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Sideline Conversions 26 February (Some rugby news and information to start the new week)

The Wellington Academy side after their 41-12 win over Manawatu on Saturday. In blustery conditions, Wellington won 7 tries to 2, after scoring the game’s first try in the 25th minute. The Hurricanes U20s squad selection is imminent. 

UPDATED Monday afternoon: For all clubs, the countdown is on to the start of pre-season rugby, with several clubs in Wellington and Manawatu and points in between soon to be in action for the first time this year. This coming Saturday for example, Johnsonville travels to Feilding for a game of three halves with the home club and Napier Old Boys Marist and Poneke and Hutt Old Boys Marist meet at North Park. Earlier in the day, the home club there, Petone, is holding its annual ‘Petoneman’ pre-season race.

For Wellington clubs, pre-season Saturdays are the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th of March, whilst for Manawatu its a week shorter as their competition starts on the last weekend of March.

Clubs are starting to promote their pre-season fixtures  – we are working on an article collating all these pre-season games and dates in one place, which we hope to publish on this website later this week.


The Hurricanes play the Reds in their second round match this coming weekend in neutral Melbourne. Whilst the Hurricanes beat the Force by 30 points, the Reds opened their account by thrashing the Waratahs 40-22. The Hurricanes – Reds match is at the fan-friendly time of 6.30pm Sunday NZT.


St Pat’s Silverstream had a good night in Perth on Friday, with four of the eight tries on the night being scored by its old boys. For the Hurricanes, Asafo Aumua, Salesi Rayasi and Peter Lakai crossed the chalk, while for the Force, Chase Tiatia scored a try.

Chase Tiatia was easily the most threatening Western Force back. Why is he on the wing? He needs to be closer to the ball.


Jordie Barrett is set to play his 100th match for the Hurricanes this coming weekend against the Reds. He joins older brother Beauden in the 100 club for the Hurricanes. They will be the second brother pairing to reach this milestone for the Hurricanes after Julian and Ardie Savea.

Luke Whitelock (51 Crusaders, 53 Highlanders) and Sam Whitelock (181 Crusaders) and Ben Franks (82 Crusaders, 45 Hurricanes) and Owen Franks (154 Crusaders, 16 Hurricanes) are two other sets of brothers to have played over 100 games each.

Scott Barrett has 79 wins in 113 matches for the Crusaders Beauden Barrett scored 1238 points in 125 games for the Hurricanes.


That gets us thinking – who are the famous brothers to have played together in Wellington club rugby down the years?

There have been plenty, particularly a century ago when there was the five Nicholls’, the Ryans, the Shearers and the Tilyards, the Dellabarcas and others.


On the subject of ‘lists’ – who are some of the players to have played a long or stellar senior rugby career but whom never made their First XV whilst at school? Ken Gray probably being the most famous in this category.


It’s going to be a long season for some of the Australian Super Rugby teams. The Hurricanes beat the Force by 30 points in their competition opener on Friday night. Apart from the Brumbies, this gulf is more than alarming.


No coverage of pre-season Super Rugby Aupiki games despite the Chiefs 50-24 win over the Blues being played at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton where cameras were already set up for the Chiefs v Crusaders Super Rugby match.

The competition starts this coming Saturday, with the Hurricanes Poua travelling to play the Chiefs at 2.05pm and the South Island Matatū hosting the Blues in Invercargill at 4.35pm.


Anyone else notice that the Hurricanes – Force match wasn’t covered by any of the mainstream media outlets. Nothing on Stuff or its offshoots, i.e. the Post, that we could see, and apparently nothing on the NZ Herald and its other newspapers online, i.e. Hawke’s Bay Today.



A special moment for two of Wellington’s pioneering Black Ferns on Friday night. Fiona Johnson and Lise Baker attended an event connected with the Paremata-Plimmerton Ericka Rere/Ken Gray legacy project. Keryn Martin was greeting guests on the door and welcomed Fiona. He turned around and asked, ‘Do you know this woman?’ It was Lise Baker. It was the first time they’d seen each other for more than two decades. Johnson and Baker played in the 1990 Paremata-Plimmerton team that won the inaugural Wellington senior championship and were selected for New Zealand after the World Rugby Festival in Christchurch later that year.


The opening weekend of Super Rugby always sees a group of young, up and coming players impress. Examples from this past weekend include Jamie Hannah (Crusaders lock), Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (Highlanders fullback) and Xavier Roe (Chiefs halfback).


NZ Super Rugby franchises on X [Twitter]: 

Team X handle Posts last 7 days (as at time of publication) Last Post Followers
Blues @BluesRugbyTeam 25* (10) Mid afternoon Sunday 86.5k
Chiefs @ChiefsRugby 12* (5) Sunday night 96.8k
Crusaders @crusadersrugby 8 Saturday afternoon 118.4k
Highlanders @Highlanders 3 Sunday morning 60.7k
Hurricanes @Hurricanesrugby


0 24 August 2023 71k
Moana Pasifika @MoanaPasifika_ 3 Friday afternoon 9.7k

*Both the Blues and Chiefs ‘tweet’ match updates, inflating the volume of their posts. Their ‘non match update posts’ are in brackets.



A furore over the new smart mouthguards that the Super Rugby players are wearing. Apparently the settings were wrong.


In Six Nations rugby this morning, it was heartbreak for Italy over France. Their kicker Paolo Garbisi hit the post with a penalty that would have won the game. The final score was 13-13.

Earlier in the weekend, Scotland had beaten England for a fourth consecutive year, winning 30-21.


The Black Ferns Sevens became the first team to reach 50 Cup semi-finals in the World Series in Vancouver.

Sam Dickson is the 13th player to score 100 tries for the All Blacks Sevens.

The Black Ferns Sevens won their tournament, beating France 35-19, while the Men’s team missed out to Argentina 36-12 in their final.


The World Rugby Sevens series has become ultra competitive, but how can you have games where less than a converted try separates the teams’ and 40 of the last 45 seconds are wasted by lineout and scrum stoppages? The referees are extremely card happy too.


Brian Clarke, the cherished Patron and Life Member of the Kereone Rugby and Sports Club, passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. His departure is a profound loss to his family and the New Zealand rugby community.

He had been to the Chiefs v Crusaders match on Friday night watching from the Clarke lounge.

When five Clarke brothers played for Waikato Read more here:

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