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Sideline Conversions 30 November/1 December (some off-season news and happenings)

This column will return on a weekly basis in the new year, but some general off-season news is below.

We all want more in 2024 and Club Rugby intends on starting a weekly e-newsletter early next year, delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. Please sign up to this HERE 

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The Condor 7s is being run this weekend.

Visit the tournament Facebook page for updates HERE 

Visit the tournament website at https://condorsevens.com/

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Rest in Peace Aggy Faraimo:

Sideline Conversions has been told that the Hurricanes are posting a loss of $1.3 million.

This could also explain why they are playing their one and only home pre-season match next season at their training base at Upper Hutt. This is on 16 February against Moana Pasifika. A beautiful field there, but in terms of being spectator friendly, a re-run at Levin Domain or closer to home at Jerry Collins Stadium could be more conducive for the fans.

On the subject of the JCS at Porirua Park, we were told recently that the Wellington Lions could be playing all their matches there in 2024. This means that these will likely all be day  games, unless they do lighting upgrades. If this is the case it will be hoped by supporters that at least the first few of these early in the calendar are on Sunday afternoons because Saturday afternoons throughout August and into September are for community/club/school sport and there will be multiple clashes. UPDATE: This was also on the radio news this morning, so is now out there. 

In turn, the Lions are also returning to Rugby League Park as their training base, Old Boys University’s home ground for next year very much still “to be confirmed.”

If you missed it, see details of the Swindale Shield draw HERE

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As posted on our website earlier this week HERE the Hurricanes Women’s squad, the Poua, was named for 2024.

There will be 13 debutants in the 30-women group (with one more player to be added), but only five players overall from Wellington. Ayesha Leti-l’iga will be sidelined with an ACL knee injury, that kept her out for this year’s women’s represeantive season. All rugby supporters hope she will be back as she is a proven try-scorer phenomenon and excitement machine.

Joanah Ngan-Woo was also not involved in this year’s Black Ferns home international series, for reasons that weren’t given in any team media releases, and it is noted that she has been selected as a loose forward in the Poua for next season and not a lock. Watch this space. Both first fives are also from Canterbury, so none available [update: inserted the word ‘available’ as it was pointed out that the HB Tui flyhalf is with the Blues] from either Wellington, Manawatu or Hawke’s Bay up to the job.

Their draw is imminent.

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Speaking of knee injuries, TJ Perenara recently posted on social media some photos of him post-workout with some teammates such as Du Plessis Kirifi and Devan Flanders looking cut and shredded and ready to go. So some bright news on the immediate horizon?

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As far as we know, no more competitive rugby in Wellington until Anniversary Weekend in the third week of January.

But there is a tournament being played in Palmerston North next weekend, specific details to come:

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The HOBM club and Wellington rugby and sports community also recently lost Peter McGuinness.

Peter was a Life Member, former Chairman and committee member of the club for at least 15 years and an active contributor to our club up until his passing. HOBM added the following:

“Peter and his family made contributions both in terms of significant effort, but also in financial sponsorship over a long period.  Two major initiatives that were able to be completed because of his and his family’s support, were the Centenary Building Project in 2010 and the artificial grass complex at the Rec.  He was also instrumental in supporting the current renovations happening to our clubrooms.

Peter’s unwavering enthusiasm and support for our club, along with his drive and ability to make things happen for the benefit of the club and its members will long be remembered.

Peter enjoyed supporting the club teams and cheering them on whenever he was able to and enjoyed catching up with his club mates and his many friends in the clubrooms.  Peter was a larger-than-life individual who will be sorely missed by all at The Eagles.”

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HOBM is also looking for a manager for their Premier Reserves team next season, with last year’s manager now working with the Eagles Premiers. Expressions of interest to Director of Rugby Kent Harris either by email director-rugby@hobm.co.nz or phone 027 224 3007.

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New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and its Pasifika Advisory Group (NZR Tausoa Fa’atasi) recently celebrated the launch of a multi-year Pasifika strategy.

As per the media release: The NZR Pasifika Strategy 2024-2029 aims to create more equitable opportunities for Pasifika at all levels of the game, and is the first known of its kind to be developed by a national sports organisation anywhere in the world.

NZR Chair Dame Patsy Reddy said the organisation is focused on enhancing environments that are prepared to embrace Pasifika and their values.

“This strategy represents our collection of visions and aspirations for Pasifika in rugby. It is our committment to see environments where Pacific people can flourish and ensure our sport is responding to the specific needs of the Pasifika community.”

Reddy acknowledged the underrepresentation of Pasifika in off-field roles was a significant focus for the strategy.

“Pasifika have made an immense contribution to rugby in New Zealand, particularly on the field. The strategy is tasked with supporting New Zealand Rugby and wider rugby community to provide a range of pathways for Pasifika on and off the field,” Reddy said.

The strategy is based on four pillars (pou): Kelekele (preparing the soil), Totō (planting the seed), Tubu (growing our Pasifika people) and Lalanga (strengthening the shared vision of NZR and Pasifika people).

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The New Zealand Rugby Awards are on 14 December.

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Terrible news this week in the women’s game:

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The Dewar Shield is still in existence as the trophy for the “Club Championship.” It was donated in 1922 by Wm. Bannatyne & Co. on behalf of John Dewar & Son Ltd., Scotland. The shield was awarded to the club which accumulated most points in all games under the jurisdiction of the of the WRFU.

One way to re-strengthen club rugby could be to give this more prominence. An idea as part of a meaningful revival could be to re-introduce a club championship prize based on four teams in each club, three of these would be Premier, Premier 2 and Colts (so most clubs would be eligible) and the other being the highest performing team from any other grade, i.e., women’s, U85kgs, Premier Reserve. Their points from their respective round-robin competitions are added up and the club with the highest combined points is the winner at the end of the season is the Club Championship winner.

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2 thoughts on “Sideline Conversions 30 November/1 December (some off-season news and happenings)

  1. So if the Lions are playing their home games at JCS and training at RLP, why wouldn’t OBU get to keep playing their home games on a Saturday at RLP?
    Or has football got designs on the facilities?

    1. Agreed, I think they are just working through these arrangements. But professional/corporate rugby moves to its own beat, which is not the same one as the community game.

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