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Petone and HOBM to meet in Colts final on Saturday

HOBM first five Kobe Joe-Vulu takes on Petone’s Tom Mannix when these two sides met back in April in pre-season. Both sets of backlines have been firing well all season and their tussle looms as a key area to watch in Saturday’s Division 1 Colts final at Fraser Park at 12.30pm.

  • By Steven White

Old Boys University have won eight of the past 10 John E Kelly Cup Division 1 Colts titles, but the clubs that have won the other two in this time, Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marist, are meeting in this coming Saturday’s 2022 final at Fraser Park.

If Saturday’s final is anything like the McBain Shield match that these two clubs contested in the Premier grade earlier this year then this will be a decider not worth missing.

Or when these two sides drew 17-17 in their one and only competition game this year back in mid-May. Many are predicting a similar outcome on Saturday and extra time could well be needed as it was in last season’s decider.

Petone are the top qualifiers, having won all their matches to date and claimed the first round Paris Memorial Trophy. HOBM were second in the 11-club first round competition.

Petone won nine and drew one of their 10 Paris Memorial games, scoring 545 points and conceding 120. HOBM won eight, lost one and drew one and amassed 418 points and conceded 112.

In the second round John E Kelly Cup, Petone advanced past the quarter-finals with a 21-5 win over Poneke and HOBM beat Paremata-Plimmerton 45-8. In this past weekend’s top four matches, Petone edged MSP 22-20 and HOBM defeated four-time defending champions OBU 31-5.

Petone last won this title in 2017 (beating OBU 36-20 in the final) and HOBM in 2015 (beating Norths 16-11). HOBM have also been beaten finalists (all to OBU) four times in the past decade.

Petone captain and flanker Mitch Southall said his team dug deep to beat MSP in last Saturday’s semi-final, after being 3-15 down at halftime and 10-20 behind in the second half.

“Our semi-final was a tough game, it was anyone’s game right up until the final whistle. Our team showed a lot of character and determination to come back from 15 points down,” said Southall.

“To win this week we are going to have to look back on our semi-final game and tweak our game plan, our defence has been a huge factor in our success so far in the season so we will be hoping to continue that into this weekend.”

Like a lot of teams this season, Petone has been battling illness and injuries in recent weeks and their line-up has been changing.

If fit, Southall said the team has the players to push for the title this Saturday. “We have a strong pack with lots of versatility, James Winter and Ben Laurie have been powerful on defence and Lepo Sipaia and Leyton Tapa have been strong on attack. [Inside backs] Tom Mannix and Rory Woollett will be driving the team around and looking to get the ball out to our elusive back three. Jacob Beattie has been a key member of our backline.”

Southall said the club will be behind them. “We have had great support this year from the club, friends and family they have backed us every game. The premier side has been a huge help to us as we got to train and learn from them week in week out.

“The motivation for us this weekend is the result from last year’s final against OBU, we look to go one better this weekend and take out the grade undefeated. We have worked hard all year to reach this goal.”

Petone lost this final in an extra-time thriller to the Billygoats last year.

HOBM are coached by former Jubilee Cup-winning fullback Steve Bruce.

He said the side was generally happy with their semi-final win over OBU in what were tricky conditions. “OBU have an outstanding record in the grade and we knew they would throw everything at us,” said Bruce. “Our defence was solid and we created some good opportunities that we capitalised on.”

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Petone who have had a great season. We know we will need to be at our best on Saturday to take out the Cup. The boys are definitely up for it!

“Our team spirit is a real strength, as is our defence, which has been well organised and very committed throughout the season. We are also quite creative on attack which has led to some great tries. It’s hard to single out individual players in what has been a real team effort.

The Junior Eagles are looking forward to strong support again this Saturday.

“We have had fantastic support throughout the year from the club and our supporters. We are hoping for a sea of red, white and green on Saturday! We’ve got a great culture at HOBM and it’s a big part of our success.”

Win or lose the final, it’s been a full-squad effort all season.

