Updated: A rip-roaring opening American Ambassador’s 7s series on Saturday, with some spectacular rugby at times. Kind weather and few issues.
The series is the Upper Hutt Rams’ to lose, but first leg runners-up Oriental-Rongotai will come back stronger, as will Old Boys University as the countdown commences for silverware Saturday.
Some chitter-chatter that that one or two other clubs will join the fray for leg two, making this a tournament not to miss.
The second leg is scheduled for Onepoto Park this Saturday. This is the final act of rugby in Wellington for the year, so make your plans now to head there.
Ma’a Nonu and Julian Savea helped the All Blacks win World Cup titles out of Ories. Can Jonah Ngan Woo and Ayesha Leti-I’iga repeat that feat this Saturday in the World Cup final. Which Wellington club has produced the most World Cup winners? John Gallagher was also an Ories man.
Some discussion about the new rules being brought in for next year, in particular the tackle rule in which the first tackler must tackle no higher than around the waist. Lots of yellow cards in club and college rugby next year? We get the drive for safety, but many of the collisions between the big men could be hard to police.
Senio Sanele and Arene Landon-Lane won the College Sport Wellington Rugby code gongs at their awards on Sunday night.
Landon-Lane played first five for St Mary’s College, Northern United in club rugby (champions) and was in the Wellington Pride squad.
Sanele was part of St Pat’s Silverstream’s all-action, powerful front row, who won the Wellington title and drew 17-17 with Napier BHS in the Hurricanes final. He also made the NZ Barbarians Schools squad.
Congratulations to both – although – based on nothing more than the criteria these awards are selected on because he made the NZ Schools Squad and thus played to a higher level – we were under the impression that Wellington College’s Stanley Solomon should have won this and we falsely called him the winner in this space last week!
The Hurricanes have confirmed the location of their second pre-season fixture for 2023, with the team set to host the Crusaders at Levin Domain, 5PM on Friday 17 February.
More than 5,000 people descended on Levin Domain when the Hurricanes took on the Crusaders at a 2019 pre-season match, with similar numbers expected in 2023.
Previously, another memorable pre-season match there was in 2008 when the Hurricanes smoked the Brumbies.
The Hurricanes women’s side is also playing a match there early next season, whilst rumours are swirling on Queen Street that the Horowhenua-Kapiti side will get a Ranfurly Shield challenge there in the middle of the year.
What about Black Ferns fullback Renee Holmes‘ pinpoint end-on-end grubber kick to set up Ruby Tui’s try on Saturday. In our view, one of the best kick and chases in any rugby match this year, men’s, women’s or teenagers. Reminiscent of the one Pepesana Patafilo pulled off in a Swindale Shield match at Lyndhurst Park a couple of year ago.
On the subject of Patafilo, see his new interview with his new side the Crusaders:
Back on to the Women’s World Cup final, England have won 30 Tests in a row, the Black Ferns 11. The Black Ferns best winning streak was 24 between 2001 and 2009.
Only two of the Black Ferns 16 Test defeats have happened at home.
The Black Ferns have never kicked a dropped goal in 114 Tests.
The Black Ferns rallied from a halftime deficit for only the third time in World Cup history on Saturday to win.
What if Ayesha Leti-L’iga had latched on to that cross-kick on the left wing soon after coming on to the field on Saturday? The kick went through the tips of her fingers. She had her marker and the fullback to beat, and we would have backed her to go 50 metres and score.
The Black Ferns dodged a bullet, it seems, when France lock Madoussou Fall was dragged in the 62nd minute. She was immense, having made a game high 22 tackles and been a menace in the breakdowns and starting to make in-roads with ball in hand. Then she was subbed.
Aaron Smith scored two tries in his record breaking 113th test, 113 tests is the most all-time by a back. Wonderful to see him in top form, been on auto pilot much of the year. Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll is the most capped back of all time with 141 Tests.
The All Blacks with Ardie Savea are a different beast.
On Huddy Sports this Wednesday at 7.00pm:
The New Zealand Heartland XV beat the Police XV 84-14 yesterday in a good natured and arresting match broadcast on Sky Sport. Can someone please tell the young commentator that XV is 15 not “X-V.”
