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Sideline conversions 20 February (some rugby news and information to start the week)

Big crowd in Levin Friday for the Hurricanes. Kick-off was 5.00pm but the crowd was pouring in at 4.15pm and the ground was brimming with fans, families and flags by then.

Club Rugby wishes the people of Hawke’s Bay, Poverty Bay and surrounding areas, and all those affected by the recent events all the best in this terrible situation.


Rugby this coming weekend sees the start of the Super Rugby men’s and women’s competitions.

The Hurricanes are in Townsville to play the Reds on Saturday night, whilst the Hurricanes Poua are in Levin to host the Chiefs Manawa on Saturday afternoon.


An updated first round Wellington Premier club rugby Swindale Shield draw has been released.

This can be viewed on our website at the Draws & Results tab above or HERE

A number of amendments made:


A thriller of a pre-season match on Friday. The Hurricanes were 21-0 down inside 15 minutes and the crowd was fairly silent at that point. The Hurricanes clawed their way back and  scored on halftime to make it 21-7. The first 10 mins of the second half was much the same and then Crusaders scored to make it 26-7. The Hurricanes roared back to win 31-26.

As all the comments on the Crusaders pages suggest, you can’t read much into pre-season results. Both squads fielded enough players for two teams and all players saw action. There were a couple of late withdrawals for the Hurricanes, with flanker TK Howden and flyhalf Brett Cameron joining one or two others such as Peter Umaga-Jensen and Ruben Love on the injury niggles list. Hawke’s Bay’s Harry Godfrey played well at first five in the second half, while the Hurricanes coaches have two sets of loosies to choose from. Reed Prinsep also left the field early with what has been reported as an Achilles injury, but Ardie Savea (as you’d expect), Du Plessis Kirifi, Brayden Iose, Devan Flanders and Peter Lakai all played well. Lakai was playing openside flanker too, so a positional change there perhaps?

A First look at new Hurricanes left wing Solomone Naiduki whom we had never heard of until last week. Apparently he has been playing rugby league for the Paramatta Eels.

Elsewhere, the Chiefs beat the Blues 47-33 and the Highlanders beat Moana Pasifika 33-24.


The Hurricanes U20 series for the inaugural Sam Doyle Memorial Trophy presented by the Hurricanes Alumni is up in the air, following the events last week.

The Wellington Academy was previously scheduled to play the Hawke’s Bay Academy in Palmerston North on Saturday in Palmerston North and the third match of this series between Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay at that fair city is set down for this coming Saturday. More updates to follow later this week.


There could be as many as 16 U85s teams this year in Wellington club rugby – every club with a team except for Wainui and Norths and perhaps two from OBU. This is encouraging news.


The Hurricanes Poua Women’s side warmed up for the Super Rugby Aupiki season with an emphatic and entertaining 45-26 win over the South Island Matatu side in front of a reasonable crowd. The Poua led 17-7 at the break through tries to Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate-Ngata, Ayesha Leti-I’iga, and Taranaki’s Irihana Hohaia. Wholesale changes were made at the break with the Poua stretching their lead to 45-14 with Leti-l’iga getting her hattrick before the Matatu got some respectability with the final two scores.

The Poua open their campaign against the Chiefs Manawa at the Levin Domain on Saturday afternoon while the Matatu face the Blues in the other opening round fixture.

Scorers: Hurricanes Poua 45 (Tries: Ayesha Leti-I’iga 3, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Irihana Hohaia, Bernadette Robertson, Layla Sae. Cons: Carys Dallinger 2, Crystal Mayes 3). Matatu 26 (Cheyelle Robins-Reti 2, Leah Miles, AN Other. Cons: Rosie Kelly 3


That Aupiki pre-season game shapes as the only game of rugby that will be played on the main ground at Porirua Park this year, at least for several months. The ground is now being closed to prepare it as a training venue for the FIFA Women’s World Cup later in the year with South Africa basing themselves there. Home team Norths are set to use Porirua 2 as their main ground this year, whilst it is also understood that Whitby’s Endeavour Park is being looked at to host some games by the club.


Referees will enforce 90 seconds time limits on conversions, 60 seconds for penalty kicks, 30 seconds for scrums and lineouts to be set, and five seconds for the ball to be used at rucks, while TMOs will only interrupt play for serious, clear and obvious incidents of foul play when the season kicks off this coming weekend.

Read more on the Super Rugby website HERE

Changes are good, but if you have the sponsor’s product Sky with record mode then the best tactic is still to record the game and start watching anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour in and by the time you fast-forward through all the breaks in play and general downtime and 30x through the halftime break then you will join the live action between five and 10 minutes from the end and if its a thriller you can watch it all unfold in real time.


MSP are gearing up for their Australian tour. For more follow their social media at


Outgoing Horowhenua-Kapiti Heartland Championship coach Chris Wilton has been appointed the new Manawatu Cyclones head coach for next year’s Women’s NPC Farah Palmer Cup.

Said Wilton:

“I am inspired and determined to lift The Cyclones to the top of the FPC. I admire the skills and talent I have seen in the team and am looking forward to working with them and building on what they already have. Having a level of skill and talent in a team and pairing that with focus is where the magic will happen. I am just really excited.

I am looking forward to bringing culture to the team in a meaningful way, through interaction of people of our whenua and each other. Bringing the team together through whanaungatanga. The team need to feel deeply connected and put their jerseys on as if they are going out to battle.”

The Turbos are also currently advertising for assistant coaches and a team manager for the Turbos for this year’s NPC campaign.


Great to see former club players move onwards and upwards:


In 2021, (UC Rugby-University of Canterbury) successfully got Yoshihiro Demi Sakata recognised in the New Zealand Honours with an Honorary MNZM (Member of the NZ Order or Merit).  In the 2021 New Year Honours he collected his Hon. MNZM at the NZ Embassy in Tokyo for his excellent work in rugby relations between New Zealand and Japan and in particular the University of Canterbury Rugby Football Club, who he played for a season and represented Town, Canterbury, NZU and the NZ Barbarians. In 2012 he was inducted into the IRB (World Rugby) Hall of Fame.

Demi spoke about his career &\and proud association with New Zealand that spans almost six decades from 1964-2023. He said ”New Zealand is my second home.”


A new threat to rugby – the general strike.

Warren Gatland has implored Welsh rugby’s warring factions to come together and resolve the dispute that has led their Six Nations campaign to descend into crisis.

Wales are due to meet England in Cardiff next Saturday, but as a contract row with the game’s governing body continues, the former captain Alun Wyn Jones said on Thursday that the players were willing to carry out their threat of unprecedented strike action.

Read more here 

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