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Jubilee and Hardham Cup finals top billing on busy weekend of club rugby

  • By Scott MacLean, Steven White & Adam Julian.

Jubilee Cup final teams HERE

Hardham Cup final teams HERE

Much attention this weekend will be on Porirua Park for the 2022 Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup finals, and rightly so being the showcase finish to the Wellington club season.

These two finals are on Jerry Collins Stadium at 12.30pm and 3.00pm, while the HD Morgan Memorial Premier 2, Division 2 decider gets underway on the top field at 1.30pm.

The E Tu Whanau Footy Show are commentating both finals on the JCS and on air from midday. They can be found on 1161AM, 87.6FM around the city and streaming via iHeart Radio and

It’s also the last round of the Colts Paris Memorial Trophy competition, with a likely trophy presentation at the Petone Rec following the Petone-OBU game there at 12.00pm. Note that fixture and some other games may differ from their usual times this week.

Just up the line, the Horowhenua-Kapiti Ramsbotham Cup final is being contested by Waikanae and Shannon at the Levin Domain at 2.45pm. Over the hill, the Wairarapa-Bush final kicks off at Memorial Park at 3.15pm between Carterton and Marist.

The weather forecast for Wellington, Porirua and the lower North Island is good, with continued cold conditions but fine and dry.

Premier Jubilee Cup

The Jubilee Cup

Petone vs Norths

So here we are. Four-and-a-half months after the opening round of the Swindale Shield we reach the conclusion of the Premier season with the Jubilee Cup Final at Porirua Park between Swindale Shield winners and top seed Petone, and a resurgent Norths looking to claim the silverware on their home field.

On paper, the Villagers would appear to be favourites. They’ve won all but two matches this year – a 23-28 loss to Poneke in round eight and a 21-all draw with Tawa two weeks later – but their quest for a first Jubilee since 2005 almost came unstuck last week before enough space was worked against a tiring Tawa for fullback Ben Brooking to scamper over and secure their finals berth.

But if Norths claim underdog status, then it’s only just. They endured a horrid start to the season losing four of their opening five games with only a win over Johnsonville. But since then, they’ve only tasted defeat once and their confidence will be sky-high after running in 25 unanswered second-half points to blitz past Hutt Old Boys Marist last Saturday, bolstered as they were by their Super Rugby quartet.

After playing a NZR-permitted 40 minutes off the bench last week, both Petone’s New Zealand U20 representatives return to the starting XV tomorrow. Peter Lakai lines up at No. 8 and Riley Higgins slots in at second-five. There are no other significant changes from their past couple of matches. Lakai’s inclusion means Tupou Sopoaga moves to the blindside, with co-captain Jacob Gooch at openside and Jarod Hrstich comes off the bench with over 75 Premier caps to his name. Higgins starts for Tom Carter who drops to the bench. Another addition to Petone’s pine is Josh Southall at back-up hooker to Zeke Sopoaga, after working his way back from injury in recent weeks and playing for the second side.

Norths will have three of their four Super Rugby players that won their semi-final last Saturday, with halfback TJ Perenara and first five Jackson Garden-Bachop forming the spine of their attack. Perenara is a veteran of the 2010 Jubilee Cup final, which Norths won against Poneke, while Garden-Bachop has scored 129 points in five appearances this year. Wellington Lions captain Du Plessis Kirifu starts at openside. Connor Garden-Bachop is unavailable for the final and missing.

The Norths forward pack is unchanged, but Jayden McCarthy marks Higgins at second five, with Te Kahui Bishop at centre, Losi Filipo on the right wing and Johnny Teleaga with his distinctive bright yellow boots at fullback.

Norths will also bring two former Jubilee Cup winners to their bench, in Solomona Sakalia (won with MSP in 2012) and Dale Sabbagh (won with OBU in 2017 and 2020, the latter against Norths).

In the Swindale Petone ran in 73 tries, scoring 509 points and conceding 229 to rank first, first, and second (to HOBM) in those three marks. Norths were not far behind though with 71 tries and 448 points scored (both second only to Petone), and their 291 points conceded was seventh best. They’ve met twice during the season so far with Petone winning on both occasions; prevailing 30-20 at this same venue in round four and again 42-28 at the Petone Rec in the first round of these playoffs.

The referee for the decider will be Jack Sargentina. It’s his second Jubilee Cup final having also taken charge of last year’s final between Tawa and MSP, and his 47th Premier match in all. He’ll be assisted by Tomas Roche and Matt Thomas who refereed the two semi-finals last week.

Kick-off is at 3.00pm.

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Premier Hardham Cup

Oriental Rongotai vs Old Boys-University

Providing the curtain raiser to the major final is the Hardham Cup decider, and while it’s not the match that either Oriental Rongotai or Old Boys-University would prefer to be playing in, there’s still the lure of silverware to put in the trophy cabinet for the summer.

Both sides racked up eight wins from their 13 Swindale matches with just a solitary point separating them on the table. However, both subsequently lost in the opening round of the playoffs – Ories 22-27 to MSP and OBU 5-42 to Tawa – dropping them to the Hardham Cup. There Ories have beaten Wellington 65-11 and Wainuiomata 45-17 while OBU thrashed Avalon 74-0 before having to withstand a furious comeback by the Upper Hutt Rams to win 20-14.

Ories will look to their experienced players to pull this one off, none more so than their two starting props and midfielders. Up front Whetu Henry is a veteran of the 2011 Ories Jubilee Cup winning team, while Poasa Poasa first played for the team in 2012. In the midfield, Ahtun Masun has been playing in the competition since 2008 and was also a 2011 winner with Ories. Julian Savea needs no introduction, and he starts at centre. Other key players include new Lion Sione Halalilo at blindside flanker and Pena Va’a outside Savea on the wing. Plenty of players with many Premier games under their belts on the bench, such as Victor Groom and Skivi Va’a.

