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All set for Semi-finals Saturday in Jubilee and Hardham Cups and Premier 2

  • By Scott MacLean

Late afernoon edition: It’s a massive day around the province with the eight Premier and Premier 2 semi-finals being played, along with four Colts quarter-finals, the second round in the Under 85s, and a couple of College matches as well. It should be a stormer.

This week’s radio commentary match on the E Tu Whanau Footy Show is Paremata-Plimmerton v Old Boys University.  On air from  2.00pm ahead of the 2.45pm kick-off. Tune into Te Upoko o Te Ika on 1161AM, 87.6FM & streaming live iHeart Radio and Whare Korero Apps.

Huddy Sports on Facebook and Youtube will be live-streaming the Johnsonville v Oriental-Rongotai Jubilee Cup semi-final and the Petone v HOBM Hardham Cup semi-final, while MSP/Poneke will be streaming their Hardham Cup semi-final at Evans Bay Park on their Facebook pages.

Club Rugby will be ticking over like an atomic clock with our post-round coverage.

Premier Jubilee Cup

The campaign for Wellington rugby’s ultimate prize rolls into it’s penultimate week with the semi-finals in the Jubilee Cup. And as we’ve mentioned you’d have gotten great odds on these games being at Ngati Toa Domain and Helston Park at the start of the season, all four teams left standing played in the Hardham Cup last year.

Out in the northern reaches of the province, top qualifiers and Swindale Shield winners Paremata-Plimmerton (1) face a recent foe in Old Boys-University (3). The Hammerheads were able to rest up last week which was good news for some key players nursing injuries, while the Goats had to subject themselves to a hard-fought encounter with Tawa in their elimination match and will have to refill their tanks for this one. One thing in OBU’s favour is experience in playoff matches, though while this is Pare-Plim’s first-ever Jubilee Cup semi-final they have several players who have been through this before.

Wednesday’s Shield encounter has not been kind to Paremata-Plimmerton as both Joe Faleafaga and Ethan Webster-Nonu picked up knocks that have ruled them out, while Luke Kapene is absent and prop Pasilio Tosi hasn’t been cleared by Bay of Plenty to play. Caleb Alaga, Knox Tuinasau, and Blake Neve step into the breach and will be familiar with what’s needed, while in a boost for the team lock James Corcoran has made it back after breaking his arm very early in the year.

OBU make just a single change to their run-on side with Louie Calvert back at hooker after being forced off early in the last round of the Swindale, and they retain the services of Caleb Delany at No8 with both Kyle Preston and Samson Koneferenisi (and coach Anthony Rehutai) also backing up from Wednesday. There’s a different look to their bench though with Tana Maene-Lokeni there, along with club chairman Te Wehi Wright and a potential debut for former Silverstream standout Nic Mannix who has been playing for the club’s Under 85kg side.

The pair’s Swindale encounter came just a few weeks ago in the final round, where a first-half blitz saw Pare-Plim lead 35-12 at the break en route to a 43-31 win and their maiden Swindale triumph.

Just down the road is the second semi-final, pitting home side Johnsonville (2) against Oriental Rongotai (8). The Hawks were emphatic in demolishing OBU a fortnight ago to earn themselves last weekend off, and if they can establish their pattern of play they’ll be very hard to stop. But the Magpies have been playing what effectively amounts to elimination rugby for the past month and after their death-knock win away against the Upper Hutt Rams at Maidstone will have the belief that they can go all the way.

Johnsonville make a couple of tweaks in the forwards and have an unchanged backline from the side that brushed aside OBU a fortnight ago. A key loss for this game could be prop Ha’amea Ahio, while Sergio Hollis starts at lock for this game. The backline is unchanged, with Mark Sutton leading the way from halfback and Jacob Walmsley from fullback. Two experienced players on their bench too, with Jack Taulapapa and former Or Ories have just one change of personnel to the 22 from last week with Pose Tuilaepa coming onto the right wing, so Skivi Va’a drops to the bench and Alex Fidow the man making way. Both Dom Ropeti and Sione Halalilo back up from Wednesday.

The pair’s Swindale meeting came back in round five of the season, where Johnsonville edged that result at the Polo Ground by 29-26.

The vastly experienced Daniel Mangin will have the whistle at Ngati Toa Domain, with the highly regarded Tomas Roche in charge at Helston Park.

Premier Hardham Cup

In some degree of contrast, the four sides involved in tomorrow’s Hardham Cup semi-finals were all in the last six of last years Jubilee Cup, and by quirk of the draw and format are a pair of the longstanding traditional rivalries of Wellington rugby.

In the city its Marist St Pat’s (5) up against Poneke (10), with the latter making the trek across the border road that separates the two to Evans Bay. MSP made little race of their match against Wellington as they rebounded from their disappointing elimination from the Jubilee Cup at the hands of Ories the week prior, while Poneke have been handy winners over Avalon and Wainuiomata in their matches so far.

It will be a different looking MSP side that lines up tomorrow with plenty of changes. Viliami Rarasea and Josh Naa are the locks, James Tuia is back at No.8 in place of Keelan Whitman, and veteran Isaia Petelo returns to the midfield. Poneke are without Cole Stewart so Conor Strang slots in, halfback Sam Howling returns to the side to partner Carlos Hihi, as is Ezekiel Fiso who comes back via the bench.

MSP were victorious in the Swindale meeting between the two by 29-13 in round nine.

