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Second round Jubilee and Hardham Cup competitions starting tomorrow

Both Petone and Marist St Pat’s are at home tomorrow, and both needing to win to continue their Jubilee Cup dreams in 2023. Petone hosts Tawa at the Rec and MSP plays Ories at Hataitai Park.

  • By Scott MacLean

Round One Jubilee Cup teams and draw HERE

Round One Hardham Cup teams and draw HERE 

The slate is wiped clean. Wellington’s 14 Premier clubs kick-off at 2.45pm tomorrow for the start of the championship round, which is contested over the next four weekends. The format might have changed in recent years, but, as always, the teams are split into the top tier Jubilee Cup and second tier Hardham Cup groups. Both trophies are highly coveted by all.

It is also the start of the second round in the Premier 2 competitions, while it is the last weekend of the round-robin Colts competition and the U85kgs JC Bowl is nearing its conclusion. In school rugby, St Pat’s Silverstream and Scots College meet in a clash of the two unbeaten teams.

This week’s radio commentary match on the E Tu Whanau Footy Show is at Hataitai Paek for Marist St Pats v Oriental-Rongotai kick off 2:45. On air from 2pm on 1161AM and 87.6FM around the city plus streaming on iHeart Radio and Te Whare Korero Apps.

Premier Jubilee Cup

The Jubilee Cup.

You would have gotten great odds at the TAB that this year’s two top four matches would be played at Ngati Toa Domain and Helston Park, but that’s exactly what we have tomorrow. The winners of these two matches go straight through to the semi-finals in a fortnight’s time, while the sides that lose tomorrow get a second chance next weekend.

Having won 12 matches on the spin, Paremata-Plimmerton (1) were deservedly crowned with their first ever piece of Premiership silverware last Saturday. But they’ll know the job is only half-done, and tomorrow face the only side that has dented their record so far in 2023, the Upper Hutt Rams (4), who beat them in round one. Pare-Plim have shown their ability to score in bursts this season with last week’s first half against OBU and the 10 minutes after halftime against Petone as recent evidence of that. But the Rams are no slouches in that regard either and despite losing last Saturday will have the benefit of having had tight matches over the last month and are perhaps better placed if they can drag this match into a real dogfight.

The Hammerheads will be without livewire halfback Esi Komaisavai who limped off last week, so Luke Kapene will partner Dale Sabbagh in the halves with Sam Clarke dropping back to fullback. They’re also without Hurricanes prop Pasilio Tosi with Werdna Maligi-Leota taking his place at tighthead. The Rams welcome back captain and No. 8 Toby Crosby, along with former captain Josh Brown, to their loose forwards. In the outside backs, Soli Malatai returns, with Scott Svenson moving to fullback and brother Todd back at centre.

With their respective results last Saturday, Johnsonville (2) were able to match Old Boys-University (3) on the points table and will host this at Helston owing to their 27-14 win over the Goats at the same venue back in round 6. Teams have found the Hawks up-tempo style difficult to deal with this year and they’ll be looking to continue with that, while expect that OBU will look to get back to their more disciplined and structured game plan to try and starve Johnsonville of the ball and field position, while looking to put losses the past two weeks behind them.

The Hawks are able to bring back Anthony Pettett, Lucas Aukuso, and Aukuso Tuitama with Ish Perkins, who started the year with OBU, on the left wing and the livewire Jacob Walmsley returns to fullback. It’s a very different looking OBU tight five with both hooker Louis Calvert and prop Samson Koneferenisi both out. Halfback Kyle Preston, along with first-five Tom Henderson, will be called upon to steer their ship around the tight angles and steep backdrop of Helston Park.

For the sides that finished 5th through 8th there’s no second chance, and a loss tomorrow consigns them to the Hardham Cup. Marist St Pat’s (5) were one of last Saturday’s big winners, as their win over Petone moved them up to fifth when a loss would have seen them as the side to drop out. On neutral ground at Hataitai Park they face an Oriental Rongotai (8) side on that made it through on the back of a cliffhanger contest against Upper Hutt and will feel that they owe MSP one after they met at the same stage last year when they were the higher-ranked side but lost.

