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Sideline Conversions 6 February (some rugby news and information to kick-start the week)

Happy birthday New Zealand.


The 15s rugby season opens in Wellington this coming weekend, with the Wellington Academy and the Manawatu Academy meeting in the first of three weekends of Academy matches. These are effectively trial games for the Hurricanes U20s side whose campaign is in March.

Academy games over the following three weeks are (venues and times to be confirmed):

  • 11 February: Wellington v Manawatu, Wellington
  • 18 February: Hawke’s Bay v Wellington, Palmerston North
  • 25 February: Manawatu v Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North

Other matches coming up that are either out there publicly now (such as the above) or that we have permission to broadcast include:

  • 17 February (Friday): Hurricanes v Crusaders, Super Rugby pre-season, Levin.
  • 18 February: Hurricanes Women v Crusaders Women, Women’s Super Rugby pre-season, Porirua Park
  • 18 February: Hawke’s Bay Central 7s tournament, Waipukurau
  • 25 February: Hurricanes Women v Chiefs Women, Women’s Super Rugby Round One, Levin


The Waikato Fijian 7s tournament was played on Saturday in Hamilton, featuring 16 teams. The Wellington Fijian Flyers won the Bowl final


Good recent story on former Wellington College and Marist St Pat’s prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

Ulster supporters love a cult hero from the Southern Hemisphere – just ask Ruan Pienaar, Johann Muller, John Afoa or Nick Williams.

With his dancing on the big screen to a larger than life personality, it now looks like the Ulster fanbase may have a new one in the form of prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

The former All Black put in a man of the match showing as Ulster dismantled the Stomers on Friday, with the 31-year-old scoring his first try and receiving one of the loudest cheers of the night when he was replaced after an all-action display.

Toomaga-Allen, who has impressed after recovering from an ankle injury before Christmas, says he is “humbled” after being embraced by the terraces at Ravenhill.

Read more HERE


Manawatu club rugby start dates:


Good luck Daley Ena:


Gearing up for another season of U85kg rugby and the return of the National U85kg Club Championship.


Spare a thought for Northern United supporters this season.

Their team will be playing home Swindale Shield games against Old Boys University, Paremata-Plimmerton, Avalon, the Upper Hutt Rams, Johnsonville and Oriental-Rongotai – every one a blockbuster.

But these will up on Porirua 2, which is a difficult venue even on the best of days for spectators, whilst they will gaze down on an unused Jerry Collins Stadium that is being made immaculate for the arrival of the South African women’s football team in July.

Similarly, an interesting move by Old Boys University from their new-found spiritual base of Nairnville Park to Rugby League Park in Newtown.

Obviously Nairnville is a mud-bath in winter and RLP has been the training base of the Hurricanes/Lions for the best part of two decades so that field is pristine in comparison. Plus it’s closer to OBU’s clubrooms at the Cambridge Hotel. But this move could also have something in common with McDonald’s who were/are a real estate company first and a family hamburger restaurant second.

On the subject of mud, the move away from Nairnville reduces the ‘old school’ fields by one, with more clubs than not now playing on flawless billiards table surfaces.

The last time club rugby was regularly played on Rugby League Park was 2005, with Marist St Pat’s using it as its home ground prior to their move down to Evans Bay Park.


Petone’s Jackie Patea-Fereti has been named 2023 Hurricanes Poua captain.

A reliable and experienced lock, Wainuiomata born and raised, Patea-Fereti made her debut for Wellington in 2006, a part of the first team to beat Auckland in a provincial cup final and has since played 73 games for the side – captaining the Pride for eight seasons since 2012.

Named in the first Hurricanes region women’s team in 2006, Patea-Fereti’s career came full circle when she signed for the Hurricanes Poua in 2021, ahead of the inaugural season of Super Rugby Aupiki. The 18-test Black Fern replaces 2022 captain, Sarah Hirini, who has transitioned back to 7s.


Oriental-Rongotai loose forward Ardie Savea was also named as Hurricanes captain last week for the upcoming 2023 season.

The mainstream media were reporting last week that Savea is set to join the Kobe Steelers in Japan after the Rugby World Cup at the end of this year.


Te Puna 10s tournament on 11 March:


The Six Nations is underway in Europe with a bang.

France beat Italy 29-24, Ireland defeated Wales 34-10, while Scotland beat England 29-23 to retain the Calcutta Cup

For Scotland, clansman Duhan van der Merwe scored two tries and was Player of the Match.


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