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Superior strikepower key to Paremata-Plimmerton’s continued success

Paremata-Plimmerton left wing Louis Northcott on his way to the try-line against Petone a few weeks ago.

  • By Steven White

When Paremata-Plimmerton and Old Boys University met just under three weeks ago at Rugby League Park in the deciding match of the first round Swindale Shield, Paremata-Plimmerton tore through the Billygoats to take a 28-5 lead that was later 33-12 by halftime and OBU couldn’t come back from that despite winning the second half.

Paremata-Plimmerton scored five first half tries, one a 90-metre breakout special finished off by left wing Louis Northcott in the far corner:

Just over 40 minutes later, captain Tane McMillan-Parata was holding the Swindale Shield aloft into the darkening sky, the Hammerheads having won their maiden first round title.

“It was a thriller from start to finish,” Left wing Northcott told Huddy Sports in conversation the following week. They got into the lead early and we fought back and thought we might have had the game in the bag at that point but we now know what OBU are like, and they fought back strong in the second half and in the end were just lucky to hang on really.”

If Paremata-Plimmerton can repeat the result against the same opposition this Saturday they will earn a place in their first Jubilee Cup final next week, either against Johnsonville or Oriental-Rongotai.

Home ground advantage could be key for securing a repeat dose against OBU and securing a place in the season finale.

“Our supporters have always been there in loud numbers,” said Northcott. “I have been a supporter in the past, so I know what their support means from the other side of the ropes. They are very loyal and the team is happy that we can pay them back and let them enjoy themselves when we’re winning. Even in away games, our supporters will be louder than the home ground support.”

Northcott scored 14 tries in the Swindale Shield, what was his favourite try? “One that I was probably most happy with was the second one against Petone where I scored from an in-field kick by our first five Sam Clarke, and to just hear the crowd erupt was a moment that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.”

Northcott followed his brothers Ted and Stanley (currently overseas) to the Paremata-Plimmerton club. Last year the former Kapiti College student played club rugby for Waikanae in Horowhenua-Kapiti’s Ramsbotham Cup competition.

He made his Horowhenua-Kapiti debut in the Heartland Championship, making seven appearances for the side and scoring a hat-trick in their semi-final against Ngati Porou East Coast in Levin – and very nearly scoring a fourth on fulltime that would have put them through to the Lochore Cup final.

“It was a really good experience, including getting to travel for a few away games. We went up to play against Ngati Porou East Coast in Ruatoria and down to North Otago. You run into good Heartland players who have been at it for a few years. It is a different type of rugby but still tough.”

A hat-trick for Louis Northcott the last time he played in a semi-final – for Horowhenua-Kapiti against East Coast last year. 

This week he made his Wellington Lions debut on the left wing in the second half in their 68-7 Ranfurly Shield defence against Horowhenua-Kapiti and scored a popular try just a few minutes after coming on.

Northcott running in his try on Wednesday against his recent former Heartland provincial team.

He played the match alongside his current Paremata-Plimmerton teammates and backs Ethan Webster-Nonu, Joe Faleafaga and Sam Clarke.

A number of players in the Wellington team are set to back up this weekend in the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup semi-finals.

Northcott grew up playing fullback at school when he was in the Kapiti College First XV in his last two years of school in 2018 and 2019, only moved on to the wing fulltime last year. “I don’t mind alternating between wing and fullback and I think this season it is paying off for me a little bit.”

As well as rugby, Northcott has an athletics background as a noted 400m runner. “I have been at it since I was 10, and I have always found it is a good way to keep active in the off-season and help me start the rugby year fit and fast.”

Paremata-Plimmerton backed up their win over OBU with a hard-fought 31-27 win over the Upper Hutt Rams back at home a fortnight ago. Northcott didn’t score a try in that match, but he was part of another sweeping movement started from inside their own half when he burst up the clubrooms touchline and helped set up what was the match-winning try for fullback Blake Neve.

Paremata-Plimmerton had to dig deep in that match, with a handful of key players including captain Tane McMillan-Parata, inside back and former OBU Jubilee Cup winner Dale Sabbagh and halfback Esi Komaisavai nursing niggles on the sideline and Hurricanes prop Pasilio Tosi was absent. Additionally, fullback turned halfback Luke Kapene left the field early injured.

It is expected most of these players will be back this Saturday, although Tosi is a Bay of Plenty contracted player so some soothing phone calls to former Jubilee Cup winner Richard Watt might have been made early this week to request his presence.

Old Boys University are coming off two somewhat contrasting matches.

They were well beaten against Johnsonville in the first week of the Jubilee Cup (46-12) but turned that around this past Saturday in a do-or-die match against Tawa (winning 22-16).

The Billygoats showed strong resilience, particularly in their loose forward department where Hurricane Caleb Delany was complemented by wholehearted performances from flankers Douglas Perrers and Cody Quin.

Despite being down their talisman first-five Calum Harkin (broken hand), their backs are not to be underestimated on Saturday. Halfback Kyle Preston can and does seize on anything, while flyhalf Tom Henderson runs and kicks well, right wing Issac Wilson has pace and sound finishing ability and fullback Josh Morgan Ranui brings size and a cool head from fullback, as well as a big boot as shown on Saturday with a pair of late long-range penalties.

Survivors from OBU’s side that last contested the Jubilee Cup final in 2020 and beat Norths 22-14 are Reece Plumtree, Kyle Preston, Ty Poe and Harkin (injured). Plus Sabbagh, but he is batting for the other side as noted above.

In 14 games this season, Paremata-Plimmerton have won 13 and have scored 595 points and conceded 277, for an average winning score of 43-20.

In 15 games, OBU have won 11 and have scored 483 points and let in 343 for an average score of   32-23.

Paremata-Plimmerton are averaging 6.2 tries per game and OBU 4.4 tries per game.

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