The French men have won 11 Tests in a row with South Africa and Japan to come in the next two weeks. Ireland have won 15 of their last 19 internationals.
Capping of a close weekend of ‘Autumn Internationals’, Argentina beat England 30-29 on Monday morning NZT, winning with little territory and being pumped for much of the game.
Northern United’s TJ Perenara is re-joining the All Blacks for the first time in a year.
Perenara linked with Damian McKenzie in the All Blacks XV’s 47-19 win over Ireland A in Dublin this past weekend and comes in to the All Blacks squad this weekend in Scotland for rotational reasons in place of Brad Weber. Perenara played the last of his 78 tests on this tour last year.
Hamilton Boys’ High School playmaker Payton Spencer, son of former All Blacks flyhalf Carlos Spencer, has signed a professional rugby contract with New Zealand Sevens and the Blues.
Another link from the early days of rugby in Wellington is gone. Obituary from Petone Rugby below:
Vale Peter Gallagher
It is with much sadness, and a large measure of gratefulness, that we must record the passing of Peter Gallagher, Past President, and Life Member of the Petone Rugby Football Club.
Over recent decades Peter represented a real and historic lineage to one of the greatest rugby families in the Club’s 137-year history – the Nicholls Family. Some would argue New Zealand’s greatest rugby family. Within our Club the Nicholls were the centrepiece of that wonderful period of rejuvenation following World War I and extending into the early thirties.
Sid Nicholls, who incidentally founded of the Poneke Club before coming to Petone, had six children four boys and two daughters. All four sons played for Petone and three achieved All Black selection – Mark, Ginger and Doc. Mark was by a considerable margin the most celebrated of the three with an All Black career extending from 1920 to 1931 including the 1924 “The Invincibles” tour of the British Isles during which he was lauded as the most gifted five eighth in world rugby at that time.
There were, as said earlier, two daughters Dulcie and Dorothy. Dulcie was Peter Gallagher’s mother and in her youth was New Zealand’s Women’s Tennis Champion. Another remarkable family achievement.
Peter was ever conscious of the Nicholls’ lineage, and it was my privilege as co-author with Peter of the Club’s Centennial publication, the 175 page “True Blue”, to devote a whole chapter to the Nicholls family. Peter wrote the second 50 years of that history in impeccable and unchallenged detail. The Club likewise recognised the Nicholls’ family connection and elected Peter as President of the Club for the two years 1984-85, including that of the Club’s Centenary in 1985, so that he could plan and preside over the centennial celebrations. This he did with enormous energy, skill and success. As Secretary of the Centennial Committee, I can still feel some of the pain inflicted by the strength of his commitment to the delivery of that memorable occasion. His attention to detail was huge and sometimes even frightening.
Anecdotally, one incident, among scores of others illustrating Peter’s resourcefulness, was the Centennial Dinner presented to some 800 members under canvas that covered the whole of North Park. In his own inimitable way, Peter had persuaded the Wellington City Council Superintendent of Parks and Reserves to loan us 50 well-established shrubs in pots, each about 5 feet in height, to line the corridor into the canvas venue. It was very impressive. Regrettably, on Sunday morning we found only 10 of the shrubs remaining. Peter was distraught. With heads hung low Peter and I travelled to Wellington to confront the Superintendent on Tuesday morning. I knew Peter had taken personal responsibility for the loss and was aiming to make financial restitution from his own pocket. However, to our enormous relief the Superintendent looked up from his desk and said, “regard it as a willing contribution to a great Club from the ratepayers of Wellington!”
Peter will be hugely missed. If ever blood ran blue through the veins of a man, it was that of Peter Gallagher. He could be a trifle stubborn as shown when declining life membership, perhaps regarding himself as unworthy of the award. Mercifully, he later, but uncharacteristically, relented. Perhaps the word “emphatic” may better characterise Peter Gallagher but, be that as it may, his love of the Club and his sense of duty to everything it represented could never be argued.
A private service has been held for Peter.