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Short Passes 26 June (some news and information to start the week)

Paremata-Plimmerton’s western bankers on Saturday at Rugby League Park. Plenty for them to cheer about. Photo: Stewart Baird.

Morning edition. Another big weekend on the local rugby front.

This coming weekend’s Premier club rugby matches at a glance:

Jubilee Cup

  •  Paremata-Plimmerton (1) v Upper Hutt Rams (4)
  • Johnsonville (2) v Old Boys University (3)
  • Marist St Pats (5) v Oriental-Rongotai (8)
  • Petone (6) v Tawa (7)

Hardham Cup

  •  Hutt Old Boys Marist (9) v Wellington (14)
  • Põneke (10) v Avalon (13)
  • Wainuiomata (11) v Northern United (12)

Please scroll down to the very bottom of this article where we have inserted the WRFU’s Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup graphic, which will also be widely circulating this week. 

The Premier 2 second round club competition follows the same format this year, with an even 14 teams. The top eight start in the Ed Chaney Cup and the bottom six contenders in the HD Morgan Memorial.

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Much of the focus from our desk this coming week is on First XV rugby.

Wellington College are hosting the 97th annual Quadrangular Tournament on Tuesday and Thursday.

Day One 27 June draw:
Whanganui Collegiate v Nelson College, 1200pm
Christ’s College v Wellington College, 13opm
Day Two 29 June draw:
Defeated v Defeated from Day One, 12.00pm
Winners v Winners from Day One (Final), 1.30pm

The Beard Trophy decider and Co-ed Cup final is on Wednesday:

Fresh off their 14-7 win over Wellington College, St Bernard’s College travel to New Plymouth on Wednesday to play their annual match against Francis Douglas Memorial College.

The bagpipes will be heard in Strathmore on Wednesday morning when the Scots College – Lindisfarne College First XV match kicks off at 10.15am.

The St Pat’s Silverstream and Palmerston North Boys’ High School U15s and Second XVs meet at the Upper Hutt school on Wednesday, with both games kicking off at nearby Maidstone Park at 12.00pm.

St Mary’s College and Sacred Heart College meet in the Premier 1 Girls Final at Te Whaea at 5.30pm on Wednesday. This is preceded by the Premier 2 final between the St Mary’s Second XV and Scots College at 4.00pm, while the Premier 3 final is between host school Mana College and Bishop Viard College at 4.00pm.

Then moving on to Saturday, and the Premiership First XV clash between St Pat’s Silverstream and Scots College will be much-anticipated. Both teams are unbeaten and clearly the top two teams this year. How will this match unfold?

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The Tawa Premier Reserves finished their first round Harper Lock Shield in style with a 90-12 win over their Northern United counterparts. They had to battle hard to avoid defeat on a couple of occasions this year, but this was their 48th straight unbeaten match (two draws included). They start the second round Ed Chaney Cup as favourites, but Petone are just behind them should they fall. Tawa beat Petone 19-13 when they met several weeks ago,

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The HOBM Green Colts can put their feet up this coming Saturday. They have the bye in the last round of the Paris Memorial Trophy, but have won the title with this last round to spare. The battle for the minor places for the second round is still all on though. More later this week.

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It’s tight at the top of the Reserve Grade Mike Copeland Cup competition, with three teams separating the leading four teams. Although three have yet to have their bye. These teams are: Upper Hutt Rams J8s (on 40 points, played 9), the Poneke Ruffnuts (39, played 9), Upper Hutt Rams Thirsties (39, played 10) and the Johnsonville Cripples (37, played nine). Leaders the J8s beat the UH Rams Pirates 31-14 in an intra-club clash on Saturday, while the Ruffnuts beat Wellington 24-14, the Thirsties defeated Tawa 24-12 and the Cripples met Wests.

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Congratulations to Hamish Mexted for refereeing his 100th Premier match on Saturday. Mexted took a few years off his trade but has returned this year. Check out his conversation with Huddy Sports on You Tube last Thursday ahead of the game.

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Four tries for Poneke’s Nick Robertson – before halftime – in his team’s Spud Lindsay Memorial Trophy 60-29 win over Wellington on Saturday. Then he was subbed at halftime. A shame for the trainspotters as the most tries in a single Wellington Premier club rugby match (in the modern era) is six by Mike Kingsbeer for Marist St Pat’s against Wainuiomata in 2009 and also by Sosi Tuimavavae for Poneke against Rimutaka in 2013. One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ on this front is the case of Hosea Gear scoring four tries for Wellington against Counties Manukau in 2009 in a Ranfurly Shield match and then getting the crooked stick in the 60th minute. Statisticians were preparing to re-write the record books of most tries scored by a wellington player, such was his form and dominance at that point of the match.

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A big crowd and lively atmosphere at Rugby League Park on Saturday for the Swindale Shield decider. It wouldn’t be a bad place to hold the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup finals this year. The Hutt Rec would be the number one choice, followed by Rugby League Park. We have heard that the NZCIS grounds are/were in the running, but that would be a clear third choice for fans given there is no height and no shelter. If they could erect temporary stands along one side for up to several hundred people (teams and match officials will all be on one side) then sure.

