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The Monday Wrap 26 September (some rugby news and happenings to start the week)

Correct us if we are wrong, but there is no rugby in Wellington this coming weekend – the 15s season on a weekend (aside from a likely NPC semi-final for the Lions the following Saturday) has come to a close.

There is a run of sevens tournaments and the Wellington Samoa Rugby Union’s 50th anniversary weekend celebrations matches in the space of a month coming up in Wellington and the region over the back end of October and into November – we are are gathering information for these so more to come in the next while.

Plus the Hurricanes Youth Council’s U16 tournament is being played at the Petone Recreation Ground next week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in the first week of the school holidays. Again, more details to come or go HERE for the draw


A fantastic defensive performance by the Wellington Lions on Saturday – it’s amazing what the Ranfurly Shield can do to lift teams, a truly magnetic sporting prize.

Wellington have held two opponents in a row tryless. The last time that happened was in 1999 when they beat Southland 61-3 and Canterbury 27-6 in consecutive weeks.


A question last week, who was the oldest player to play in Ranfurly Shield rugby? Our pick is Ned Hughes, the former Poneke hooker was 39 when he played for Wellington in 1920. He played two tests against South Africa the following year, aged 40, but it’s not clear that he played provincial rugby for Wellington that season.


Father-son Ranfurly Shield winners? We can think of the Mexteds. Father Graham was a winner in 1953 and son Murray in 1981. Did Stephen Bachop win the Ranfurly Shield as a player? If so, him and sons Jackson and Connor are in this club.


Hookers have scored 11 percent of all tries in the NPC. Here is a breakdown of tries by hookers in each round. There have been 434 tries scored in the NPC, 47 by hookers.

  • R1: 3/57
  • R2: 8/47
  • R3: 6/37
  • R4: 1/56
  • R5: 5/51
  • R6: 14/74
  • R7: 4/57
  • R8: 6/55


Canterbury first-five Alex Harford kicked a dropped goal in Canterbury’s 38-20 win over Auckland in the NPC on Friday night. It’s only the second dropped goal of the season after Counties Riley Hohepa kicked a dropped goal in the Steelers 23-22 win over Otago in the first round.  The Canterbury record for dropped goals is held by Andrew Mehrtens with 28. He kicked 10 alone in 1994.


Above: The Terraces at Rugby Park, Invercargill were the place to be late Sunday afternoon after the home side the Southland Stags broke an 18-match NPC losing streak in beating Counties Manukau 30-26. The Stags led 10-5 at halftime but then suffered a red card during which time the Steelers piled one points and led 19-10 and then 26-13 with just over 10 minutes to play. The Stags roared and came back to win with two converted tries and a match-sealing penalty on fulltime. The number of contracted Super Rugby players in Southland’s 23 yesterday? None.


A breezy sort of NPC match at Palmerston North yesterday between Manawatu and Otago. The winless Turbos leapt to a 14-0 lead inside 20 minutes, but Otago came back to score four converted tries – all four through the tight forwards – to lead 28-14 at halftime. Tawa halfback Kemara Hauiti-Parapara scored a rip-snorting try from a lineout move early in the second half, to the consternation of OBU’s home halfback Luke Campbell, and there was no coming back for Manawatu.

The match also saw another impressive performance by tyro Otago lock Fabian Holland. Him and Peter Lakai are two players who are going places from this year’s NPC competition. Who else would there be in this category?


The Heartland Championship is heating up, with two rounds to play there are several sides still in the hunt.

South Canterbury is looking good, they beat Poverty Bay 60-7 on Saturday and are the competition leaders. Saturday’s win stretched South Canterbury’s unbeaten run against Heartland teams to 20 matches – 19 wins and a draw – with the last defeat against West Coast, 27-24, in Timaru, on October 12, 2019. After that loss, South Canterbury won the Lochore Cup semi-final and finals in 2019 to start the unbeaten run.


It was a case of ‘what if’ for a hearty couple of hundred Horowhenua-Kapiti fans at Levin Domain on Saturday. In at times dreary conditions, they had to wait until the final few minutes of the match for their team to roar into life. They scored a try using their scrum, which is a strength of their game and could have been utilised in the same way on at least a couple of occasions earlier in the match, then scored another on fulltime by ripping it wide. This brought them to 15-13 (the final score) but if the conversion went over they would have forced golden point extra time and probably would have won as they had all the momentum.

Instead, Mid Canterbury took the 4 points and they are now fourth on the table and in the mix for the upcoming Meads Cup. Horowhenua-Kapiti have dropped down to ninth and they are likely gone for the season as far as the top tier spoils go.

This coming Saturday they host fellow Hurricanes union Whanganui at Levin, whose weekend went rather well. Whanganui are into their 13th decade of existence and on Saturday they broke the union’s record for the highest score in a match. Whanganui pounded Buller 83-7, leading 45-7 at halftime and scoring 13 tries.