“We will be playing for the Eagles, each other and members of our wider squad who didn’t make the game day 22 but have been instrumental to getting us to the final. There are a few in particular in their last year in the Colts like our captain Damien Henare and guys like Nathan Tanuvasa and Harry Reihana-Campbell.

How will the Eagles celebrate if they win? “Well, one of the first things we will do in the changing rooms is sing our club song! We will then go back to the HOBM clubrooms to celebrate with our supporters. Later in the evening we will head over for a feed and a couple of beers at the Bellevue, who have been our sponsor this year.”

The John E Kelly Cup.


The John E Kelly Memorial Cup was donated to the WRFU by the Wellington Football Club for play in the Under 21 Division 1 Competition in 1985. The trophy is in memory of Wellington’s late Club Captain, John E Kelly, who died of cancer. John played and administrated rugby with the Wellington Club for many years and had the privilege of playing alongside his young son.

The past 10 winners have been:

2012: OBU Green

2013: OBU Green

2014: OBU Green

2015: Hutt Old Boys Marist

2016: OBU Green

2017: Petone

2018: OBU Green

2019: OBU Green

2020: OBU Green

2021: OBU Green


What: John E Kelly Cup Colts Division 1 Final
Where: Fraser Park #1
Who:  Petone v HOBM
When: Saturday 13 August, 12.30pm


SQUADS – with former schools of players in brackets


Mitch Southall (C) (St Pats Silverstream)

Jacob Beaumont (vc) (Greensborough College, Victoria)

Julius Masoe (St Pats Silverstream)

Richard Hanisi (Hutt Valley High School)

Jah Tarrant Schuster (Hutt Valley High School & Kapiti College)

Regan Shaw (St Bernard’s College)

Efeso Masoe (St Pats Silverstream)

Andrew Ledger (Hutt International Boys School)

James Winter (Hutt Valley High School & Wellington College)

Brad Pritchard (St Bernard’s College)

Ben Laurie (Wellington College)

Tiaki Freeman (Rathkeale College)

Tala Reupena (Hutt Valley High School)

Soisifa Tuopu (Taita College)

Lipo Sipaia (St Pats Silverstream)

Liam Aitken (St Bernard’s College)

Harry Wrigley (St Pats Silverstream)

Rory Woollett (St Pats Silverstream)

Jakib Tainui (St Bernard’s College)

Ethan du Toit (St Pats Silverstream)

Tom Mannix (St Pats Silverstream)

Jacob Beattie (St Pats Silverstream)

Leyton Tapa (Hutt International Boys’ School Hamish Fraser – Hutt Valley High School & Wellington College)

Fagalele Leota (Rongatai College)

Laban Lealamisa (St Pats Silverstream)

Coaches – Warren Bradshaw / Aaron Jones

Manager – Paul Fraser


Hutt Old Boys Marist 

Damien Henare (C) (Hato Pāora)

Loketi Afu (Hutt Valley High School)

Jonathan Bailey (Hutt International Boys’ School)

Josh Burns (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Jona Bartley (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Hugh Bloomfield (Hutt International Boys’ School)

William Eastham (St Bernard’s College)

Isaiah Edwards (Hato Pāora)

Ethan Edwards (Hato Pāora)

Braydin Harawira (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Kapani Jnr Maake (St Bernard’s Co)

Taani Mafile’o (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Daniel Masoe (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Michael Matagi (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Sam Morgan (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Junior Paulo (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Joseph Pinfold (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Tana Rangiwhetu (St Bernard’s College)

Harry Reihana-Campbell (Scots College)

Phelan Rona (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Fynn Ruscoe (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Siosiua Sunia (Naenae College)

Sapati Tagoai (St Pat’s Town)

Nathan Tanuvasa (Hutt Valley High School)

Hezron Tuita (Wainuiomata High School)

Keisar Vailolo (Upper Hutt College)

Theo Van Ooyen (St Bernard’s College)

Kobe-Joe Vulu (St Pat’s Silverstream)

Te Kirimaia Wanoa (St Bernard’s College)

Noni Tuia (St Bernard’s College)

Coaches: Steve Bruce, Brad Eastham and Otto Rasch

Manager: Johan Ooyen


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