OBU Billygoats supporters will look to their loose forward trio to establish early momentum. Wellington Lion and NZ Maori forward Caleb Delany is at blindside, Blues player, Taine Plumtree makes his 28th appearance in Wellington Premier club rugby but first at openside flanker and the up and coming Dominic Ropeti is at No. 8. Halfback and captain Kyle Preston and first five Callum Harkin will run the backline that includes Ty Poe at second five and Tom Henderson at fullback.

Through the Swindale Ories scored 60 tries (5th), scoring 387 points (7th), and conceding 268 (3rd) with OBU managing 59 tries (6th), 418 points for (6th), and 287 against (6th). In their Swindale meeting OBU prevailed 23-10 at the Polo Ground.

The vastly experienced Daniel Mangin is the referee for this, having brought up his 100th Premier match during the season. Jamie Fairmaid and Ben van Berkel are his two assistants.

Kick-off is at 12.30pm

Should it be required, extra-time covers two full 10-minute periods (no Golden Point). If at the end of that the teams are still tied, the tiebreakers are 1) the most tries scored in the match, then 2) the team with the best points differential from the Swindale Shield.

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Premier 2 Ed Chaney and HD Morgan Memorial Cups

We’ll start this weekend with the Division 2 HD Morgan Memorial, which reaches its conclusion with the final between Stokes Valley and Petone and forms the third final being played at Porirua Park, taking place on the #2 field from 1.30pm. The two have split their meetings so far this year with Petone taking the spoils 45-27 back in the first round of the National Mutual Cup and Stokes Valley edging the return encounter 26-24, with the only other losses either side have recorded being to first-round winners Avalon.

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The Division 1 Ed Chaney Cup hits its final round. Tawa (29) are assured top spot for the playoffs regardless of results but would at the very least like to keep their unbeaten streak intact when they take on MSP (13) at Evans Bay. Norths (15) and Poneke (17) clash in a rare match on the top fields at Porirua Park, with winless OBU (4) and Avalon (12) meeting at Nairnville Park. The fourth fixture which was to see HOBM (21) face a resurgent Ories (17) at the Hutt Rec is not going ahead so we await what decision comes from WRFU HQ.

Colts Paris Memorial

It seems like it’s taken a while, but the final piece of first-round silverware will be handed over tomorrow.  Leading pair Petone (41) and holders OBU (40) are the most likely recipients, and they meet at the Petone Rec at the earlier time of 12.00pm in what amounts to a virtual final, but HOBM (38) still have a chance if the top two draw and how many teams are tied and who with who, and the young Eagles face lowly Avalon (12) at Fraser Park.

Behind those three though, there’s a real dogfight in store for the final top four place ahead of what we understand the finals format will be with four teams in the mix. Three of those teams are at Kilbirnie when Tawa (23) visits Poneke (16) on #1 and next door on #2 MSP (25) hosts Pare-Plim (26), while a short distance away Wellington (26) face winless bottom side Johnsonville (3) at Hataitai. Wainuiomata (11) have the final round bye.

Under 85kg Restricted

As mentioned last week, the top two Divisions take the week off to enable the remaining second round matches of the National Club Cup to be played. However from three at the start of the week we’re down to just one, with the OBU Scallywags taking on Wellington at Nairnville Park with the winner to face Poneke for a place in the last eight. The other two matches were to see JC Bowl winners Johnsonville host Avalon and the Upper Hutt Rams entertain Eastbourne but both the Wolves and Gulls are unable to front and have given their opponents a pass into the next round where they will meet for another last eight place.

Divsion 3 however carries on, as none of the four teams remain in the Club Cup. The two Hutt teams – HOBM and Petone – meet at the Hutt Rec while MSP and Wests take to Kilbirnie #3.


The rugby action doesn’t stop after finals day. On Sunday, Counties Manukau hosts Wellington at Growers Stadium, Pukekohe in Round 2 of the Farah Palmer Cup. The match starts at 2:05pm.

Both sides are looking to bounce back from first round defeats. Wellington were torched 5-43 by Canterbury, Counties were beaten 20-39 by Auckland.

Typically matches between the Pride and the Heat are tight. They have played each other nine times since Counties joined the competition in 2013 with Wellington holding a 5-4 advantage.

Last year the Pride won at Wellington Stadium 26-25 after Harmony Ioane scored a last-play try. Two years earlier, in Jackie Patea-Fereti’s record equalling 58th game for Wellington, the Pride prevailed 38-36 with Ayesha Leti-I’iga scoring three tries. Black Ferns Sevens Star Portia Woodman scored four tries in the 2016 semi-final won 60-7 by Counties, the largest margin between the two teams.

Counties have a settled squad with only four new caps. Black Ferns Hazel Tubic, Leilani Perese, Ruby Tui and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu are their biggest names.

Counties always bring plenty of size and fight in the forwards. Sisters Glory and Jacqui Aiono can be wrecking balls and vice-captain Ti Tauasosi is a hard running loose forward. Centre Shyanne Thompson is quality and Admore Marist flyer Emily Kitson is an exciting counter-attacking fullback.

Wellington simply needs to step up. The Canterbury performance was one of the worst in years, especially conceding a try from a scrum pushover five metres out from their own line! Angel Mulu, Jonah Ngan-Woo and Ayesha Leti-I’iga are all contemporary Black Ferns and big names. If the Pride lose, or at least don’t compete, the short season could derail very quickly.

At the time of publication, the Wellington and Counties Manukau teams weren’t available.

Supporters head to the Jubilee Cup final in the 1950s.

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