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Sideline Conversions 30 October (some rugby news and information to start the week)

A  bittersweet day yesterday for rugby fans across New Zealand.

On one hand, the All Blacks excelled on the world stage and came within a whisker of winning the Rugby World Cup; on the other there were several what ifs and maybes on fulltime after the 11-12 loss to the Springboks in drizzly Paris.

For everything that went down in the match (extensively canvassed elsewhere), at the end of the day the All Blacks had their chances in the second half but couldn’t take them. So well played South Africa – and world rugby’s greatest rivalry continues!

One of many memes and images doing the rounds on Sunday.


As far as we know as we publish this, there is no rugby on this weekend in the lower North Island, so a weekend off to mow the lawns, pull more weeds and plant more capsicums and chillies. If there is, please let us know at and if accessible we will try and be there.

The following two weekends see the one-off Wellington club sevens tournament at Trentham Memorial Park on 11 November and the Provincial Central Sevens at Palmerston North on 18 November. Although you wouldn’t know it as most PU’s are awfully silent on promoting this at this point.


Club Rugby attended day one of the Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s school tournament at Palmerston North on Saturday. Small but quality fields, particularly in the Open Boys draw, and not for the first occasion in recent times we suggest it was disappointing there were not any Wellington schools entered in either the Open Boys or the U15s divisions. Perhaps in their defence, this tournament was originally scheduled for Labour Weekend which would have meant a clash with last Monday’s Wellington Condors at Naenae College, but organisers would have accommodated late entries.

The three divisions were won by the Manukura Pango team (Open Girls) Fielding High School (Open Boys) and Palmerston North BHS (U15s).

From a Wellington perspective, Open Girls entrant St Mary’s College provided two players in the tournament team, Bailey Nightingale and Litia Bulicakau.

Litia Bulicakau – Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s MVP this past weekend. She was also the unofficial Wellington Condors 7s Open Girls Tournament MVP last Monday (according to us).


Feilding High School’s  Mosese Bason was the Boys MVP, while his sister was a leading player in the Feilding High School’s girls team. They are both younger siblings of up and coming hooker Vernon Bason – so another super-talented rugby family out of that part of the world.


Club Rugby understands New Zealand U19 teams/development squads are being named, if not already. We are not sitting on social media 24/7 so unsure if its out there yet, but at least two Wellington players whom we know about are in the men’s U19s, a prop from the Upper Hutt Rams and a midfielder from Marist St Pat’s. Plus two-three female players are in the women’s U19s whom we don’t know but could reasonably guess.

The College Sport Wellington awards are this coming Sunday.  One of those likely selected players noted above, Justine McGregor (St Mary’s) could be considered in some quarters to be a shoe-in to win the Girls Rugby award – and be in contention for the female ‘Supreme Award’ – and Harry Irving (Scots College) could be pencilled in as the Boys favourite. But the judges broke tradition last year as per the criteria for these awards by giving Senio Sanele (St Pat’s Silverstream) the Boys award despite Stanley Solomon (Wellington College) making the higher team when selected for the NZSS squad.


It has been relayed to us that Tamati Ellison has departed to take up a role with the incoming All Blacks coaching team, following another stint with the Crusaders.

Who will be the new Wellington Lions head coach?


Some XVs rugby in the South Island this week. The NZ Heartland XV are back in action for a two-match NZ Rugby Provincial Challenge series against Canterbury Development XV and the NZ Barbarians XV.


The Wellington Pride has deep family connections.

  • Petrina Foaese, Nina Foaese – cousins
  • Octavia Nanai-Iafeta, Angelica Schwencke – cousins
  • Monica Tagoai, Jaydah Timu – cousins
  • Ivana Samani, Joanah Ngan-Woo – cousins
  • Kelly Laumalili-Tuiatua, Maddie Feaunati – cousins
  • Hosanna Aumua, Asafo Aumua (Lions) – siblings
  • Lyric Faleafaga, Joe Faleafaga (Lions) – cousins




The record for most tries on debut is held by Jessica Breach who scored six for England against Canada at Barnet Copthall, London in 2017. She had the date 11/17 tattooed on her body. Breach scored five tries in her next Test against Canada too. Uriel O’Farrell scored seven tries on debut for Argentina against Uruguay in 1951.


