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Highly competitive round of club and college rugby in store for tomorrow

Neither Ories or Petone will be going to ground tomorrow – both are in the eastern suburbs tomorrow, with Ories hosting Norths at home on their Old Timers’ Day and Petone playing Wellington on their ODT. Photo: Andy McArthur. 

  • By Scott MacLean

Another busy day of club and community rugby tomorrow, with the Wellington Premier, Premier 2 and Colts club competitions getting exciting as they enter their eighth of 13, and the start of the women’s second round and college competition competitions. Further afield, the first round Manawatu Senior A title is decided tomorrow and other competitions such as Wairarapa-Bush and Hawke’s Bay start their second rounds.

There are Old Timers Days’ at Oriental-Rongotai and Wellington, and another four interclub trophies at stake in the Premier grade.

The feature radio commentary match is between Johnsonville and the Upper Hutt Rams, on air from 2.30pm at 1161AM, 87.6FM around the city, streaming on iHeart Radio and Whare Kōrero App and

For draws and teamlists (as received) visit

Premier Swindale Shield

No matter what transpires tomorrow, Old Boys-University will still be at the head of the field after eight rounds, but whether they maintain their lead or not will depend on the outcome of their clash at Nairnville with Poneke. 40 minutes against Petone aside, it’s hard to argue against the Goats having been the form side of the competition so far, though Poneke are hanging on in eighth on the table and will be very keen to move further up.

OBU are a little shorthanded owing to NZ Universities duty, and with regular skipper Louis Calvert one of those Zac Pene steps in at hooker and Callum Harkin assumes the captaincy. Elijah Maene-Lokeni will look to add to his five-try haul from last Saturday. Poneke have just one change up front with Callum Smith back in the starting side, while in the backs Carlos Hihi and Max Rodgers swap places, Caleb Robson returns, and Jimmy-Lee Hongara starts in the unfamiliar spot of the left wing.

There’s no fewer than three games in the eastern suburbs tomorrow, and it’s out on the peninsula we go next with Oriental Rongotai welcoming Norths to the Polo Ground. The Magpies joined HOBM in joint-second with their resounding win over Petone but getting consistency from week-to-week has been a challenge given their loss to Wainuiomata the week before. Norths will have been frustrated they let a chance at a second win on the year slip through their hands against Poneke last Saturday and will be chance if they can cut down on their errors.

Ories hand starts to props Jason Seumanufagai and Jonty Bird, with Samson Alaimoana back at lock. The back division sees returns for winger Josh Semu and midfielder Johnny Maiava. Norths can welcome back front-rowers Bradley Critchon and Blake Rogers which should add some steel, and Luca Rees returns to the club where his tryscoring exploits first took off. In the backs there’s a return for the ageless Liki Siliga and Fiti Aliva comes in for Johnny Teleaga in midfield.

Out through the cutting two teams in the chasing pack meet at Evans Bay with Marist St Pat’s taking on Paremata-Plimmerton. MSP will have been stung not just be their defeat at Maidstone, but also the manner of it and will look to respond and avoid a third loss in their last four. The visitors seem to have shaken off their slow start and are unbeaten since, and after taking down HOBM last week confidence will be climbing.

Christopher Simone returns on the blindside for the home side, while a backline reshuffle puts Francis Mettrick at centre this week and Noah Guise at fullback. Pare-Plim get the Coburn brothers back with James starting and he should solidify a scrum that was under pressure at times against HOBM. They’ve also gone with twin opensides in Christian Fa’avae and Veveni Lasaqa and livewire Esi Komaisavai is back at fullback.

Up the hill Wellington are back to Hataitai Park where they’ll take on Petone. The Axemen disappointed last weekend, leaving the feeling they had completely emptied their tank the week before against MSP. Petone roll into town having had their Old Timers Day spoiled by Ories and will want to both atone for that outing and pass that favour on.

Wellington have rolled some changes and they include starting debuts for openside Charlie Brook and winger Deni Caucau, with former MSP duo Ben Tuaitua and Willie Schutz continuing in midfield. The Villagers have Riley Higgins this week, along with fellow Hurricanes Harry Godfrey and Ngane Punivai. Logan Henry starts as he edges closer to bringing up 100 games in the saddle and there’s a first start on the year for Jono Bailey, who looked lost for the season when he injured his shoulder in preseason.

