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Sideline Conversions 24 April (some rugby news and information to start the week)

With their team gelling on the field, supporters have enjoyed consecutive Saturday afternoons out in the Ngati Toa Domain sunshine. Photo: Stewart Baird.

Anzac Day tomorrow – lest we forget.

There is one match tomorrow, at Evans Bay Park, where the MSP Colts and the St Pat’s Town First XV will play for the Xavier Reidy Cup at 1.00pm. A busy pre-season for St Pat’s Town, who lost to Marist Canberra 31-24 last Thursday and missed out to St Bede’s the week before.

College rugby gets underway this coming weekend. Last years top four – Silverstream, Wellington College, St Pats Town, and Rongotai – are at the NZCIS campus for the first week of the Tranzit Festival, while the remainder Premier sides (open weight and age) start their qualifying process.


Fifth round Swindale Shield matches coming up this Saturday at a glance:

#1 – Norths v Upper Hutt Rams / #2 – Avalon v Wellington / #3 – HOBM v Pare-Plim / #4 – Ories v J’ville / #5 – Petone v Poneke / #6 – Tawa v Wainui / #7 – OBU v Marist St Pat’s.

Oriental-Rongotai v Marist St Pat’s the headline Women’s fixture this coming Saturday.


The Paremata-Plimmerton – Tawa result on Saturday might be one of the most significant result in the Swindale Shield in years. Tawa, with three Jubilee Cups since 2013, beaten 45-24 by a side that has their best year last year in winning four matches.


How come Dominic Ropeti and Toby Crosby both missed out on the New Zealand U20s 38-player squad last week? Both were instrumental players for their club teams on Saturday, with Crosby scoring a hat-trick for the Rams and Ropeti two for Ories, as well as having storming games. The players selected ahead of them must be very special players indeed.


Saturday’s one-point win at the death for Ories over Petone was the third consecutive occasion that this match was was won by the home team with the last play of the game.

Ories-Petone last seven Seven Swindale Shield results: 2023: Ories 30-29. 2022: Petone 37-35. 2021: Ories 15-13. 2020: Petone 34-30. 2018: Ories 25-17. 2017: 25-25. 2016: Petone 6-3. Head-to-head in these games: 3 wins each, one draw. Average score margin 2.9 points.


Saturday’s one-point win for the Petone Colts over the Upper Hutt Rams Colts (32-31) in the first round of their competition extended their winning streak to 19.


A long season coming up for Waitakere in Auckland Premier club rugby. They missed out 100-5 to Manukau Rovers on Saturday, which followed their 62-3 loss to College Rifles last week and 66-10 defeat to Suburbs in the first week.


Saturday’s match between Marist St Pat’s and Johnsonville was referee Daniel Mangin’s 109th Premier outing in the middle. It was the first time he had one end in a draw.

Fellow Premier referee Jack Sargentina brought up 50 games at that level on Saturday as well.


What does Oriental-Rongotai photographer Dave Brownlie do during the week? Well, this week he is on a motorbike tour travelling on the forgotten highway in Taranaki, and offline and off his mobile phone for the week. He will be back on Saturday to shoot rugby!


Most years the women’s game always throws up familiar names who have excelled in other sports. Plenty of cases of netballers switching to rugby and others such as Black Ferns cricket captain Sophie Devine playing a handful of matches on the wing for Petone four seasons ago (and marking Ayesha Leti-L’iga in her debut match). One such player appearing in Poneke’s midfield for the first time is Phoebe Edwards. She was the 2015 College Sport Wellington Sportswoman of the Year, the then Wellington East Girls’ College student finishing in the top half of the field in heptathlon representing New Zealand at the World Youth Athletics Championships that year and later heading to the USA on a college scholarship.


In the same match that Edwards played at centre on Saturday she was marking Wellington Pride flanker Sinead Ryder-Tooala, who had Black Ferns Jonah Ngan-Woo and Ayesha Leti-L’iga inside her at second and first five-eighths respectively. The latter scored a hat-trick on Saturday, so by our count she has scored 175 tries in 62 club games for Ories.