The other lower North Island Heartland team Wairarapa-Bush beat West Coast 42-30 in Greymouth – their first win of the season.


Who does this guy remind you of?


The Ranfurly Shield was doing the rounds last week. Here 200-game Eastbourne player Jessie ‘Chop’ Gordon enjoys his moment with the Log:



Above: Cody Nordstrom, ex Hamilton Boys’ High School, scoring against the Junior Sharks in their match this morning.

The New Zealand U19s beat the Sharks 54-13.

Tries: Hunter Morrison (2), Cody Nordstrom (2), Taine Kolose (1), Isaac Hutchinson (1) Epeli Waqanicece (1), Keran van Staden (1). Conversions: Byron Smith (5), Ajay Faleafaga (2). HT: 26-8.

This was their second of four matches on tour. The New Zealand U19s accounted for Western Province U19s in their first game.

Their next two matches are against the Leopards and the Lions.


The All Blacks have had 48 games in a row unbeaten at Eden Park. The next highest unbeaten run is 22 by England at Twickenham between 1999-2003. Australia at Ballymore, Brisbane (1990-2000) and France at the Parc des Princes, Paris (1982-89) had 17 without defeat. Next highest was 16 by the All Blacks at Wellington Stadium (2004-2017) and 14 by the All Blacks at Carisbrook in Dunedin (1977-1990). The England women have won 29 tests in a row at home from 2016 to 2022. Chelsea under Jose Mourinho went 60 matches unbeaten at Stamford Bridge.


Portia Woodman scored seven tries in the Black Ferns 95-12 over Japan at Eden Park on Saturday. She scored eight against Hong Kong in the 2017 World Cup. The Northland flyer has 31 tries in 19 tests but not the record for most tries in a test for New Zealand. Vanessa Cootes scored 9 in a 109-0 victory over France in 1996.

The Black Ferns have won 92 out of 109 tests, 31 out of 33 at home and eight tests in a row at Eden Park. They have scored over 50 points in 22 tests.

Black Ferns highest international scores:

  • 134-6 v Germany 1998
  • 121-0 v Hong Kong 2017
  • 117–0 v Germany 2002
  • 109-0 v France 1996
  • 95-12 v Japan 2022
  • 90-12 v Samoa 2014

Straight Up by Ruby Tui hits bookshelves on Tuesday. If the recent Sunday programme is anything to go by it should be a cracking read. Tui outlined a brief history with P and drugs.


Most Wins as an International Coach

  • Eddie Jones, Australia, Japan, England: 125/182
  • Sir Graham Henry, Wales, New Zealand, British & Irish Lions: 109/140
  • Steve Hansen,Wales, New Zealand: 103/137
  • Warren Gatland, Ireland, Wales, British & Irish Lions: 94/177
  • Gary Street, England Women: 77/93
  • Simon Middleton, England Women: 69/80
  • Bernard Laporte, France: 62/98
  • Clive Woodward, England, British & Irish Lions: 59/86
  • Eddie O’Sullivan, England, USA: 58/103


A bit of drama playing out at the moment in Premiership rugby in England:

“Premiership Rugby has called on clubs to open their books and give league officials greater scrutiny of their finances amid the desperate plights of Worcester and Wasps and fears that others may follow.

“Worcester are resigned to being suspended from all competitions at 5pm on Monday when the Rugby Football Union’s deadline to meet a number of requirements, including an ability to make payroll and a “credible plan to take the club forward”, expires. Wasps, meanwhile, are more bullish that they can avoid administration but have a matter of weeks to find the £2m owed to HMRC to do so.”

Read more HERE


The 2023 Super Rugby draw was released this weekend amidst a flurry of media releases by the NZR and the five franchises.

As the release says, “the 2023 draw will see all 12 teams play a total of 14 matches during the regular season, 11 round-robin fixtures plus three additional rivalry matches which will see each team play a home and away series against three other teams.”

The draw can be viewed elsewhere but the two matches in the schedule that we are concerned with are here:

RD11: Fijian Drua v Hurricanes, Saturday 6 May, Location TBC, 2:05PM
RD12: Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika, Saturday 13 May, Wellington, 4:35PM

Why? Because they directly clash with club rugby and community sport – particularly the first one. We say that Saturday afternoons are for community sport. If there is no community sport there is no professional game.

Particularly the opposition in these two matches. The location for the first game is TBC, but the second is locked in for Wellington, where the Pasifika community is a big part of the fabric of Wellington community rugby, and they are asking them to abandon their own community sport that afternoon to support this match.

Perhaps we are banging a lone drum here with our thoughts on this subject, but it’s one we are going to keep hitting.

Similarly, while many will breathlessly gush at how wonderful Super Rugby is, not least the NZR with Sky and Silver Lake behind them, at this point we are asking the question what is still the point of Super Rugby?

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