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Great days in club rugby 010: In for the Try

Norths wing AJ Va’alepu makes headlines for scoring five tries in the 2011 Jubilee Cup semi-final. PHOTO/CREDIT: Dominion Post 1 August 2011.

Since the first season that the Jubilee Cup was contested in 1929 there have been approximately 8,000 Senior A/Premier club rugby matches contested in Wellington.

In this new series for 2024 as part of our ongoing celebration of community rugby in Wellington, we have broken into the ‘Today in Club Rugby History’ files, selected a small sample of these matches and divided them up into similar categories of occurrences.

This article celebrates a mere snapshot of memorable or match-turning tries or multiple tries in matches in club rugby down the years.

In for the try

24 April 1954: University left wing Ron Jarden is the most dangerous attacking player in the competition, and today the All Black winger scores a typical spectacular 90-metre intercept runaway try to see side beat University 23-17 in today’s opening match of the season. University are the two-time defending Jubilee Cup champions, but they have lost several players in the off-season. Bu any side with Jarden is going to be a contender, and they go on and in August win their third straight Jubilee Cup title.

Ron Jarden All Blacks pen portrait.


2 May 1964: Incumbent New Zealand Maori All Black Pat Myers scores four of six tries in Marist Old Boys’ 26-8 win over Poneke. The win, Marist’s third on the trot to start the new season, sees them level pegging with University early on who beat Hutt 24-3 with fullback Mick Williment scoring two tries. Marist and University go on to share this year’s Jubilee Cup.


8 May 1965: University wing Alan Osborne scores a Wellington club record six tries and fullback Mick Williment scores 18 points in University’s 42-6 win over Wellington College Old Boys. Osborne’s six tries equals the most scored on Athletic Park by one man after Ron Jarden had scored six tries there for Wellington versus East Coast in 1953 in a Ranfurly Shield defence.


16 May 1970: University wing Graham Wallis scores five tries, two penalties and five conversions for 31 points in his side’s 46-5 win over Ories. In today’s scoring with 5-point tries that would equate to him scoring 41 points in the match. Wallis, who represented Canterbury in 1967, will make his Wellington debut the following year and score 21 tries in 28 first-class matches for Wellington in his provincial career. University are neck-and-neck with Petone at the top of the Swindale Shield after Petone beats Hutt Old Boys 22-16 for the McBain Shield on this same afternoon. Petone will go and win their 25th Senior A/Premier club rugby title later this season.


7 July 1979: Unbeaten MSP are trailing Athletic 9-10 deep into the match when first five-eighth Tu Wylie carves through to score a 50-metre try that sets up a 21-19 win. Having already won the Swindale Shield, MSP will do the double in a few weeks and win the Jubilee Cup.


13 June 1981: MSP’s Wayne Gray and Petone’s Mike Clamp continue their hot try-scoring. Gray scores four tries in MSP’s 31-0 win over Ories to take his season tally to 17 tries in 12 games. Clamp scores just once in Petone’s 19-0 win over Poneke, but he now has 20 tries in 12 matches.MSP and Petone are neck-and-neck and heading for a showdown in next week’s Swindale Shield decider. Petone will win that, but MSP will win the Jubilee Cup.


1 July 1994: Avalon wing Solomon Su’a is the toast of his club, scoring the winning try on fulltime to give his side a 13-9 win over Johnsonville. First five-eighth Craig Laursen adds the conversion to add salt into the wound as Johnsonville had dominated much of the match.


24 April 2004: Hutt Old Boys Marist lock/loose forward Polonga ‘Peaches’ Pedro will go on to play over 200 Premier games for the Eagles. Today he is at blindside flanker and he scores two memorable tries in his team’s 27-17 McBain Shield win over rivals Petone. HOBM overcame an 11/3 first half penalty count against them and entertain the spirited crowd to the tune of three unanswered tries before halftime. Petone come back to level, but Pedro’s last-gasp try in the corner seals it.

Pedro runs in one of his two tries in this match. PHOTO: Dominion Post 26 April 2004.


30 July 2011: Norths wing AJ Va’alepu scores all five of Norths’ tries in this 29-3 semi-final win over Poneke. This is noteworthy because Va’alepu’s haul is [and still is] the most known number of tries scored by an individual in a Jubilee Cup match in the modern era, and it remains the most scored in a semi-final since the playoff series was introduced in 1993.


6 May 2023:  Defending Swindale Shield champions Petone storm to a 41-17 win over Tawa at a heavy underfoot Lyndhurst Park this afternoon. Petone’s win is highlighted by four tries to tyro right wing Stanley Solomon, who sensationally runs in a first half hat-trick before cooling his heels and then adding one more in the second spell. Tawa open the scoring, but Petone raced to a 34-10 lead by halftime and have the result is all but confirmed.

Solomon in for one of his four tries. Photo: Andy McArthur.


Most tries in a Wellington Premier club rugby match (since 2006)

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