Friday afternoon updates: The focus falls on the Hutt Rec and Maidstone Park in matches at home tomorrow involving Wellington representative and school teams tomorrow on a weekend that sees four Wellington teams meet Taranaki opposition.
The feature representative fixture at home tomorrow is at the Hutt Rec at 12.30pm between the Wellington Centurions and Taranaki Development.
In old school terms, this is Wellington B v Taranaki B, so it’s a much-anticipated fixture featuring many current personalities of club rugby and leading players not playing in Sunday’s NPC match at Wellington Stadium.
The Centurions are coming off three consecutive wins to start their campaign, beating the Horowhenua-Kapiti and Whanganui Heartland squads and then defeating their Hawke’s Bay counterparts in Napier last weekend. The visiting Taranaki side beat Taranaki Pasifika 22-10 in an intra-region fixture last start.
Tawa lock Hugo Plummer captains the Centurions side that includes his teammate Akira Ieremia as his locking partner and an all-HOBM loose forward trio in Jordan Gillies, Willie Rua and Mika Alaifatu and an OBU inside back combination in halfback Kyle Preston and first five Callum Harkin. Losi Filipo lines up on the right wing, outside the experienced midfield of Brandyn Laursen and Lester Maulolo. Full team listed below.
Visitors Taranaki have a familiar name at halfback and as their captain in former Norths player Campbell Woodmass, plus a few current Taranaki NPC squad players. Former Petone prop Mike Kainga is on their bench.
Both Wellington’s other two representative men’s teams are away in Taranaki tomorrow to play the other two sides from that region. Wellington Māori plays Taranaki Pasifika and Wellington Samoa meets Taranaki Māori. Both matches are in Hawera.
It is the opening weekend of the Hurricanes U19 Central Region Shield competition, with matches in Napier and Palmerston North.
In Napier, defending champions Wellington face Hawke’s Bay and in Palmerston North Manawatu meet the Hurricanes Heartland U20s.
The Wellington U19s side has had an erratic start to their representative season, conceding and then reeling in a big deficit against Tasman and over-run by Canterbury last Saturday in a match played in Kaikoura owing to the weather events at the top of the South Island. The coaches will be eyeing consistency over the next three weeks.
The Wellington U19s have some 15 players of 23 with Premier club rugby experience lining up at Tremain Field at 12.00pm tomorrow afternoon. Blindside flanker Dominic Ropeti captains the side that features Bradley Crichton and Siale Lauaki at prop, Toby Crosby again at openside flanker and his Rams club mate Pene To’o at No. 8 and Chicago Doyle at first five. Other selections include former Scots College pair Maea Tema-Schmidt at lock and Muri Stewart at halfback.
There are two Hurricanes college semi-finals at Maidstone Park and a Wellington grade final tomorrow.
The 12.00pm Maidstone Park match sees Upper Hutt College/Heretuanga College play Whanganui Collegiate in their Hurricanes Co-ed Cup competition semi-final. Whanganui Collegiate recently finished fifth in the Central North Island competition and beat Wellington College several weeks ago at the Quadrangular tournament. They are a hearty side with good midfield and loose forwards.
On the other side of the draw, Wairarapa College have no semi-final opponent and are straight through to the final.
This match is followed by a 1.30pm fixture at Maidstone, between St Pat’s Silverstream and Feilding High School.
This is a battle between two champions. Silverstream beat St Pat’s Town 28-14 in the Wellington final last week and Feilding recently defeated St John’s, Hamilton 33-22 in the Central North Island competition decider.
Elsewhere, Napier BHS and Hastings BHS meet with the winner of that match to play Wellington runner-up St Pat’s Town in the semi-final on the other side of the draw.
At Wellington College, the Wellington College 4th XV and the Scots College Second XV meet in the Premier 4 decider. Kick-off is 1.00pm.
Lions and Pride
The Wellington Pride are in action on Saturday at midday against Auckland at Eden Park.
Having avoided relegation from the Farah Palmer Cup Premiership to the Championship, the Pride head to Auckland with a playoff place at stake. If Wellington win, they should finish third, of they lose they can still finish fourth should Waikato defeat Counties Manukau in their match that follows on Saturday.
The Wellington Lions will hope to bury their last two results that have seen them put away by Canterbury and then sunk by Northland.
They are back at familiar surroundings at Wellington Stadium and closer to Courtney Place, and they can put their campaign back on track if they beat Taranaki. The visitors had a poor start to their season, losing to both Northland and Bay of Plenty before turning that around last weekend with a hard-fought victory over competition favourites Canterbury.
They also meet for the John F Henning Trophy, donated for play between these two unions in 1969 by the then US Ambassador. Taranaki are the holders, having won last year in Inglewood 32-26.
