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Sideline Conversions 20 May (some rugby news and information to start the week)

The Paremata-Plimmerton and HOBM Presidents after their match on Saturday. Photo: Warwick Burke.

Monday afternoon updates: Blink and you will miss it. It’s the back half of the 2024 Wellington club rugby first round competition.

Heading into this coming weekend’s eighth round of 13 of the the Swindale Shield, OBU lead by 5 points, but the chasing pack consists of 10 teams separated by 8 competition points, all in the mix for the Jubilee Cup and half of them in the hunt for the first-round title.

OBU are looking sharp, but they also haven’t played Paremata-Plimmerton, Oriental-Rongotai or Marist St Pat’s, so we are in for a cracker of a back half of the competition.

Matches at a glance this Saturday (home teams first):

#1 – HOBM v Wainui
#2 – J’ville v Upper Hutt Rams
#3 – Marist St Pats v Pare-Plim
#4 – OBU v Poneke
#5 – Ories v Norths
#6 – Tawa v Avalon
#7 – Wellington v Petone

The First XV draw is being confirmed, and the season starts this coming Wednesday with the traditional opener between host school Wellington College and St Pat’s Town. Kick-off is listed at 1.00pm on Wednesday.

The second round Women’s draw will also be made early this week. The teams split into a ‘top four-bottom four’ scenario, with a three-week round-robin, semi-finals and then finals.

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Good scheduling for community rugby, with the Hurricanes playing the Chiefs this Friday night in Hamilton.

It is next week there’s going to be a major problem, with a 4.35pm Saturday afternoon game scheduled. But we will get to that when the time comes.

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Here’s one for the Siliga family books. Norths centurion Liki played over 60 minutes off the bench as an early sub for the Premiers in their draw with Poneke, while down the road at Ngati Toa Domain his partner Lisa started for the Pare-Plim women, and their son Reuben was in midfield for the Hammerhead’s Colts side.

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Double-duty for Poneke’s Premier Manager Evan Belford on Saturday. While he was in his usual role for the 2.45pm kickoff, he’d earlier pulled on the red and black hoops for a spot on their Premier 2 bench owing to injuries across the squad. And he turned back the clock with a late double as his team were convincing winners in their Harper Lock Shield match

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Five tries to Old Boys University centre Elijah Maene-Lokeni – the first five try haul in five seasons in Wellington Premier rugby.

MOST TRIES IN A SWINDALE SHIELD, JUBILEE CUP OR HARDHAM CUP MATCH 2006-2024 (UP TO AND INCLUDING ROUND 7):

6 TRIES

Mike Kingsbeer (Marist St Pat’s)
2009 Swindale Shield Round 5
Marist St Pat’s 88 – Wainuiomata 3

Tauaosi Tuimavavae (Poneke)
2013 Swindale Shield Round 3
Poneke 102 – Rimutaka 0

5 TRIES

Brendan Watt (Marist St Pat’s)
2009 Swindale Shield Round 3
Marist St Pat’s 55 – Tawa 3

Julian Savea (Oriental-Rongotai)
2009 Swindale Shield Round 4
Oriental-Rongotai 78 – Old Boys-University 17

Ajay Va’alepu (Northern United)
2011 Jubilee Cup Semi-final
Northern United 29 – Poneke 3

Dean Brunsdon (Northern United)
2013 Swindale Shield Round 11
Northern United 85 – Rimutaka 0

Faresa Tasele (Marist St Pat’s)
2019 Hardham Cup, Round 7
Marist St Pat’s 74 – Avalon 7

Elijah Maene-Lokeni (Old Boys University)

2024 Swindale Shield Round 7

Old Boys University 74 – Avalon 7

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Old Boys University hooker Louie Calvert injured in the warm-ups  of Old Boys University’s big win over Avalon. His supporters will be hoping this was precautionary and he can take his place in the NZ Universities team against Japan.

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Five tries to Shakira Baker for Paremata-Plimmerton in the women’s competition on Saturday. Apart from Ayesha Leti-L’iga, has a women’s player scored five tries in a match in the past several years?

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Petone right wing Tia Brown leading the women’s competition’s top try scoring list with 9 tries at the conclusion of the first round. A former Kapiti College student, Brown works as a painter by day.