Heading north, Johnsonville find themselves as the current occupant of the dreaded ninth spot. They’re back at home at Helston tomorrow for a crunch clash with the Upper Hutt Rams, who sit just one point ahead of the Hawks. The Rams had a stunning day out at Maidstone a week go as they put MSP away, but Johnsonville weren’t as fortunate in going down at the death against Tawa. Matches between these two have usually been close in recent times and this feels like no exception.

Andrew Ellis’ return at #10 is the only change to Johnsonville’s lineup, though loose forwards Serge Hollis and Sean Rankin are listed in different places. The back three of Jacob Walmsley, Finlay Sharp, and Jacob Kennedy remains intact and will be a threat once again.

The Rams are almost unchanged in their starting XV; the only changes are both up front where Senio Sanele and Eli Hunt return, and Sio Fidow tags in for Jack Wright on the flank.

Tawa remain at home after their late-late-show against Johnsonville, and will be anticipating a slightly easier time of it with Avalon the visitors to Lyndhurst. It’s been a bruising season so far for the Wolves who might have their eyes on their matches against Wellington and Norths in search of victories, but while they might have been overmatched they have showed what they can do in patches. Despite beating Johnsonville, Tawa sit outside of the eight and would certainly be targeting this for five valuable competition points.

The home side will have the services of Siale Lauaki tomorrow, and he bookends the front row with the veteran Tolu Fahamokoia. Randall Bishop gets a now-rare start at fullback with young gun Jacob Denyer taking a seat on the bench this week. Avalon have player-coach Thomas Kiwara at halfback and Jordan Aquila back at first-five as part of a handful of changes as they look to kick-start their season.

Lastly, and in complete contrast to other weeks, there’s just one game in the Hutt Valley. After last week’s unsuccessful foray away from the Rec, it’s back home for Hutt Old Boys Marist for the local derby against Wainuiomata. The Eagles will have to expect that OBU will bag the full five points and they’ll be under pressure to do so here themselves, but the visitors sit on the edge of the top eight and will be looking to move inside that.

HOBM retains the bulk of the team from that loss to Pare-Plim. Freddie Sunia comes onto the openside with Jordan Gillies dropping to No8, while in the backs Fritz Rayasi starts and Jordan-Glen Bradbrook returns. Wainuiomata bring back hooker Kade Tiatia and Campbell Cowie moves back to fullback, but are otherwise largely unchanged. Imposing winger Niko Patelesio will look to add to his try-haul for the season so far.

Four matches have interclub silverware in play tomorrow:

  • OBU and Poneke play for their Beet Algar Rosebowl. One of the titans of the pre- and post-WWI era of Wellington, Beethoven Algar was named after the composer because of his family’s love of music. A six-game All Black, Algar’s contribution to Poneke spanned more than 60 years, and was the club’s patron at the time of his passing in 1978. OBU won this 37-27 last season.
  • Ories and Norths contest their To’omaga Alex Iona Memorial Cup. Alex played for Ories on his arrival from Samoa, before a move north saw him turn out for pre-merger Porirua. Later taking on a variety of roles with Norths and the Wellington Samoan union, the trophy was donated following his passing. His son Henry is the current Norths Premier manager. Ories are the holders after their 53-13 win a year ago.
  • The Bill Francis/Jack Taylor Trophy played for by Wellington and Petone is a newer addition to the interclub trophy stable. First played for in 2017, it honours two All Blacks from the Axemen’s long and illustrious past. Petone hold it from their 74-5 win last season. The two clubs also have their Air New Zealand Cup which is played for across all matches between the two clubs across the season with all four grades they’re both in being played tomorrow.
  • Lastly, the Kerry Williams Cup between Johnsonville and Upper Hutt gets played for the second time. Kerry played for Upper Hutt and was the Rugby Development Officer at Johnsonville after he finished playing. His sons Nathan and Jamie are both accomplished club coaches; Nathan was the merger Rams first Premier coach and was behind their national title-winning sevens side, and coached Feilding Yellows to the Manawatu title while Jamie has helmed OBU and taken them to Jubilee Cup glory. Johnsonville won the inaugural playing last year in a 41-39 cliffhanger.