World Cup Final

Pieter-Steph du Toit made 28 tackles in the World Cup final (14 in each half). He was simply immense, especially his bone rattlers on Jordie Barrett.

Beauden Barrett is the first individual to score a try in two Rugby World Cups.

There were eight red cards at the World Cup, the same number there was in 2019.

The All Blacks won the possession, territory, carries, clean breaks, defenders beat and lineouts count and had the Springbokss measure in the scrum but still lost the game.

Players are better prepared than in any time in the history of the game, more training, more access to video footage, more coaches yet the All Blacks had more players red-carded this year than what they did in their first 113 years. What does that say about the laws of the game?

Who was your All Blacks Player of the Final?

The Springboks have outscored opponents 143-24 in the last 20 minutes of their previous 12 World Cup matches. They didn’t concede any points in the last 20 minutes of their final three one-point victories at this tournament.

Is the blood-bin still a thing in rugby? How can the South African second-five run around for 20 minutes of the second half with a deep cut to his cheek and blood gushing down his face like an automatic transmission fluid leak on the driveway? Surely he should have been asked to depart to clean the cut up…and a replacement back brought on? According to WHO, the the HIV prevalence rate for all adults in South Africa aged 15 to 49 is 19.0%

South Africa’s record 2020-23: 27-12 – World Cup 2023, British & Irish Lions (2-1, 2021) v All Blacks (4-3), v France, (1-1), v Ireland, (0-2) All Blacks: 32-12-2 – 4 Rugby Championships, South Africa (3-4), France (0-2), Ireland (2-3) Ireland: 36-9 – Grand Slam 2023, 17 wins in a row, All Blacks (3-2), South Africa (2-0), France (1-3) France: 35-9 – Grand Slam 2022, South Africa (1-1), All Blacks (2-0), Ireland (3-1)


Eddie Jones has quit the Wallabies – watch this space!



Lark Atkin-Davies scored four tries for England in a 45-12 win against Canada in a WXV 1 Test in Dunedin. It was a world record performance by a women’s hooker in an international. A forward scoring four or more tries in New Zealand first-class rugby is highly unusual. Desire Hakopa, typically a loose forward, scored five tries for Hawke’s Bay in a 100-5 thrashing of Southland in 2003. In men’s rugby hooker Dane Coles scored four tries for the All Blacks in a 57-23 win against Fiji in 2021. Loose forward Graham Williams scored five tries for the All Blacks against Tasmania in 1968. Fellow loose forward Rob Gordon scored five tries for Waikato in a 75-12 win against Southland in 1990. Manawatū’s John Mears achieved the feat against Horowhenua in 1958.

In the UK in 2023 Glasgow Warriors hooker Johnny Matthews scored five tries in a 73-33  Challenge Cup win over Pau Dragons. Matthews, who was born in Liverpool, is no stranger to scoring tries achieving the same feat for the Shielfied Tigers against Luctonians in 2016.

An absolute boilover in WXV 1 with Australia beating France 29-20. Prop Eva Karpani was a hero scoring three tries. France beat the Black Ferns last Saturday while Australia was beaten 43-3 by New Zealand less than two months ago. Australia took it to the French forwards, but the victory was still shocking because. Australia conceded the most penalties (37) and was awarded the least (19), while also having two players yellow-carded in the Pacific Four Series. Australia’s misfiring lineout was one of the reasons for their undoing against England in round one of WXV 1.  The Wallaroos’ overall success rate was just 53% (10/19). Six of their lineout throws were stolen by England. The Wallaroos had only won six of their last 20 Tests and scored 97 points in six matches in 2023. They’d only beaten France once in six previous meetings and that was at the 2010 Rugby World Cup.

The Black Ferns are 14-0 in Test matches in Auckland but will have their work cut out to defeat England there this coming Saturday.


It’s fright night out there tomorrow, stay safe out there.

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