemed to incur the wrath of the referees more often than usual at the breakdown. The likes of Fletcher Newell and Oliver Jager may have usurped Lomax in a congested All Black propping que.

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After two relatively easy misses Wellington College first-five Stanley Solomon kicked an angled, last-minute penalty to earn Wellington College an upset 18-17 win over Scots College. It was Wellington’s first win against Scots since 2017 and Scots first defeat in 14 Premiership games dating back to a 5-7 loss to St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in 2020. Gritty, quick and creative, Solomon resembles Damian McKenize at the same age in much of his play.

The winning kick:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=5163564067067811&extid=NS-UNK-UNK-UNK-AN_GK0T-GK1C&ref=sharing

Scots College v Wellington College Since 2017

  • 2022: Wellington, 18-17
  • 2021: Scots, 48-22
  • 2020: Scots, 48-22
  • 2019: Scots, 59-20
  • 2018: Scots, 53-10
  • 2017: Wellington, 27-14 (Semi)
  • 2017: Scots, 14-13

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Napier Boys’ High School is celebrating their 150th Anniversary this year and on Saturday they played a special match to mark the occasion against Palmerston North Boys’ High School, winning 22-18 with a last play try in a fixture that also counted towards the annual Polson Banner contest (usually contested in the last round). Napier’s tries were scored by Adam Curran, Sam Kanthavong and Angus Prouting. Luke Thomas kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Polson Banner Stats:

  • Played: 118 Palmerston North won: 64 Napier won: 49 Drawn: 5
  • Palmerston North biggest win: 45-3, 1981 Napier biggest win: 43-14, 2002. 50-21, 2020.
  • Palmerston North most wins in a row: 12, 1972-1983 Napier most wins in a row: 6, 1999-2004.

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As widely reported elsewhere, the Silver Lake deal was passed last week.

From the $200 million, $37 million will be split among the NPC unions ($1 million each), Heartland unions ($500,000 each), clubs ($10,000 to $50,000 depending on size), Maori rugby $2 million and the Rugby Players Association $5 million. A new Legacy Fund receives $60m.

Let’s hope that it is used wisely.

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The Manu Samoa squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup has been selected. Lots of New Zealand club and provincial players in the group. Much of this website’s audience is a Wellington one, so our coagulations in particular for Avalon’s Nigel Ah Wong. Former Scots College and Wainuiomata loose forward Henry Stowers is another familiar name. Stowers has been playing professionally in recent years for the Force, Canterbury and Moana Pasifika.

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On the field on their Old Timers’ Day, defending Manawatu champions Feilding Yellows lost to visitors Old Boys Marist 30-28, conceding a try with the last play of the game off a lineout drive. Logan Henry played for Feilding and scored a try.

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Sheridan Rangihuna the top points scorer in Hawke’s Bay club rugby with exactly 100 points. His Napier Tech team are unbeaten and top the table after eight rounds.

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Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay meet today in a pre-season representative clash, as do Whanganui and Wairarapa-Bush. Update: the Manawatu Evergreens beat the Hawke’s Bay Saracens 33-26.

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The Black Ferns play Australia today in Tauranga. Their last international outing on home soil was on August 17, 2019, when they defeated the Wallaroos 37-8 at Eden Park. That was their 19th straight victory over their trans-Tasman rivals. There are six survivors in the match-day 23 from that Black Ferns team.

The Black Ferns have a home test record of 26-2.

England Women: 249 wins, 3 draws, 43 defeats

France Women: 175 wins, 5 draws, 76 defeats

New Zealand Women: 86 wins, 1 draw, 16 defeats

USA Women: 59 wins, 1 draw, 69 defeats

Canada Women: 65 wins, 3 draws, 74 defeats

Australia Women: 20 wins, 37 defeats.

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Halfback Kendra Cocksedge will replace Auckland Rugby President Seiuli Fiao’o Faamausili as the most capped Black Fern of all-time when she plays her 58th test against Australia. She debuted in 2007 against Australia. In 2015 and 2018 she was the New Zealand Women’s Player of the Year. Victoria Heighway (2007 & 09) and Rawinia Everitt (2012 & 14) are the only other players to have won the accolade twice. A stellar season in 2018 saw Cocksedge become the first woman to be awarded the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Trophy as the New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year. She beat All Blacks Richie Mo’unga, Brodie Retallick and Codie Taylor to the top prize. She has played 50 consecutive tests and holds the Black Ferns record for most points with 352. She has more test caps than all her teammate

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Saitama Wild Knights won the Japan Rugby League One competition defeating Tokyo Sungoliath 18-12 in the final. Despite four penalties from Damian McKenzie the Wild Knights, coached by Robbie Deans, upset the top ranked Wild Knights. They finished the season with 16 wins in 18 games. Kiwis in Sungoliath include: Hadleigh Parkes, Lachlan Boshier and Vince Aso.

The June Rugby News Magazine is now out:

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