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Sideline Conversions 27 February (some rugby news and information to start the week)

Clubs are sailing closer to the start of the pre-season kicking off.

This week, Club Rugby is going to start contacting all the Wellington clubs for details of their pre-season campaigns and player news so look out for that or come to us at

Four weeks out from the start of the Premier competition kicking off, a smattering of pre-season fixtures is getting underway this coming Saturday, with more on the 11th, 18th and 25th March.

In one confirmed match this coming Friday, the Hurricanes A side (The Hunters) host the Crusaders Squires at Rugby League Park. Details of this match to come.


The Marist St Pat’s pre-season is well underway – they are in Sydney this week:


Los Angeles World Rugby Sevens currently taking place.

Follow the results at World Rugby:


The Hurricanes U20s series rolled into Palmerston North on Saturday, and the match between the Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay Academies proved to be a thriller.

The lead changed hands five times during the course of the match, with Hawke’s Bay scoring the last try a couple of minutes from time to give them a 29-26 win.

Manawatu impressed with another tenacious defensive performance, holding out Hawke’s Bay near their line or into touch in the corner on several occasions. Hawke’s Bay also left some points out there through missed conversions (albeit from wide out) so could have been more ahead than 15-7 up heading into halftime. Then Manawatu scored their second just before the bell to close it to 15-14. Hawke’s Bay had the moderate wind in the second half and could have scored a couple of times to extend the lead and probably the game’s momentum, but Manawatu came back to lead 19-15 and later 26-22 ahead of the winning try to the Magpies.

We will find out this week if a re-scheduled decider is being re-played this coming Saturday between Hawke’s Bay and Wellington, with the inaugural Sam Doyle Memorial Trophy, presented by the Hurricanes Alumni, on the line.

From this series, the Hurricanes U20s side will be named, to play the Crusaders U20s in Wellington in a fortnight on 11 March and then hit Taupo for the Super Rugby U20 tournament from 16-25 March. The selectors were sideline on Saturday, so perhaps the players to be selected have done enough already?


The Hurricanes Women made a lightning start against the Chiefs but were soon overpowered by the bigger Chiefs Manawa pack, who once they got their set-piece into action they were too good. The Chiefs won 53-21.

The Hurricanes went up 14-0 inside six minutes, with tries to hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate and left wing Ayesha Leti-L’iga, but the Chiefs came back to lead 22-21 at halftime. The Hurricanes were kept scoreless in the second half as the Manawa pulled away.

Once again another healthy crowd at the Levin Domain. Following the 5,500 that attended last week’s Hurricanes-Crusaders mens pre-season match, the Levin New World took a back seat as the Courtney Place of the Horowhenua as the stand was full and many others lined the ground in drizzly conditions.

In the other match, the South Island Matatu beat the Blues 33-31.

Super Rugby Aupiki games this coming weekend see the Hurricanes travelling to Christchurch to play the Matatu and the Blues hosting the Chiefs.


Moving on to Saturday night, the Hurricanes produced a dominant win over the Reds.

Like the Hurricanes Poua in reverse, the Reds led 13-6 at one point, before the Hurricanes went on a tear and scored 41 unanswered points to win 47-13. This winning try came after 15 minutes of the second half when halfback Cam Roigard scored under the poles to make it 30-13 at that point.

This was the Reds’ seventh straight loss against New Zealand opposition over the past year. The Reds also had teenaged first-five Tom Lynagh on debut, the son of Wallaby great Michael Lynagh.


Former Hurricanes and Western Force lock Jeremy Thrush retired last year. But he has answered an SOS to return and laced up his boots in the Force’s opener – scoring the winning try:


The Fijian Drua beat Moana Pasifika 36-34 with a last-gasp try in their battle of the Pacific in Auckland.


Some green shoots of recovery? Looking at some of the provincial union websites recently – those that still actively engage through their websites – there are signs of recovery in grassroots rugby around the traps. Perhaps it’s just optimism ahead of the new season? For instance, we read on the Counties Manukau website that union is bringing back the U19 grade and a Women’s 10s grade. Could Wellington do that? If the Colts grade were to recover sufficiently, then perhaps an U19 grade could be re-introduced? Same with the Women’s competition; could a 10s or development grade be started to run as the tier beneath the current sole Women’s Premier competition?


If there is a scrum set precisely on the 22, is it inside or outside the 22 for the purposes of kicking the ball into touch?


Who are the longest standing active players in professional rugby, who have appeared in Wellington club rugby?

Jimmy Gopperth must be at the top or the near the top of that list:


Six Nations rugby this past weekend, with France beating Scotland 32-21 to shore up their favouritsm on home soil to go deep in this year’s Rugby World Cup. Ireland beat Italy 34-20 and England beat Wales 20-10. Next round in a fortnight.


Congratulations to Kemara Hauiti-Parapara for making his Super Rugby debut.

Kem played one match for the Hurricanes against the British & Irish Lions in 2017.


Five Petone players involved in the Hurricanes’ win over the Reds:



The jersey worn by Sir Gareth Edwards when he scored one of rugby’s greatest tries has sold at auction for a world record £240,000.
Sir Gareth’s Barbarians shirt from a 1973 match against the All Blacks had an estimated value of between £150,000 and £200,000.
It beats the previous world record price for a rugby jersey of £180,000 – Originals captain Dave Gallaher in 2015.


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