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Sideline Conversions 11 September (some rugby news and information to start the week)

Monday afternoon updates:

The Black Ferns and Black Ferns Development squads were named today by NZR for upcoming games, of Wellington players:

  • Petone’s Justin McGregor (still at school at St Mary’s College) is in the Black Ferns XV (development team)
  • RWC winning pair Ayesha Leti-L’iga (injured) and Jonah Ngan-Woo (unavailable for selection) both missing.
  • MSP’s Marcelle Parkes named at prop for the Black Ferns XV (and we confirmed this is accurate, having played all her rugby at loose forward thus far)

As far as content on this platforms goes, look out for a story with Naitoa Ah Kuoi later this week – ahead of Bay of Plenty hosting the Wellington Lions next Sunday.


The representative rugby season is winding down, but it starts early this week with the New Zealand Universities Women’s team assembling today and Wellington and playing two local matches.

The NZU Women’s side played a Wellington Invitational team (a wider FPC/U18s team) tomorrow (Tuesday) night at NZCIS at 7.00pm. Their second match is this coming Saturday at the same venue against the Defence Ferns.

Few other games this coming Saturday in Wellington, with the Wellington U19s and Centurions/Development team having both finished their campaigns with wins on Saturday.

The Wellington Lions are away to Richard Watt’s Bay of Plenty Steamers, in Rotorua on Sunday in round seven of the NPC competition.

There is one scheduled Hurricanes U18s competition match in the third round of four, with the Centurions U18s hosting the Wairarapa-Bush U18s – details TBC. The other two Wellington teams will be playing in Palmerston North, with the Hawke’s Bay Saracens and the Wellington Samoans meeting and the Wellington Maori U18s and the Manawatu U18s also down on the draw to be playing there.

It’s also the first round of the Hurricanes U16 tournament, with both Wellington teams playing each other – details TBC and both Hawke’s Bay teams, Manawatu, Wairarapa-Bush, Horowhenua-Kapiti and Whanganui in action. The remainder of the tournament is in Napier in the last week of September.


The Centurions ended their season on a high note in Blenheim on Sunday under brooding skies:


Despite having won all seven matches to date, the Wellington Lions have not yet mathematically qualified for the quarter-finals! They can seal their place mathematically if Counties Manukau lose to Canterbury on Wednesday.

The official NPC site shows the final pencilled in for the Friday night having been bumped off its usual Saturday night spot for the TV coverage of the Black Ferns v France. If the final is in Wellington, however, it would have to be shunted to Saturday afternoon in Porirua or Sunday afternoon at the Stadium given that the Stadium is booked for the women’s international series on Friday and Saturday.


Our Player of the Week is Losi Filipo, who scored a hat-trick against Waikato last Friday night. The Lions right wing scored this third career hat-trick, after his previous two for Norths against the Wellington Axemen in 2022 and for Norths against HOBM in 2020.  He also scored two tries two matches back against Canterbury. After all that was thrown at him by the mainstream media a few years ago, it is great to see him playing well and seemingly happy doing so this season.

Filipo on the move against Counties Manukau last week.


A debut on the Bay of Plenty Steamers’  bench on Saturday for former Rongotai College and Northern United outside back Reon Paul. Paul made 11 Premier club rugby appearances for Norths in 2020 and 2021 and was a former Wellington age-grade representative player.


How many Wellington players would you put in a NPC form XV?


Who are all the former Wellington players and coaches in other NPC teams around the country? Here’s a a few:

  • Richard Watt (Poneke – Bay of Plenty)
  • Brad Cooper (Poneke – Taranaki)
  • Ross Filipo (Petone – Waikato)
  • Kent Harris (HOBM – Manawatu)


Congratulations to the Wellington secondary school players invited to the 2023 Hurricanes U18 Camp in October:

  • Braydon Soi (Silverstream)
  • David (Ratu) Tokalautawa (Silverstream)
  • Harry Irving (Scots College)
  • Ieti Campbell (Scots College)
  • Jack Riley (Wellington College)
  • Jacob Kennedy (Wellington College)
  • Jayde Burns (St Pat’s Town)
  • Ollie Cuff (Silverstream)
  • Pyrenees Boyle-Tiatia (Scots College)
  • Regan Gray (St Bernard’s College)
  • Sione Latu (Scots College)
  • Stanley Solomon (Petone)
  • Thompson Tukapua (Silverstream)
  • Tom Devery (Hutt International Boys’ School)


Not a single Wellington player was selected in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team for the first time since 2001. Between 1978 and 1981 no Wellington player was picked. The first NZ Schools player was Denis Tocker out of St Patrick’s College Silverstream in 1982. The winger played 59 games for Wellington.

Just one player in the NZ Barbarians schools squad – Scots College’s Harry Irving. A second player, Petone’s Stanley Solomon, was selected in the NZ Maori U18s side, but he injured his shoulder playing for the Wellington U19s on Saturday so could be in doubt for this campaign.


Southland Boys’ High School’s First XV will receive a street parade in Invercargill after their National Top Four success. They were featured on One News last Wednesday night and their success was captured by SENZ. What a story of valour and excellence. Southland BHS even has a rugby ball on their school motto.