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Kemara Hauiti-Parapara has 347 points and 64 wins in his 100 games for Tawa. He scored a try and set up the winner in their 40-35 victory over Johnsonville on Saturday.

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Paremata-Plimmerton are unbeaten in their last 13 matches at Ngati Toa.

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Is there are bigger livewire in the competition than Esi Komaisavai. In 94 senior games he’s scored 44 tries. His energy shook up Hutt Old Boys Marist.

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Sharp by name, Sharp by nature. Johnsonville right wing Finlay Sharp showed plenty of toe in scoring two cracking tries against Tawa on Saturday.

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The food spread at Paremata-Plimmerton’s aftermatch on Old Timers’ Day on Saturday.

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Shout out to Chris Middleton – the veteran lock played 60 minutes for Tawa on Saturday. A 2006 and 2008 Jubilee Cup final winning starting lock – it’s experience like this that is invaluable.

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Speaking of lineouts, Johnsonville openside flanker Tyler Hall goes well as a lineout jumper and in his role around the field. He finished off a another terrific try against Tawa.

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Taradale are first round Nash Cup champions in Hawke’s Bay Premier rugby. The Maddison Trophy starts this coming weekend.

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This comment will come across the wrong way and be criticised, but going to place it anyway. Why are the Hurricanes so matey-matey with the Phoenix? Good to wish them luck but posting commiseration posts? The Phoenix are a big reason the Hurricanes live audience in Wellington has halved over the past 15 years. Whilst the Phoenix are there and doing well, the Hurricanes will never recapture those 20,000 plus crowds consistently. Different sport so chalk and cheese, yes. But same spending dollar and as the NZ economy gets worse in the coming months before (hopefully) getting better the squeeze will continue to be on. Perhaps the Hurricanes should take a competition match to Levin and another to Whanganui each year? Why wouldn’t they?

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The Wellington Colts competition is tight after seven rounds. HOBM Green are out in front on a perfect 7 wins from 7 and 35 points. Below them, MSP have moved into second on 28, followed by Petone on 27, the Upper Hutt Rams on 26, Norths on 26, Ories on 25, Poneke 23 and OBU 21. So that is seven teams separated by as many points in the chasing pack.

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Another two tries to Wainuiomata right wing Niko Patelesio on Saturday, in his team’s 47-11 ‘two Bills’ win over Wellington. He has scored 11 tries in five matches this year and 22 in his past 11 games overall.

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A good day for the family, his brothers Herman and Salesa were also try-scorers in Ories’ 23-5 win.

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A curious level of silence from NZR HQ on the National U85 Club Cup, which is usually well underway by now.

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A tough gig being a MSP Premier team supporter at the moment. A couple of big losses, as well as some battling wins. Their 27-point loss to the Upper Hutt Rams on Saturday was eye-catching to many results collators. The Rams went 26 matches without beating MSP between 2002-19, at the time the longest Premier losing streak between clubs continuously in the top grade (Upper Hutt before the UH Rams) in a head-to-head encounter.

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Vale Sid Going:

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Brothers in Arms:

Meanwhile, it was Jason Woodward‘s 34th birthday on Friday. He plays for Sale Sharks in England.

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What is the Super Rugby round-robin doing being played past late May? One domestic competition to rule them all going forward?

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On the subject of the NPC, it was reported last week that the Ranfurly Shield has been repaired and is in safe hands back in the Hawke’s Bay.

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Canada stunned the Black Ferns 22-19 in Christchurch. Despite Canada making 227 tackles against 89, the visitors were thoroughly deserving of their victory making better use of possession and at one stage defying a 36-phase attack against them. The Black Ferns were ill-disciplined, conceding 14 penalties and two yellow cards.  Attack was inaccurate and Ruahei Demant kicking the ball down the middle of the park with 90 seconds left an error not befitting of her quality. The Black Ferns have lost three of their last five Test matches and their last two in white jerseys after the 17-18 loss to Wellington last year.

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A Half Season From XV (one perspective, who would you have)?

