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Sideline Conversions 10 April (the rugby Resurrection)

Poneke halfback Sam Howling scored all 16 points for his team on Saturday. Poneke heads to Ngati Toa Domain this coming Saturday searching for their first win, against home side Paremata-Plimmerton who defeated Oriental-Rongotai on Saturday. Photo: Upper Hutt Rams rugby.

Monday morning edition (check back for updates): Two weeks into the new season and there has already been a handful of results that could be deemed ‘upsets’ – at least based on the order of standings over the past couple of season, and there’s plenty of interest for the third round and its only Monday!

Premier Swindale Shield games at a glance this coming Saturday (more HERE):

As well as the Swindale Shield, Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield and Women’s, the Colts grade launches into competition mode this weekend. The WRFU will be releasing the draw for that early this week.

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Some housekeeping before the content resumes below. Our website has been running slowly and sometimes not loading at all over the past couple of weeks, particularly in higher traffic times such as Saturday evening. If you are reading this, then there’s no issue right now!  It is our understanding and hope that the server is getting an upgrade and reboot early this week (done overnight) and after that it should run well.

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There are a handful of school matches being played this week, the first week of the school holidays.

Rugby today, at Kilbirnie Park:

Visiting Auckland school MacLeans College are in Wellington this week on tour. They play the St Pat’s Silverstream Second XV today at 1.00pm and the St Bernard’s First XV on Wednesday at 11.00am. MacLeans College are an Auckland 1B competition school, hence why we can write about them and not risk of the ire of Auckland school rugby administrators who last year threw a blanket ban on covering their 1A competition teams starting this season.

Visiting Christchurch school St Bede’s College are in Wellington this week, playing the St Pat’s Town First XV at Evans Bay Park at 1.00pm on Tuesday for the Holley Shield and the Silverstream First XV on Friday. We can freely discuss South Island schools, and St Bede’s are one of the leading First XVs in a super-competitive mainland competition that gets underway after the holidays.

Also, Scots College and Wairarapa College meet on Tuesday at Scots in 1.30pm in a pre-season fixture.

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Porirua Misfits U14s champions at the Tropical 7s which was held in Tampa Florida this Easter weekend. Undefeated the whole tournament. Scoring 241 points and only conceding 12.

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By our reckoning, Northern United No. 8 Luca Rees has played 160 Premier games (including for Petone and Ories prior to Norths) and has scored 80 tries. So a strike rate of one try every second game.

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Taine Plumtree has played two games on Rugby League Park this year. One for the Blues Development against the Hurricanes Development last month and one for Old Boys University on Saturday. He was a dominant figure for OBU against HOBM in this latest game.

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Three games in eight days for Tawa lock Hugo Plummer, for Tawa last Saturday, for the Hurricanes the following day and for Tawa this past Saturday. A dominant performance by Plummer at lineout time against Marist St Pat’s on Saturday.

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A tale of two Rayasis on the left wing. Fritz Rayasi scored three tries for the Upper Hutt Rams on Saturday, while Salesi scored two tries for the Hurricanes against the Highlanders later that night. Both players also scored the first tries of their matches.

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A tale of two Umaga-Jensen twins. Thomas played a full match at second five for the Highlanders against the Hurricanes and was a powerful figure throughout. Peter came off the bench for the Hurricanes against the Highlanders for his first game back from injury this year.

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A busy afternoon down at Lyndhurst Park for Peniasi Tokakece. He started the match at lock in the Premier 2 curtain-raiser against his former club Marist St Pat’s and scored the game’s first try. He departed the field injured not long after, but emerged in his number ones in the commentary box to help call the Premiers match on Tawa TV.

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A frantic day on the whistle for referee Danny Cameron in that same curtain-raiser above, blowing a merry symphony throughout the entire first half and much on the second. The reason? A staggering amount of penalties for high tackles, as well as the usual offences. All justified, so he was just doing his job, but players need to adapt to the new tackle rules.

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Welcome back Sheryl to Poneke this year. The long time club supporter has been living in the South Island for the past couple of seasons, but reports had her back and in full voice at Kilbirnie Park on Saturday. She even found time to join the Poneke livestream commentary with more than one “Go Poneke!” shout-outs heard in the background.

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Garry Naitini, the first hat-trick of tries for the season on Thursday night. He flew in for three tries in a losing effort for the Avalon Wolves against Northern United. Tawa hooker Joyner Gaualofa joined him on Saturday with three tries for Tawa against MSP.

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On the subject of hookers, two of the four tries scored at Helston Park in Saturday’s Premier fixture between Johnsonville and Petone were scored by hookers and a third by a prop with the support of a hooker, including a double to Petone’s Ryan Imrie to follow his try last week.

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Reports on the radio of photographer Andy McArthur almost getting bowled in the second half of OBU v HOBM at Rugby League Park. Asked about he took it in his stride, saying its just part of the hazards of being ground level close to the action and always searching for the best shots!

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The April Rugby News magazine, out now.

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What about this for a defeat. The Melbourne Rebels led the Blues 17-13 at halftime to give their paltry home crowd something to cheer about, before being over-run 54-17 – conceding 41 points in the second half.

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New Zealand won the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens and qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on a pulsating second day at Singapore Sports Hub.

Brady Rush scored the decisive try in the Cup final against Argentina as the All Blacks Sevens secured their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in Singapore since 2005.

Samoa’s Cup semi-final defeat to Argentina meant the All Blacks Sevens were already assured of their place in Paris before taking the field for their last-four match against Fiji.

Read more at: https://www.world.rugby/news/801982/hsbc-singapore-rugby-sevens-day-two-wrap

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Some readers will have seen a column by Mark Reason last week on the ‘Stuff’ website titled: Wellington Rugby’s finances reflect professional rugby teetering on the brink

The full column is here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion/300846706/mark-reason-wellington-rugbys-finances-reflect-professional-rugby-teetering-on-the-brink

The WRFU AGM was almost a fortnight ago, and we are still waiting for a media release or a news article covering this, as has been the case in most years. We are here to focus on the rugby, but some news and information from the AGM would be good from the organisation. It has been 19 days since a news article was published on their website. It is understood from public discussions at the meeting that there is more to it than Reason has reported, but to publish some further information would be speculation at this point.

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