Auckland won the Farah Palmer Cup Premiership final with a brilliant 39-27 victory over Canterbury at Rugby Park in Christchurch. Auckland executed a bold and expansive game plan and had an internationally uncapped starting front row that took it to the Black Ferns World Cup-winning front row of Pip Love, Georgia Ponsonby, and Amy Rule who lost for the first time in 29 games for Canterbury. Chelsea Bremner lost her first game in 43 appearances.

Yesterday, Northland beat previously unbeaten Manawatu in the FPC Championship final in Palmerston North. Northland held on to won 32-29, after Manawatu fullback and taliswoman Selica Winiata was red-carded inside the first 10 minutes for a dangerous but not deliberate high shot/collision. Northland went beastmode and won the game in the forwards. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate was one of those players from hooker for Northland. She has scored 47 tries in the FPC which passes the 46 scored by Fiao’o Fa’amausili.

Who is responsible for the lights going out at Central Energy Arena in Palmerston North with five minutes remaining in that match? Following a 25-minute delay the match resumed and Northland hung on to win.

The Black Ferns squad is named for the Aussie test on September 30 today.  Canterbury wing Martha Mataele and Otago openside Leah Miles possible new selections. A recall for Northland lock Charmine Smith and Manawatū No.8 Kaipo Olsen-Baker. Promotion for Auckland prop Sophie Fisher.


The rugby news cycle is now dominated by the Rugby World Cup. Every media organisation in New Zealand went with wall-to-wall All Blacks coverage on Saturday morning. It must be a ‘loss leader’ for these organisations with all their overt coverage trying to out-do their rivals.


Dan Carter reveals the [replica] Webb Ellis Trophy prior to the tournament kicking off on Saturday morning.

What on earth was lock Tupou Vaa’i doing at blindside flanker against France? In his Super Rugby career, Vaa’i has only started three of his 44 games for the Chiefs in the six jersey. All those games were in 2022 with two defeats against the Blues (22-24) and the Crusaders (19-34). The only win was against bottom-placed Moana Pasifika. In his All Blacks career of 22 Tests, he’d never played more than 80 minutes in the position.

Unless the World Cup is won history is not going to be kind to Ian Foster. The first home series lost in 28 years against Ireland. The first loss to Argentina away and in New Zealand. First loss in World Cup pool play, and a record defeat by the All Blacks at the World Cup. Biggest loss in any test of all time v Springboks. A combined 1-5 against France & Ireland and was absent from the coaches’ box against Ireland due to Covid. Nine of his 27 wins have been achieved by Australia who are ranked the lowest they’ve ever been since official world rankings were released. Beat Tonga 102-0 but Sam Whitelock had more caps than the entire Tonga team which was far from full strength. Beat USA 104-14 in 2021. The Eagles didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. Had a run of six defeats in eight Tests which is the worst run since 1998.

His winning percentage of 68% is the lowest of any All Blacks coach in the professional era. Steven Hansen 87%, Graham Henry 85%, and John Mitchell 82% were the records of the previous three coaches.


England’s 27-10 victory against Argentina at the Rugby World Cup was possibly the greatest by a team that conceded a red card and won. Tom Curry was sent off after 90 seconds, but George Ford scored all his sides’ points in an emphatic if dour triumph. Other contenders include the 1925 All Blacks who beat England, winner of three out of the last four Five Nations, 17-11 at Twickenham after Cyril Brownlie was sent off in the fourth minute. In 2022 Australia lost Darcy Swain to a red card just before halftime against England before scoring three unanswered tries and hanging on to win 30-28. A year earlier France denied Wales the Grand Slam in Paris despite trailing 20-30 and losing lock Paul Willemse. England beat Argentina 27-14 after losing Elliot Daly for 75 minutes in 2017. What about the 95-0 win by Namibia over Senegal when they lost Louis van der Westhuizen after 16 minutes?

There have been 26 red cards in Rugby World Cup history. Only four times has a team conceded a red card and won the match with two instances of both teams conceding a red in the same match. The earliest red card in World Cup history prior to Tom Curry was David Codey (also a flanker) for Australia against Wales in 1987. Wales won the match 22-21.

George Ford had only kicked two drops in 85 Tests prior to his three for England in their 27-10 opening-round World Cup win against Argentina. Johnny Wilkinson scored all 24 points in England’s 2003 semi-win over France.

Johnny Wilkinson holds the record for most drop goals in the World Cup with 14. Jannie De Beer with five drop goals in a match for South Africa against England holds the record for most in the match.


A high scoring thriller this morning, with Wales hanging on to beat Fiji 32-26. Fiji went close to scoring at the death but couldn’t quite bring it home. In contrast, the South Africans plodded to an 18-3 win over Scotland. But considering they have lost their last two RWC opening matches in 2015 and 2019, Springbok fans will be content. Not as happy as the youngster in the reel below.


Re-live the 2023 season in photos:

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One thought on “Sideline Conversions 11 September (some rugby news and information to start the week)

  1. I totally agree with your comments about Losi Filipo . He was hung out to dry by people who should have been looking after him. Great to see him looking happy and doing so well

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