Out in the Hutt is the second match, the McBain redux between Petone (6) and Hutt Old Boys Marist (9) at the Petone Rec. Petone rebounded from their loss to Tawa in week one to comprehensively thrash Avalon last weekend, with HOBM having been relatively untroubled in their matches against Wellington and Norths but must leave the confines of the Nest for the first time in several weeks.

The big news out of the Villagers camp is who’ll be wearing the #10 jersey with young gun Stanley Solomon named there in place of Carne Green. Sam Blackburn – who’s last try against HOBM on this ground has become somewhat famous – comes in on the left wing with Richard Evans on the other while up front Jack Ross returns to partner Dylan Williamson at lock with the latter to captain the side. The Eagles are almost unchanged with Taine Tata’s return on the blindside their only alteration from last Saturday and with Brett Manaia and Ben Power both on the bench they have plenty of impact in reserve.

Their Swindale meeting saw the Villagers retain the McBain Shield by beating HOBM 51-23 five weeks ago.

Ben van Berkel is the referee at Evans Bay, while the promising Charlie Harris will control the clash at the Petone Rec.

All four matches are timed for 2.45pm, with extra-time to be played if required.

Premier 2 Ed Chaney and HD Morgan Memorial Cups

It’s a case of the cream having risen to the top in the B-tier with the semi-finals in the Ed Chaney Cup comprising four of the top five teams from the Harper Lock Shield. Defending double-winners Tawa (1) will be looking to make it 49 matches without defeat and head to a third final in as many years, but while they’ll be at home at Lyndhurst, they’ll face the challenge of HLS runners-up Petone (2) who have had to go the long way around after their defeat to Poneke a fortnight ago and beat Upper Hutt last week. In the other semi-final Poneke’s (3) win over Petone got them last week off, and they will host neighbours and rivals Marist St Pats (5) at Kilbirnie after the latter went on the road and comfortably beat HOBM last Saturday.

In the HD Morgan division, the two sides that dropped down from the Ed Chaney bracket after week one will host the two semi-finals tomorrow. Oriental-Rongotai (6) take on Johnsonville (13) at Polo, while the winner of that will take on whoever emerges from the clash between Stokes Valley (8) and Paremata-Plimmerton (9) at Delaney Park.

There’s plenty of experience amongst the referees for these matches. James Taylor and Campbell Barry have the Ed Chaney matches at Lyndhurst and Kilbirnie respectively, while the HD Morgan matches have the longserving duo of Scott MacLean at Polo and Zinny McCormick at Delaney.

Colts John E Kelly Cup and Vic Calcinai Memorial Trophy

After having last week off, the Colts grade returns with their quarterfinals with all matches being played tomorrow. Top qualifiers and Paris Memorial winners HOBM (1) host Poneke (8) at the Hutt Rec, with defending grade champions Petone (2) lining up against Old Boys-University (7) on the Petone Rec, both at 1pm. Ories (3) welcome neighbours MSP (6) to the Polo Ground at 12pm, with Tawa (4) taking on the Upper Hutt Rams (5) at Lyndhurst Park in a late kickoff at 2.45pm.

The winners of these matches proceed to next weeks championship John E Kelly Cup semifinals, with the losers dropping into the Division 2 Vic Calcinai Memorial Trophy section.

Under 85kg Paul Potiki and Tony O’Brien Shields

After last week’s blazing opener to the round almost all bets are off in the Division 1 Paul Potiki Shield. In the clash of winning sides Petone host Tawa at the Petone Rec, OBU will look to rebound from their first loss of the year when they head to Delaney Park and a meeting with Stokes Valley. The third match sees Poneke and Pare-Plim both trying to get into the win column.

The Division 2 Tony O’Brien Shield matches have HOBM looking to repeat their earlier win over Johnsonville at the Hutt Rec, and Wellington head east to take on Eastbourne at HW Shortt. MSP have the bye this week.

College

A small smattering of College rugby this week with some catch-up matches being played. Two of these are in the Premiership, with Hutt International and Wairarapa College looking to move into the top three when they meet at Maidstone Park, while Wellington College will look to keep their semi-final hopes afloat when they head out to Porirua to face bottom-side Mana. There’s one match in Premier 2 as well, as the Wellington College 2nds host Newlands.

The penultimate round of the Premiership starts next Wednesday, with the all-St Patrick’s Traditional clash between hosts Silverstream and last year’s winners Town.

Representative

There’s one match on the representative calendar as well tomorrow, with the Wellington Pride opening their season in what is probably the hardest way possible, away in Christchurch against Canterbury (kickoff 12.05pm). Jackie Patea-Fereti will again lead the side this season and while we don’t yet have the side for tomorrow, we know that it will be without both Black Ferns reps with Joanah Ngan-Woo away with the side in Canada and Ayesha Let’i-liga out for the season with an ACL injury.

That Pride team is (asterisk denotes debut)L

  1. Angelica Schwencke
  2. Valini Vaka
  3. Chloe Te Moananui
  4. Ashlyn Pescini*
  5. Jackie Patea-Fereti (Captain)
  6. Siaiga Filipo*
  7. Sophie Irving*
  8. Hosanna Aumua
  9. Fa’alua Tugaga*
  10. Arene Landon-Lane
  11. Justine McGregor
  12. Lyric Faleafaga
  13. Monica Tagoai (Vice-Captain)
  14. Ivana Samani
  15. Sydnee Wilkins

Reserves:

  1. Petrina Foaese*
  2. Octavia Nanai-Iafeta*
  3. Barbra Taumoli
  4. Jaydah Timu
  5. Harmony Kautai*
  6. Milly Mackey
  7. Tamara Ruaporo
  8. Drenna Falaniko*

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