MSP have an enforced change as Andrew Wells’ season-ending shoulder injury rules him out. Isaia Petelo returns in midfield with Zack Paterson donning the #10 jersey, with Francis Mettrick starting at fullback with an unchanged starting forward pack. Ories have just one change from last week’s side, but it’s a big one. Dominic Ropeti is out for this week, so his place is taken by Sammy Se’au. Elsewhere fullback Declan Hay will run out for his 100th game in the black and white hoops.

The other contest is a repeat of last year’s dramatic Jubilee Cup semi-final as Petone (6) takes on Tawa (7) at the Petone Rec. The Villagers will need to pick themselves up quickly after successive losses to Pare-Plim and MSP saw them drop from third to sixth while Tawa have been able to largely cruise into this encounter with wins over Wellington and Norths. Matches between the two in recent years have tended to be tight affairs and this one seems likely to be no different.

As you’d expect both teams are at as near to full-strength as you can get. Petone bring back Marcus Roil, Jarrod Hrstich, and Losi Filipo, while an interesting addition to their bench is the return of barnstorming prop Kaliopasi Uluilakepa to the club and the province. Tawa have just two changes to their run-in side from a week ago with veteran Hemi Fermanis and George Risale returning to their forward pack and Eamonn Carr and Tito Ioane dropping to the bench. The midfield clash between Filipo and Tawa enforcer Lumafale Lualua should be worth watching.

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Premier Hardham Cup

For the six sides that missed out on the chance of the big piece of silverware, their focus is on the Hardham Cup and for this weekend on avoiding a clash with the two teams dropping down for next week.

Hutt Old Boys Marist (9) were left wondering “what if?” on Saturday night, not just because none of the six results they needed over the past two weeks came through but at their own slow start that ultimately cost them. They’re at home for a fourth successive week to take on Wellington (14) there for the second time this year (and third visit for the Axemen after they played Petone there as well) and while they will be hot favourites, Wellington did ‘win’ the second half last Saturday against Poneke en route to their first four-try bonus in over two years.

The Eagles have a number of changes, including Nonu Tuia back up front, Justin Wilson at fullback, a first start this year for Waylon Tuhoro-Robinson, and a Premier debut for Flynn Ruscoe in the #10 jersey. The Axemen are relatively settled for once, though Ben Hendry moves to the openside, Cam Roseingrave across to hooker, and Bede Murfitt over to fullback this week.

Poneke (10) back up from their confidence-boosting win over Wellington by hosting Avalon (13) at Kilbirnie as they look to do what they did two years ago and win the Hardham from these places. The Wolves suffered another heavy defeat last weekend and could be at a low ebb, but these matches offer the chance to retrieve something from a difficult year.

Its an unchanged backline for the home team with the Sam Howling/Carlos Hihi duo retained. Up front Abraham Mataitini and Charlie Siale are the locking pair with Cole Stewart dropping back to No8. Avalon’s versatile captain Jordan Aquila moves into the #10 jersey this week in a much changed that includes returns for No.8 Sonny Oloapu and centre Ilai Maravu.

And finally, Wainuiomata (11) did enough over the closing weeks to edge ahead of Norths (12) on the ladder and therefore hosts the meeting between the two just as they did a few weeks ago and based on that 59-26 result will be favourites. But despite the very trying year they’ve endured in their title defence Norths remains a proud club and surely will come out with a point or few to prove even at this point of the year.

Luca Rees continues in midfield this week for Norths who have made two changes elsewhere with Boston Hunt back at lock and Javan Upton at fullback. For Wainuiomata, Andrew Sa’u replaces Tyler Tane in the midfield, linking up with dangerman Peter Umaga-Jensen at centre.

All seven matches kickoff at 2.45pm again this week. As these are now playoff matches, in the event of a draw at full-time then extra time will be played consisting of ten minutes each way (no golden point). If still drawn the tiebreaking sequence is most tries in the match, then their Swindale head-to-head result.

