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The Monday Wrap 12 September (news and information to start the new rugby week)

The Wellington Lions with the Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy after their 32-26 win over Otago yesterday.

Anyone in Wellington game enough for a road-trip the Napier this coming Saturday?

The Wellington Lions have a rare Ranfurly Shield challenge. The game against the Hawke’s Bay Magpies kicks off at 7.05pm Saturday at McLean Park, so start making plans!

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Aside from the NPC, the representative 15s season is drawing to a close. There are some matches this weekend, with the Hurricanes U16 tournament coming into view.

Matches this coming weekend involving Wellington teams are:

  • Wellington Centurions v Tasman B, Petone Rec, 1.00pm
  • Centurions U18 Boys v Hawkes Bay U18 Boys, Lyndhurst Park, 1.00pm
  • Wellington Maori U18 Boys v Wellington Samoa U18 Boys, Evans Bay Park, 1.00pm
  • Wellington Gold U16 v Hawkes Bay U16 Dev, Lincoln Park Palmerston North, 11.00am
  • Wellington Black U16 v Hawkes Bay U16A, Lincoln Park Palmerston North, 12.15pm
  • Wellington White U16 v Whanganui U16, Spriggins Park, Whanganui, 1.00pm

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The Wellington Lions came through so called ‘storm week’ with three wins on the trot to improve to a very solid 5-2 in the NPC. Wins over Taranaki and Tasman away from home and Otago yesterday is a pleasing effort, but does there remain a soft underbelly within the Lions. A 21-0 lead against an average Otago side was nearly blown with three rolling maul tries conceded.

Wouldn’t it be great if we saw a performance where they just put teams away? That they kept playing that way and racked up 50 or 60 points? The last time they did this was when they beat Canterbury (of all teams) 60-14 and Asafo Aumua went on a rampage.

On the subject of points, Hawke’s Bay scored 69 points against Southland on Saturday – we think this is the most points that the Magpies have scored in a NPC Division 1 match since 1976?

This involved at least a couple of rolling maul tries, like Otago scored against Wellington yesterday, so if the Lions can’t defend the rolling maul, then the Ranfurly Shield could remain aloof.

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Jack Leslie made his Otago debut. The son of John and grandson of Andy was playing for the Southern Bushpigs in 85kg rugby last year.

He came on early for second five Thomas Umaga-Jensen, whose head-to-head against twin brother Peter hardly eventuated as he left the field early.

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A weekend for hookers in the NPC – we added up 15 out of 63 tries in six matches scored by hookers.

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Ross Filipo – next Hurricanes coach?

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Selected last week below. It is understood that this is just a ‘paper team’ but in future overtures are being made about this team touring Japan:

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Sad news late last week, as below. A familiar face at Porirua Park and really friendly guy:

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Andrew Wells won the Marist St Pat’s Sportsman of the Year award at the club’s prize giving this past weekend. This is the second time he has won this, after 2018. Wellington Lions No. 8 Keelan Whitman won this last year.

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The passing of former Tongan international and TV commentator Willie Los’e was a sad and unexpected tragedy. Among colleagues Willie was affectionately teased for the occasional butchering of the English language, he did speak three languages. One  example was in 2011 on the Maori TV rugby quiz show ‘The Third Half.’ He asked the teams’ the question, What did British and Irish Lions wing Austin Healey call Wallaby lock Justin Harrison before the third test in 2001? Neither team knew the answer, which was Neanderthal. Willie mispronounced  Neanderthal, which in this context means an uncivilised, unintelligent, or uncouth person. The clip was replayed often on Radio Sport.

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Kendra Cocksedge ended her brilliant Canterbury career with 21 points in their resounding 41-14 victory over Auckland in the Farah Palmer Cup Premiership final. She scored the 68th try of her career with a 40-meter intercept, helping her finish with a record 1085 points in her career, which started against Otago in 2007.

Hawke’s Bay became the first team since 2017 to win the Farah Palmer Cup Championship without being the top qualifier. The Tui upset Otago 24-20 at the Balclutha Showgrounds. Emma Jensen played her 189th and final first-class game. The former Black Ferns halfback is 44.

Canterbury openside Lucy Jenkins was the only player to make over 100 tackles in the FPC season. Could she be a dark-horse for the Black Ferns World Cup team announced at 3pm on Tuesday.

In 44 Farah Palmer Cup matches there were 307 tries scored, 160 conversions and 76 penalties kicked for a tally of 2083 points.

The leading points scorer in the FPC was Hayley Hutana from North Harbour with 64 points, Cheyenne Cunningham (Otago) and Martha Mataele (Canterbury) were the leading try scorers with nine each.

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Hutt Old Boys Marist are looking for coaches for 2023. They are seeking interested coaches across all grades at the club including – Premier, Premier Reserve, Colts and U85’s. Vacancies are open to various roles and positions to be determined after the application period. Experience in college or club rugby is preferrable, as is a willingness to work collaboratively and within the club values. Coaches will be offered committed support through the club’s structure and the Director of Rugby. Please send your applications and previous coaching experience to admin@hobm.co.nz by Friday 16th September.

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A general comment about ticket prices from a reader, who noted that walk-up prices at Wellington Stadium yesterday for the Lions-Otago match were $27.50 (including $7.50 fees), for those adults that saw it was a nice day and they made the decision to head along to watch.

As a comparison, at Porirua recently the GA gate price for adults was $15 ($10 ticket + $5 fees). Yesterday’s cost was also more than the equivalent for a Hurricanes match of $22.50, so the Lions have a higher minimum gate sale price for rugby which is a level down.

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Reports that Top 4 Boys final referee Jack Sargentina was seen touring the curry houses of Palmerston North the night before the decider remain unsubstantiated.

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Maddison Levi emulated her feat from the Commonwealth Games semi-final by scoring a hat-trick against the Black Ferns Sevens in the Women’s World Cup Sevens final. Australia won 24-22 and Levi has scored 41 tries in 42 games for her country.

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A runaway try by grinning Elia Canakaivata in the Men’s World Cup Sevens final against New Zealand captured the special character of the Fijian Sevens team. Canakaivata lost his father and brother in a tragic accident 18 months earlier and was willed by his mother to carry on playing, Good thing he did, Fiji won the World Cup for the third time, and for the first time since 2005, 29-12.

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Unfortunately 2022 is a low-point in New Zealand Rugby High Performance. The Trophy cabinet on Molesworth Street is now pretty bare.

  • Men’s Sevens Olympics: Silver
  • Women’s Sevens Olympics: Gold
  • Men’s Sevens Commonwealth Games: Bronze
  • Women’s Sevens Commonwealth Games: Bronze
  • Men’s World Cup Sevens: Silver
  • Women’s World Cup Sevens: Silver
  • Men’s World Sevens Series: Australia were winners
  • Women’s World Sevens Series: Australia were winners
  • Under-20 World Cup: France are World Champions
  • All Blacks: Ranked fifth world, worst ever.
  • Black Ferns: Ranked second in the world, but lost a record four tests in a row less than 12 months ago.

It’s that time of the year where a super-hectic rugby season is starting to unwind, and initial thoughts of the future come into play. Namely resourcing and funding of this website and the Club Rugby network moving into the year ahead. If anyone out there wants to help us grow and increase our coverage and scope please consider coming on board as a new advertiser or sponsor, or buy us out as the case may be. Our contact is editor@clubrugby.co.nz As the saying goes, the ‘glass is half full’ but a good analogy of where we are at and where we hope to be going can be picked up early in the second and final lap with the eventual winner of the famous 800m final at the 1972 Olympics below:

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