You are here
Home > Club Rugby > Hewitt and Poneke hoping to progress in Jubilee Cup this weekend

Hewitt and Poneke hoping to progress in Jubilee Cup this weekend

Poneke return home to Kilbirnie Park to host Tawa in one of two major Jubilee Cup knockout fixtures this Saturday.

This is a replay of their match just three weeks ago at the same venue, won 29-21 by Tawa. Poneke are also coming off a 24-19 loss to Hutt Old Boys Marist last Saturday but having won 11 of 13 matches and finishing third in the first round Swindale Shield competition, Poneke are backed by many to turn these defeats into a win this weekend.

Jimmy Hewitt is a key member of Poneke’s squad, the all-action loose forward and some-time midfield back has been an invaluable contributor to the Poneke clubs for the past several seasons since joining the club out of Wellington College.

Speaking with the Huddy Hui this week, Hewitt was naturally disappointed with how the match against HOBM finished.

“I thought the boys would pull through at the end, but we couldn’t quite finish it how we wanted. But this Saturday against Tawa is a new week so hopefully we can beat them and move on to the semis, “said Hewitt.

He said Poneke will be expecting an immediate onslaught from Tawa, which they will need to withstand. The defending Jubilee Cup champions were in top form in their 42-5 win over OBU this past Saturday.

Watch the full Huddy Hui episode here:

In winning all but two first round matches (their only other loss being 18-51 to OBU in a second half blowout), Poneke consistently showed fighting qualities they are renowned for.

Hewitt said a key to their season so far has been team culture, led by first year coaching duo Reggie Goodes and Toby Robson.

“When we came together in the off-season the coaches weren’t talking about the Swindale or the Jubilee, they talked about our culture,” Hewitt said. “Working together as a team and a club and working on our culture has gone hand in hand with our results and in winning some some close games. We also work together as one club, so all the teams are coming together with one mindset and get on well as a wider group.”

That and the club colours. “I also think it is because I like to dress in red,” he joked.

As alluded to above, Poneke have played a series of close and epic games in 2022.

“My favourite game was the win over Petone, going into that game knowing that they were unbeaten. They came out to us and everyone was on and played well and that is why we came out on top [28-23]”.

Hewitt made a successful transition to Premier rugby from Wellington College to Poneke in 2016, playing 16 matches and making 13 starts that season. He then played for the Wellington U19s later that same year. He has gone on to make 65 first team appearances for Poneke (as per the Club Rugby website database) in 2016 and 2018-22.

A leading attribute is his versatility.

In his two years in the Wellington College First XV he played hooker and flanker also played some matches at second-five, moving out there when at Wellington College.

He spent the first part of his club Premier club career mostly in the loose forwards and occasionally at hooker, but a large part of it in recent years at second five. All his 15 matches in 2021 were in the backs. This season he has been back at flanker.

“I am a forward at heart, I love the forwards and anywhere in the loose forwards is my favourite place to play. When I first started playing, I was a prop, then I moved into hooker and then into the loose forwards.”

Why the move back out to the midfield?

“The reason for that was because we were short one time. It was against Ories and a game that Julian Savea was playing for them. It was my first game back from injury and I was supposed to be playing for the Reserves and then got the call-up for the Premiers and was asked to bench for second five. Five minutes later I was told I needed to start at second five because of another injury. So that was a stitch up – and that was before I found out Julian was playing!”

Another reason why he prospered at second five for school and latterly club is because of his defensive qualities, which have always been in demand.

Hewitt got that from his father, who practiced the art of tackling with him from an early age, not just physically but mentally. “He also taught me how to think about tackling when I go into contact.”

Hewitt grew up in Karori and was a Wests Roosters junior and recalls fondly his time in the Wellington College First XV.

“I enjoyed it, although our team didn’t do so well. We were the first team that lost to HIBS and the first to lose to Wairarapa [2014].

Saturday’s game against Tawa is against a club he almost joined instead of Poneke when he left school.

Back in 2016 he told Club Rugby in this story HERE how he almost went to Tawa. “. “I was going to go to Tawa because all my boys from college went there, like Sitiveni Paongo and Kemara Hauiti-Hemara, and I didn’t want to have to make new friends.

“But my auntie Maria Moananu is quite close to the club and she talked to my mum and said that Poneke would look after me well.”

The rugby playing Moananu brothers, Fili, Fa’atoto, Misipalauni and the late Misiluni, are his uncles. “I didn’t really know them that well, but when I came to the club, I definitely got closer to them, and others and they all made me feel really welcome.”

Outside of rugby, Hewitt is kept busy with an eight-month old son and is working as an apprentice electrician by day.

“Between those two things and rugby I don’t do a lot else! In fact, I only go to one training a week as Tuesday night is my night class.”

Jubilee Cup matches this Saturday (kick-offs 2.45pm):

  • Poneke v Tawa at Kilbirnie Park, winner to play Petone next weekend in the semi-finals
  • Northern United v Marist St Pat’s at Porirua Park, winner to play HOBM next weekend in the semi-finals

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply