Updated: The silverware for other club rugby grades gets a bit closer this weekend as they hit the last week before the deciders next Saturday, while the representative season gets into full swing with the Men’s sides joining the Women.
It’s also the last round of college rugby before the semi-finals next weekend.
A preview follows of Saturday’s rugby action around the Wellington region tomorrow, plus teamlists (as received) for representative games at the bottom.
Premier 2 Ed Chaney Cup
Defending Ed Chaney Cup champions Tawa (1) – unbeaten since the start of last season – put their record on the line once again as they welcome Poneke (4) to Lyndhurst Park for their semi-final clash. Tawa put OBU to the sword while Poneke ended Avalon’s excellent season a week ago, and while Tawa have won both of their matches this year, no team has gotten cumulatively closer than Poneke have with the margins being 32-27 and 29-15.
The other semi-final is a repeat of last year, with Hutt Old Boys Marist (2) taking on Norths (3). What is different this time is that it’s at the Hutt Rec, not Porirua Park, and the visitors would like to return the favour from last year when the Eagles scraped home 25-24. HOBM might have won both matches this year as well, 26-24 and 31-17, but neither have been sure-run things.
Colts John E Kelly and Vic Calcinai Memorial Cups
After last week’s quarter-finals the competition splits. The Championship John E Kelly semi-finals pit unbeaten Paris Memorial winners Petone (1) against Marist St Pat’s (5). The Reds were the only lower-seeded side to win last week, but the young Villagers have been remorseless this year and won their earlier meeting 36-20 back in the early rounds of the season.
Across the Hutt River Hutt Old Boys Marist (2) again faces Old Boys-University (3), just weeks after the Eagles scorched the Goats 61-5. How OBU line up tomorrow will be interesting, but HOBM are a well-drilled side that could be difficult to get past no matter the defending champions long pedigree at this level.
The four sides that lost last weekend drop down into the Vic Calcinai Memorial playoffs, and in those eastern suburbs rivals Wellington (4) and Poneke (8) clash at Hataitai, and northern duo Tawa (6) and Paremata-Plimmerton (7) meet at at the confines of Redwood Park.
It’s a win-or-bust weekend for all four sides in the Division 1 Paul Potiki Shield, not just in terms of the local competition and progressing to next week’s final, but also in the National Club Cup with both matches doubling as third-round encounters with places in the national last eight at stake.
JC Bowl winners Johnsonville (9) are all but into the local decider next week but need a point to make certain, while a win away at Maidstone would leave the home Upper Hutt Rams (5) at the mercy of the result at Kelburn Park at 1.00pm where the OBU Scallywags (4) take on Poneke (1). In terms of the National Tournament the winner between Johnsonville and Upper Hutt will meet a team out of the northern region in the last eight, while the OBU and Poneke winner will face the last team standing out of the south.
In the Division 2 Tony O’Brien Shield Avalon (4) and Eastbourne (5) will battle it out in a virtual semi-final at Fraser Park to meet Stokes Valley in the final next week at the same venue. Stokes were already through but will have the week end to rest and scout their opponents after Wellington – who were already out of contention – defaulted to them yesterday. The Division 3 sides are in actual semi-finals, with HOBM (1) welcoming Wests (4) to the Hutt Rec and MSP (2) meeting Petone (3) again at Evans Bay.
A few things are certain heading into the last round of the Premiership, with Silverstream, Wellington College, and St Pat’s Town all assured of being in next Saturday’s semi-finals.
Currently at the top of the ladder despite losing to Town last week, Silverstream (29) should stay there as they host winless bottom-side Mana (0). St Pat’s Town (26) however will fancy their chances of leaping into second when they travel out to Hutt International (19) as Wellington College (28) have the bye this round but the Kilbirnie side will be wary of HIBS following the latter’s win over College last week.
What is up for grabs however is that fourth playoff spot with four teams in contention. St Bernard’s (22) currently occupy it and are at home but take on Scots (18), who after their earlier points deduction find themselves needing a bonus-point win to have any chance and need results elsewhere to go their way. In fact, that could be gone before they kick-off at 2.30pm as Rongotai (18) are in Masterton to face Wairarapa College (6) at 1.00pm and a bonus point win for them would take Scots out of contention. For their part a win for St Bernard’s would see them in the playoffs – as would a draw or a pair of bonus points – but anything less would see them at the mercy of results elsewhere or the tiebreakers, while to bring this paragraph full-circle HIBS could also claim the place if they were to beat Town.
In Premier 2 its far more clear-cut with the top four already decided. The feature game is at Silverstream where the unbeaten 2nd XV (40) will look to keep that record intact when they host Bishop Viard (30). Just up the road Upper Hutt (34) – who beat Viard 27-14 in Wednesday night’s Co-Ed Cup final – will look to ensure they finish second and will host the other semi-final when they face Paraparaumu (15), while the Wellington College 2nds (25) will see if they can catch Viard when hosting Naenae (5). In the remaining matches Aotea (20) host the Town 2nds (10) and Hutt Valley HS (7) are at home against fellow Valley school Taita (18).
The Men’s representative season gets underway with all four sides in action.
Locally the Maori and Samoan teams take the field at 1.00pm, both facing Taranaki opposition and both out in Porirua. Te Upoko Wellington Māori are at Porirua Park to take on their Taranaki counterparts, while the Wellington Samoan’s are just up the road at Ngati Toa Domain against Taranaki Pasifika.
Elsewhere the Centurions are over in Masterton to provide the opposition for the Wairarapa-Bush Heartland squad in their preparations, while the Under 19s head to Taihape to meet their Waikato counterparts in what has turned into an annual fixture.
The Pride have the bye in the Farah Palmer Cup this week to regroup, but their two back-up squads – the Development and the Māori – meet in a hit-out in the early game at Porirua Park.
On Sunday the attention turns to the Lions who make their NPC bow when they host Bay of Plenty at Sky Stadium. Wellington won this same encounter 32-10 two years ago, but the Steamers were winners 33-32 in last year’s meeting in Rotorua.
Overall, Wellington and BoP have met 43 times in first-class rugby between 1912 and 2021, with Wellington winning 34, BoP six and there have been three draws.
The Lions have won seven of their past eight games, prior to last year the Steamers last prevailing in 2011.
Kick-off at Wellington Stadium on Sunday is 4.35pm.
Teams for Saturday (as received, subject to change):
1. Jonty Bird
2. Leon Tuiloma
4. Markus McCarthy
5. Maea Tema-Schmidt
6. Dom Ropeti (C)
7. Neru Sheck
8. Toby Crosby
9. Sam Howling
10. Keanu Kotuhi
11. Garry Tuilekutu
12. Tofuka Paongo
13. Elijah Maene-Lokeni
14. Rewiti Leat
15. Chicago Doyle
16. Moses Tuifao-Galuvao
17. Junior Meafoou
18. Sio Titie
19. Valentine Parker
20. Sione Valu
21. Pene To’o
22. Mitchel Taupau
23. Muri Stewart
24. Kobe Waikato
25. Tyrone Maraku
Christian Semu (Injured)
Connor Chatfield (Colts semi)
Kobe-Joe Vulu (Colts semi)
Junior Paulo (colts semi)
Keisar Vailolo (colts semi)
Noah Guise (colts semi)
Bradley Crichton (Lions)
Siale Lauaki (Lions)
1. Xavier Numia, Oriental-Rongotai
2. James O’Reilly, Hutt Old Boys Marist
3. PJ Sheck, Tawa
4. James Blackwell, Petone
5. Dominic Bird, Upper Hutt Rams
6. Taine Plumtree, Old Boys University
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, Northern United (c)
8. Peter Lakai, Petone
9. TJ Perenara, Northern United
10. Aidan Morgan, Marist St Pats
11. Pepesana Patafilo, Tawa
12. Riley Higgins, Petone *
13. Billy Proctor, Marist St Pats
14. Julian Savea, Oriental-Rongotai
15. Ruben Love, Wainuiomata
16. Asafo Aumua, Avalon
17. Bradley Crichton, Northern United *
18. Siale Lauaki, Tawa *
19. Caleb Delany, Old Boys University
20. Keelan Whitman, Marist St Pats
21. Richard Judd, Paremata-Plimmerton
22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, Northern United
23. Connor Garden-Bachop, Northern United
Unavailable for Selection: Vince Sakaria, Tietie Tuimauga, Connor Collins, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Losi Filipo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Solomona Sakalia, Iona Apineru.