  1. Benet Kumeroa (HOBM)
  2. Louis Calvert (OBU)
  3. Antonio Prim (Wellington)
  4. Boston Hunt (OBU)
  5. Kitiona Leitufia (Wainuiomata)
  6. Harry Irving (OBU)
  7. Dominic Ropeti (Ories)
  8. Dougal Perrers (OBU)
  9. Kyle Preston (OBU)
  10. Callum Harkin (OBU)
  11. Belgium Tuatagaloa (Petone)
  12. Emmanuel Solomona (Upper Hutt)
  13. Finlay Sharp (Johnsonville)
  14. Niko Patelesio (Wainuiomata)
  15. TJ Clarke (Petone)

* Esi Komaisavai first player picked for the bench.

Palmerston North Overpowers St Patrick’s College, Silverstream

Palmerston North Boys’ High School hosted St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in the 94th annual fixture which coincided with a reunion of the 1964 First XV that won 12 out of 16 games and yielded All Black Bob Burgess.

Silverstream was immediately into their work, using their big forward carriers to good effect and making ground. After several phases, Silverstream earned a penalty to take a 3-0 lead. Liam Slight knocking over the goal.

Palmerston North was sparked into life. Blindside Bradley Tocker busted a tackle and broke down the sideline before offloading to Ryder Crosswell to cross and give the hosts the lead.

Silverstream took the lead with a Ashton Stere try but TJ Wallace propelled Palmerston North back in front with a try before the interval.

Palmerston North played with greater accuracy and aggression in the second spell. Joe Ratcliffe crossed for Palmerston North’s third try before Crosswell cut through from a scum move for his second try.

Undeterred Silverstream attacked with venom using their big forwards to gain momentum. Palmerston’s discipline was fractured losing two players to the sinbin but superb tackling from Sione Taeiloa and Manase Toumohuni held Silverstream at bay and secured the Wallace Cup 22-8.

Stunning Comeback Sinks National Champions

It’s doubtful that in over a century of intense rivalry there has ever been a comeback like the one Otago Boys’ High School produced against National champions Southland Boys’ High School last Wednesday.

Down 24-0 early in the second half at Littlebourne, it appeared Otago was set to receive a hiding.  No 8 Thomas Spain and Captain Taine Withy were productive for the visitors each scoring tries.

Instead, speedy winger Manaia Lesa audaciously chipped ahead and scooped the ball back up to race his way upfield. The cover defence hauled him in, but Otago Boys’ swung the ball to the right and Christopher Ure went over in the corner. Impressive second five Tevita Latu nailed the conversion and that was the catalyst for a stunning shift in momentum.

Latu became imperious, landing four of his five conversion attempts. But he was even more dangerous with possession engineering much of Otago’s attack.

Southland Boys’ botched a lineout throw and Otago charged down the touchline. Halfback Jackson Hughan stayed in support and scored.

Jetlag was a likely factor in Southland Boys’ demise. They only returned from the Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational tournament in Japan on Sunday

Lesa finished off a move with a barging run to the corner and Kane Dynes crossed to make it 24-24. Latu banged over the conversion to give Otago Boys’ their first lead, and loose forward Sione Takataka scored late to complete a stirring comeback.

Captain Hurricane conducting the band:

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Highlanders watch:

When was the last time the Highlanders named an unchanged side for a match? It was in the Covid-adjusted Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition in June 2021, when the Highlanders smashed the Brumbies 33-12 in Canberra. Aaron Smith scored two tries with All Blacks prop Ethan De Groot the only survivor from that win, a fifth in a row before the Highlanders lost the final 23-15 to the Blues.

Since 2002 the Blues and Highlanders have competed for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy.  A police detective with one eye, Hunter was a legendary Otago coach assisting Laurie Mains (127 wins in 178 games) when Otago won their first NPC title in 1991. Hunter was Otago’s head coach from 1992 to 1995 winning 52 out of 80 games, including victories against the 1993 British and Irish Lions and 1994 Springboks. In 1996 Hunter was a selector when the All Blacks won a series in South Africa for the first time. In 2001 he coached the Blues. Sean Withy on the Otago legend.

“Gordon Hunter was your quintessential Highlanders man…We had a pep talk from Jamie Joseph this week and he explained Jamie was more like a father than a coach. He picked people up when they were down, he worked hard. He was a good southern bloke.”

The last time the Highlanders won consecutive games against New Zealand opposition was on 2 April 2021 when they beat the Crusaders 33-12 in Christchurch. Billy Harmon, Michael Collins, and Connor Garden-Bachop scored tries that night with Mitch Hunt booting 18 points.

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