A couple more milestones in the Women’s grade over the weekend with Paremata-Plimmerton duo Teana Aliva and Sharn Rohloff – both of who have returned to rugby this year after some time away – playing in their blazer games.

Three sisters playing for the Paremata-Plimmerton women’s side this year too, Te Aranui, Hana and Kararaina Te Puni.


Over on the Men’s side Nash Fiso-Vaelei played his blazer game for HOBM, and OBU’s Cody Quin was recognised for recently reaching 50 games for the Goats


Expect to see some faces turning up in new places over the next few weeks as players look for opportunities elsewhere. One of those is recent Wellington U19s hooker Leon Tuiloma, who after appearing for the Wellington Axemen Premiers at Maidstone last Saturday was back there again this past one, only this time playing prop for the Upper Hutt Rams’ Colts side.


A contrast in attitudes perhaps?

The previous two weeks OBU had the services of Taine Plumtree, who is currently with the Blues for Super Rugby, and had him for full games.

On Saturday they had Caleb Delany, who is with the Hurricanes, and he was limited to just 40 minutes, and his body language in the second half reflected that.

Both Peter Lakai and Riley Higgins played the full match for Petone.

And Peter Umaga-Jensen played a scheduled 60 minutes for Wainuiomata, but he actually only played 50 as this included a spell in the sin-bin!


Somewhat farcical scenes at Nairnville Park in the OBU vs HOBM Colts game. The match was reduced to uncontested scrums for the second half, and not for the understandable reason of injury (as was the case at the Polo Ground between Ories and Wellington). Rather, the young Eagles only had two props to start with, and one of those was voluntarily withdrawn so they could make the bench for the Premier side.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in the past couple of years, and should surely be unacceptable to the union.


Five years ago Neyla Masima burst into the spotlight by scoring a hattrick in Silverstream’s Premiership final win on TV at Porirua Park. His career has taken a few twists since then with a stint in rugby league with the Warriors and then a stillborn return to rugby with Petone. But he was back on Saturday, playing for Avalon’s second side and industrious on attack and defence.

As an aside, his locking partner was veteran ’40-something’ Damian Collins, who made his Premier debut before Masima had even learned to walk.


On the subject of veterans, a shout-out to Simon Malaeulu who made a return to the loosehead propping position on Saturday for the HOBM Eagles in their 78-0 win over the Wellington Axemen.

Malaeulu played his 100th game over a decade ago and last appeared in Wellington club rugby in 2019.

His inclusion was no doubt related to the note about about the HOBM-OBU Colts match going to uncontested scrums.


Always good to see former Premier players in the U85kg JC Bowl competition. One example is former 100-game Tawa hooker Matt Treeby playing tighthead prop for the new Tawa Ducks U85kg team. Plus former Tawa Premier player Adam Preston at centre.


What about a de-boot?


Eden Fullback Will Newbold might be the best exponent of the 50/22 in the country. He kicked two in a row in the same spot a minute apart for Eden against Waitemata in the Gallaher Shield on Saturday. Unfortunately Eden lost the lineout on both occasions and the match 24-34.


A Foxton thriller on Saturday, with visitors Paraparaumu beating the home team 22-21 in the latest round of the Horowhenua-Kapiti Ramsbotham Cup. The two other results saw Waikanae defeat College Old Boys 18-12 and Shannon beat Wanderers 34-6.


The legal tackle height in community rugby will be lowered from below the shoulders to the “base of the sternum” from next season, the Rugby Football Union has confirmed.

In January the RFU announced the tackle height would be from the “waist” down, a decision which was met with uproar in the game.

The RFU have since canvassed the views of 8,500 people on how to word the law change.

It will come into effect from 1 July.

Read more HERE


Teams for the curtain- raiser to the match of the century between Auckland and Canterbury in 1985.

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One thought on “Sideline Conversions 24 April (some rugby news and information to start the week)

  1. Nothing like Beautiful, Downtown Ngati Toa Domain on a good day! Some say that the sun always shines on BDNTD

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