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On the subject of the NZCIS facility, they held an Open Day on Saturday afternoon, where the public could come along and tour the state-of-the-art facilities. But hang on, Saturday afternoons are for community sport. So why deprive potentially thousands of like-minded sports people this opportunity as they are otherwise playing sport? Maybe organisers are also on the Super Rugby match scheduling committee.

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Small wins for the Wellington Axemen. They scored five tries in their 60-29 defeat to Poneke, and their 4-try bonus point was their first in two seasons.

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In lieu of any Best & Fairest updates, which would provide a good gauge, who would your Player of the Swindale Shield be?

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A couple of interesting names selected in the 38-player Wellington Lions squad to defend the Ranfurly Shield against Horowhenua-Kapiti on 12 July and South Canterbury on 19 July. Interesting in the sense they haven’t played much club rugby. Johnsonville hooker James Douglas played two games for the Hawks in round three and four and hasn’t been seen before or since, George Risale made his Tawa debut at blindside flanker in round 7 and then played the next four games at No. 8. The former Japan League One player was a late scratching from their team on Saturday.

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It was announced last week that Matt Proctor is joining the Rebels next year.

Proctor, 30, has spent the past few years in the English Premiership under former Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd at Northampton Saints, but the one-cap All Blacks and Oriental-Rongotai centre will return to Super Rugby in 2024.

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It was put to us this weekend what are the key positions you need to win Jubilee Cups? Of course, its different now in that the Jubilee Cup is now a four-week knockout competition not a full round-robin so one bad game or a blinder by the opposition early and you’re gone. But for us the answer is the halfback-first-five combination.

Based on this last round of the Swindale Shield (and mostly consistent over the past several weeks or longer), the eight teams who have qualified have the following combination:

  • Paremata-Plimmerton: Esi Komaisavai and Sam Clarke  (notes Esi left the field injured early in the second half on Saturday, Luke Kapene moved in).
  • Johnsonville: Mark Sutton and Nial Delahunt (notes the Irish connection, Delahunt recently returned to their line-up)
  • Old Boys University: Kyle Preston and Tom Henderson (notes Callum Harkin’s hand resembled part of a mummy on Saturday so he’s out)
  • Upper Hutt Rams: Kaide McCashin and Tynan Barrett (No. 8 and captain Toby Crosby would be the MVP No. 8 in terms of complementing this pair)
  • Marist St Pat’s: Logan Love and Andrew Wells (MSP have announced Wells is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Zack Paterson started five straight matches mid-round at first-five).
  • Petone: Logan Henry and Carne Green (notes Cam Ferreira an accomplished back-up).
  • Tawa: Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Luke Walmsley (notes Hauiti-Parapara led Tawa to their 2021 victory)
  • Ories: Isaac Bracewell and Jake Hamlin (notes Hamlin missed the middle chunk of the first round through injury, recently returned)

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MANUKURA won the new Ashleigh Knight Memorial Tournament with four wins in four 40-minute matches. On Saturday the national champions beat Rotorua Girls’ High School (43-5) and Sacred Heart College (53-0). On Sunday they defeated Marist Ryze, Australia (25-5) and St Mary’s College, Wellington (12-5). Elley-May Taylor (Year 9) was the player of the final and Maia Davis was named player of the tournament. Jayda Maniapoto was the MANUKURA captain.

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Horowhenua-Kapiti’s Ben O’Keeffe taking flak from Chiefs fans for their Super Rugby loss on Saturday. But what if they hadn’t conceded three yellow cards? One was the All Blacks captain. Were they Ben’s fault too?

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Ponsonby upset unbeaten College Rifles 27-22 in the Coleman Shield final Premier Women’s final, and University replaced Christchurch FC as Canterbury Women’s by champions winning the decider 19-14.

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The Crusaders were 16-0 in playoffs under Razor. Toulon won the European Cup three seasons in a row between 2013 and 2015 and in that period were 24-3 winning nine playoff games in a row. When Toulon won the European Cup in 2013 Johnny Wilkinson scored 56 of the 61 points in their first title triumph. He kicked 16 penalties, two drop goals and a conversion.

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Away teams have won 22 Super Rugby playoff matches. The Chiefs had never lost a home playoff match but won two on the road. The Crusaders have won 8 playoff matches on the road including the 1998, 1999, 2022 and 2023 finals.

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The New Zealand Under 20s won their 50th match at the World Cup with a 27-26 victory over Wales this past weekend. Down 5-19 at halftime, the comeback was commendable, but the forward pack looks seriously vulnerable and they face defending champions France on Thursday who beat Japan 75-12.

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Does rugby have the ability for a bazball revolution? Who wants to watch penalties, referee conferences, and rolling mauls all day?

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Rahui are assured of top spot for the semi-finals in a fortnight in the Horowhenua-Kapiti Ramsbotham Cup competition, but the race for the other three semi-spots and finishing order is likely to be going down to the wire. Results from Saturday:

  • Paraparaumu 39 v COB 22
  • Rahui 17 v Foxton 7
  • Shannon 35 v Waikanae 17

An unofficial points table reads: Rahui 48, Foxton 31, Paraparaumu 30, Shannon 29, COB 24, Waikanae 20, Wanderers 1

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