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Laursen still going strong after 150 Premier games

  • By Steven White

When Club Rugby caught up with Brandyn Laursen in 2017 he was flatting with a group of Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles teammates and was just starting out as a qualified builder.

Now he’s a Kapiti Coast family man with a one-year-old son and is in business with his former rugby playing father Craig.

What hasn’t changed is his passion and commitment to the game and to Hutt Old Boys Marist –  and the lure of a Wellington club rugby championship win.

“That’s why I am still playing, I am still chasing a Jubilee Cup!”

“That would just top everything off, I would be a happily retired player if I could do that,”Laursen laughed.

Laursen has been with the Eagles since 2011, but the last time the club won the Jubilee Cup in 2014 was the season he was playing for the Harlequins club in Marlborough.

This past Saturday he reached a significant personal milestone by playing his 150th Premier match for the Eagles, scoring 20 points and helping his side to 45-12 win over Northern United at Porirua Park. There were plenty of people on hand to see him play.

“I’m pretty lucky that I have a good support crew with my family, and it was a really cool moment to run out at the start of the game with my young guy in front of everyone.

Laursen and son head out on to Jerry Collins Stadium at the start of his 150th match for HOBM on Saturday. PHOTO: Warwick Burke.

The Eagles have started the season with three straight wins.

“We are happy with where we at, because in past seasons we have been quite slow starters, especially last year when we took a while to get going and that bit us in the back end of the season.

“I was really proud of the way we stuck to our guns throughout the whole 80 minutes in our first match [an 81-7 win over Wellington] and we built some good momentum to continue going forward. It’s only early days, but there’s a good feel about how we are training and playing as a group.”

“The way our draw is, our games are going to get harder and harder, starting with Old Boys University this week in our first home match.”

The club will have a special presentation for Laursen’s 150th match in the Hutt Rec clubrooms post-match this Saturday.

By this website’s count, Laursen, has scored a Wellington club rugby career tally 1,517 points. Not just a goal-kicker, he has also scored 63 tries. He also scored 242 points in 2014 in his season in Marlborough, for a club rugby career total 1,759 points.

Amongst current players, he is the most prolific points scorer, with Dale Dabbagh (former OBU, now with Paremata-Plimmerton) behind on 1,089 points.

In terms of all-time Wellington club rugby points scorers, it is impossible to collate from the start, but names such as Allan Hewson (Petone), Bryan Cederwall (Athletic), Grant Griffith (Poneke) and more recently Fa’atonu Fili (MSP),Ben Aoina (Upper Hutt), Brandyn’s father Craig (Avalon and Hutt Old Boys) and James So’oialo (Norths/Tawa/Wellington) are up there. We have So’oialo’s complete Wellington club rugby record and his tally adds up to 1,730 career points, the most of the past 20 years at least.

In 1993, father Craig became the first person to surpass 250 points in a season in Wellington club rugby, scoring 267 for Avalon. Twenty years later in 2013, son Brandyn overtook him by scoring a record 286 points in a single season. See the bottom of this article for a list of players who have scored over 200 points in a season.

Do these statistics help drive Brandyn?

“I am a bit of a numbers guy, and I see that as my way of contributing to the team. If I am kicking my goals, it means we are hopefully getting results.”

Brandyn is equally at home at either at first-five or second-five. “It just depends on where the team needs me. For the last few years, I have played a lot more at 12 and I have enjoyed the second playmaker role. But with our team set-up this year we have Kienan Higgins, so I am enjoying first-five as well.”

Beyond the statistics, what are some highlights?

“I’m still waiting for the Jubilee Cup highlight [see above]! But there have been a couple of semi-finals and the 2018 final loss to OBU. One that sticks out was the 2013 semi-final loss to Ories, the one that lasted 100 minutes and with All Blacks galore playing such as Jeremy Thrush for us and Ma’a Nonu, Matt Proctor and Julian Savea for them. An awesome occasion, a massive crowd, we didn’t quite get the result but memorable nonetheless.”

“I have been on both sides of the result in McBain Shield matches [against Petone]. No matter the results they are always such tense and close games, and you don’t really know what they are like until you have played one, but always one on the calendar to look forward to.”

Jackson Garden-Bachop is one of many players he has enjoyed playing against. “I came through at the same time as him and we always used to have some big battles against each other and we became good mates when we linked up in the Lions. “

Two notable players he has played with are former HOBM halfbacks Nick Risdon and Sheridan Rangihuna. “Two very different players, but both legends of our club and terrific guys.”

Another high point was making the Wellington Lions in 2021 and playing five matches in that years NPC competition.

A not so high point, which we didn’t discuss in this conversation but we feel needs to be noted, was his time sidelined in 2018 and into some of 2019 for serving a NZR ban for an off-season doping violation. It has been discussed elsewhere previously this was just a mistake, and he copped the punishment. If not for that he would be closing in on 200 Premier caps for the Eagles.

As for the future, he is keen to stay in rugby when he stops playing

“I really want to get into coaching, or even in a technical or kicking capacity – I always say that I want to stay in the game and give back what I have learned and experienced.”

For now, there is no talk of retirement, and as alluded to above the lure of a Jubilee Cup title remains strong. His commitment to helping his younger teammates and that elusive title dream is what helps drives him during his twice-weekly commute over Transmission Gully and the Haywards to training at the Hutt Rec with the Eagles.

Most points in a season

286 Brandyn Laursen (Hutt Old Boys Marist) 2013
282 James So’oialo (Northern United) 2010
267 Craig Laursen (Avalon) 1993
258 Elton Moncrieff (Marist St. Pat’s) 1993
248 Dale Sabbagh (Old Boys University) 2017
242 James So’oialo (Northern United) 2009
240 Ben Aoina (Upper Hutt) 2006
238 Alan Henderson (Upper Hutt) 1990
236 James Proctor (Oriental-Rongotai) 2009
236 Fa’atonu Fili (Marist St Pat’s) 2008
236 Scott Leighton (Western Suburbs) 2003
229 Tauaosi Tuimavave (Poneke) 2013
226 Allan Hewson (Petone) 1986
226 James Ogden (Poneke) 1996
226 James Reilly (Marist St Pat’s) 2001
220 Peter O’Shaugnessy (Marist St Pat’s) 1988
218 Brad Cooper (Poneke) 2005
213 Allan Hewson (Petone) 1980
209 Fa’atonu Fili (Marist St Pat’s) 2014
205 John Gallagher (Oriental-Rongotai) 1984
200 Martin Pike (Western Suburbs) 1987

Most points in the Premier club rugby match

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