Teams (as received by 2.00pm Friday):
Jordan Sului (Avalon) Falelatai
Siaosi Afele (Stokes Valley) Faleasi’u, Lepea
Noah Galuvao-Tuifao (Poneke) Falelatai, Salaevalu
Lionel Taito (Stokes Valley) Nofoali’i, Falealupo, Lalomalava, Malie
Samson Alaimoana (Ories) Sala’ilua, Tafatafa, Malie
Malachi Ti’a (Ories) Falefa, Lefaga, Manono
Kitiona Leitufia (Wainui) Lauli’i, Sala’ilua Savai’i
Siaosi Lavea (Ories) Falefa, Safotu
Solomona Uelese (Tawa) Solosolo, Vaimoso
Mika Cooper-Finau (Tawa) Lefaga, Vailu’utai
Ben Tuiatua (MSP) Fasito’outa
Isaia Petelo (MSP) Solosolo, Aufaga
Steven Va’a (Ories) Salamumu, Asau
Mo’omo’o Falaniko (Avalon) Falealupo, Falelima
Fereti Soloa [Captain] (HOBM) Moata’a, Apia
Tai Bryce (HOBM) Vaivase Uta, Falelatai
Daley Ena (Avalon) Mutiatele Aleipata, Faleasi’u
Sonny Oloapu (Avalon) Iva, Leulumoega Tai, Siumu
Tito Ioane (Tawa) Vaie’e, Saleimoa, Lalovaea
James Mose (Poneke) Saleimoa, Leauva’a, Tuana’i
Ty Poe (OBU) Lufilufi, Lotopa
Niko Patelesio (Wainui) Lepea, Lotofaga
Campbell Cowie (Wainui) Vaivase Tai
1 Meinrad Fitisemanu (MSP)
2 Josh Southall (Petone)
3 Ha’amea Ahio (Johnsonville)
4 Hugo Plummer (Captain, Tawa)
5 Akira Ieremia (Tawa)
6 Jordan Gillies HOBM)
7 William Rua (HOBM)
8 Mika Alaifatu (HOBM)
9 Kyle Preston (OBU)
10 Callum Harkin (OBU)
11 Isi Saumaki (Tawa)
12 Brandyn Laursen (HOBM)
13 Lester Maulolo (Petone)
14 Losi Filipo (Norths)
15 Harrison Boyle (N/A)
16 Joyner Gaualofa (Tawa)
17 Brett Manaia (HOBM)
18 Nonu Tuia (HOBM)
19 Lipa Saveatama (Tawa)
20 Jimmy Hewitt (Poneke)
21 Logan Love (MSP)
22 Pena Va’a (Ories)
23 Pakai Turia (Poneke)
Te Ūpoko O Te Ika Wellington Māori
1 Bradley Crichton (Norths)
2 Leon Tuiloma (Wellington Axemen)
3 Siale Lauaki (Tawa)
4 Maea Tema-Schmidt (Poneke)
5 Connor Chatfield (OBU)
6 Dominic Ropeti (OBU)
7 Toby Crosby (Upper Hutt Rams)
8 Pene To’o (Upper Hutt Rams)
9 Muri Stewart (OBU)
10 Chicago Doyle (MSP)
11 Garry Tuilekutu (Avalon)
12 Tofuka Paongo (Tawa)
13 Elijah Maene-Lokeni (OBU)
14 Keisar Vailalo (HOBM)
15 Noah Guise (MSP)
16 Moses Tuifao-Galuvao (Poneke)
17 Jonty Bird (Ories)
18 Valentine Parker (OBU)
19 Mitchel Taupau (Pare-Plim)
20 Kobe-Joe Vulu (HOBM)
21 Sam Howling (Poneke)
22 Neru Sheck (Tawa)
23 Junior Paulo (HOBM)
Wellington Lions v Taranaki Bulls Did you Know?
- The early matches between Wellington and Taranaki were all tight affairs, the results from their first five meetings between 1894-1898 reading: 0-6, 0-0, 0-6, 3-0 and 0-6.
- Sunday’s match will be the 35th NPC fixture between the sides, with Wellington currently ahead on 29 wins to Taranaki’s five in their head-to-head history.
- Overall, the pair has clashed 175 times in first-class fixtures going back to 1894, of which Wellington has won 122 Taranaki 47, with five draws and one abandonment.
- The match between Wellington and Taranaki in 1907 remains the only provincial match to be officially abandoned in New Zealand. The weather was so bad the referee called the game off at halftime, with Wellington leading 3-0
- When Wellington and Taranaki played in 1920, Athletic Park was so cut up and in such a poor state that the field was turned around to run from east to west along the northern end of the field. In bitterly cold conditions, Wellington won 16-5 and retained the Ranfurly Shield.
- Wing Ron Jarden scored seven tries in 10 games against Taranaki between 1952-1956, including consecutive braces against them in the second match of two between the Unions in 1954 and the first in 1955.
- Lome Fa’atau holds the Wellington record for most tries in NPC matches against Taranaki with eight, and he also holds the record for most tries in an NPC match against Taranaki with three, in 2003.
- The Wellington Taranaki match at Hawera in 1962 was the 100th between the unions, but there was no celebration that day for the team’s goal kickers. Taranaki had 14 shots at goal from tries and penalties and missed the lot. Two dropped kicks went astray. With four tries, however, Taranaki won 12-8.
- Taranaki’s first-ever match in Division 1 of the NPC was against Wellington in 1977. Taranaki won 18-10.
- Taranaki’s highest score against Wellington in a NPC match is 54, at Wellington in 2016. Wellington’s highest score against Taranaki is 73, at Wellington in 2004.
- Wellington has aggregated 1,156 points against Taranaki in all NPC matches, including 149 tries.
- Taranaki has aggregated 687 points against Wellington in all NPC matches, including 80 tries.