Premier 2 Ed Chaney and HD Morgan Memorial Cups

The Premier 2 competition also moves into playoff mode, and it follows the same structure as the Premier grade. Harper Lock Shield winners Tawa (1) hosts HOBM (4) at Lyndhurst to go straight to the Ed Chaney Cup semi-finals in a fortnights time, with Petone (2) doing likewise against Poneke (3) at the Petone Rec. In the matches where the winner moves on but the loser drops to the HD Morgan, MSP (5) clashes with Stokes Valley (8) on Kilbirnie #2 with Ories (6) and the Upper Hutt Rams (7) meeting at Polo (at 12.30pm) for the second successive week.

In the first round of the HD Morgan Memorial Pare-Plim (9) are at home at Ngati Toa against Avalon (14), OBU (10) and Johnsonville (13) are at Rugby League Park, and Norths (11) face Wainuiomata (12) all the way up on the #3 ground at Porirua Park.

Colts Paris Memorial

The round-robin component of the age grade comp ends this weekend, where some matters for the upcoming playoffs have already been decided and yet much is still to be sorted out as well. HOBM (46) have claimed the Paris Memorial Trophy title and top seed, and with the bye this week can put their feet up and see what unfolds. Petone (38) are confirmed as second with Ories (32) and Tawa (30) also set to host quarterfinals, but there’s a blanket over the next five teams with one to miss out and join Wellington and Wainuiomata.

MSP (21) would be at good odds to be one of those sides when they face Wellington at Hataitai Park tonight, while in the other matches under lights (all kicking off at 7.30pm) the challenges for Poneke (23) and Norths (22) are to take points from Ories at Te Whaea and Petone at CIS. OBU (24) can also assure themselves a place with a win, but they host Tawa at Rugby League Park and a loss will leave them looking at the other results. The Upper Hutt Rams (24) will know what they need to do before they take the field tomorrow against Wainuiomata at William Jones at 1pm.

The grade takes a break next week for the university holidays before resuming with the quarterfinals on the 15th

Under 85kg JC Bowl

The OBU Scallywags (50) will be looking to complete a clean sweep tomorrow with maximum points from all matches and take the JC Bowl back to the Cambridge when they host Wellington (15) at Nairnville Park. The grade splits in two next week for the Paul Potiki and Tony O’Brien Shields, but there’s little drama to be found as the six for each have been found. Tawa (45) and Poneke (37) will join them and with the benefit of having had their feet up this weekend after being defaulted to by Wests (1) and Johnsonville (26) respectively, with the latter taking themselves out of Division 1 contention. Petone (30), who face MSP (7) at Rugby League Park, and Pare-Plim and Stokes Valley – both on 29 and will face each other at Delaney complete the Division 1 lineup. The fourth match going ahead tomorrow is between two sides heading for Division 2 with HOBM (21) taking on Eastbourne (9) at the Hutt Rec.


A busy week of college rugby comes to an end tomorrow with the last round prior to the holiday break. The feature clash of the day in the Premiership is out in Upper Hutt where unbeaten pair Silverstream and Scots meet with each looking to take sole possession of top spot, while Town will look to move into third for now when they host Rongotai. In the only other match being played tomorrow St Bernard’s face newly crowned Co-ed Cup winners and Beard Trophy holders Tawa at Fraser Park. The other two matches of this round between Hutt International and Wairarapa, and Mana and Wellington College, have both been deferred until for a fortnights time.

In Premier 2 the Silverstream 2nds continue their reign of dominance and tomorrow they head down the valley to meet Naenae at 11am. At 1pm the Town 2nds meet Porirua, while the 2.30pm contests are both in Porirua with Aotea hosting Hutt Valley HS and Bishop Viard up against Paraparaumu. As with the Premiership there is one game scheduled for the 15th to complete the round with the Wellington College 2nds hosting Newlands then.

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