All seven matches get underway at 2.45pm

Women’s Tia Paasi Memorial and Izzy Ford Cups

With the first-round concluded, the Women’s grade splits in two for the short, sharp, run to their finals in little over a month’s time.

The Championship Tia Paasi Memorial starts with Rebecca Liua’ana winners Petone at home on the Rec against Norths, with Wainuiomata making the trek to the Polo Ground to face Oriental Rongotai.

Ories had named their team by publication of this preview, and this sees Ayesha Leti-L’iga returning from long term injury via the bench. Other players named in their line-up include Joanah Ngan-Woo at openside flanker, Fa’asua Makisi at centre. Former Black Fern out of Otago, Victoria Subritsky-Nafatoli starts at first-five for the first time.

With just three teams in the Izzy Ford section there’s just one game tomorrow with Avalon hosting Paremata-Plimmerton in a reverse of last week’s fixture, and the Poneke-OBU side has the bye.

All three matches are at 11.30am.

Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield

Like their Premiers, OBU holds a whole game lead at the head of the table but will find themselves tested at home at Nairnville Park by a Poneke side that moved into fifth with a rampant outing against Norths last Saturday. HOBM and Petone head the chasers with the Eagles at home against Wainuiomata, with Petone on the road to Kilbirnie Park #3 and a meeting with Wellington (12.30pm). Fourth-placed, three-time champs Tawa are at home at Redwood (at 12.30pm) against bottom-side Avalon and will be warm favourites there. In the remaining matches Pare-Plim will look to keep pace with those ahead when they face MSP on Kilbirnie #2, Ories hosts a battered Norths at Polo, and Johnsonville and the Upper Hutt Rams will be found at Helston Park.

All matches are at 1pm unless noted

Colts Paris Memorial

HOBM have the biggest lead of anyone in any grade so far, and they will be at very short odds to beat second-bottom Wainuiomata at the Hutt Rec though the visitors are coming off their first win of the year. MSP leads the pack behind, and they are at home at Evans Bay against Pare-Plim with Petone up at Hataitai against Wellington. Upper Hutt will look to return to winning ways when they visit Newlands Park and bottom side Johnsonville (12.30pm). The Polo Ground has the clash of fifth and sixth with Norths visiting Ories, and seventh and eighth are in the Ian Galloway cage (at 12.30) with OBU facing Poneke. The seventh match of the day sees Tawa welcome Avalon to Lyndhurst.

All matches are timed for 1pm starts, unless stated otherwise

Under 85kg JC Bowl

After having an unscheduled weekend off last Saturday, the Tawa Ducks should be back in action when they host Avalon, who pushed OBU, at Redwood Park. The OBU Scallywags voyage takes them to Prince of Wales Park for a meeting with Eastbourne, with Poneke drawn to face Johnsonville at home on Kilbirnie Park, and at the same venue winless MSP will look to break their duck against Pare-Plim with all these matches at 2.45pm. There’s a rare morning start at 11.30am at Hataitai Park for Wellington and Petone who get the Axemen’s Old Timers Day underway, with HOBM having the bye this round.


The Premiership is already underway, with Wellington College beating St Pat’s Town 43-10 in their Traditional clash on Wednesday. The remaining four matches to complete the opening round sees Paraparaumu make their debut at this level in possibly the toughest way possible away against Scots, Silverstream head over the Remutaka’s to face Wairarapa College (1pm) albeit in Martinborough with WaiCol’s field out of action, St Bernard’s host Hutt International in a valley derby, and Rongotai is at home against Tawa. All matches are at 2.30pm unless mentioned

The first round in Premier 2 has 1pm starts for Bishop Viard at home to Taita, Rongotai’s 2nds against Naenae, and the Silverstream 2nds against Aotea. At 2.30pm are Porirua at home against the Wellington College 2nds, and Hutt Valley High hosts the St Pats Town 2nds who are in this grade despite losing to Onslow last Saturday with the latter opting to play in Premier 3.


All eyes tomorrow in the Manawatu will on events at Bill Brown Park, as leaders Kia Toa welcome fellow unbeaten side College Old Boys to decide the winner of this part of the season. Kia Toa easily accounted for Feilding Yellows last weekend while COB got home by just a point against Te Kawau. The remaining matches see Te Kawau at the university to take on Massey, Yellows are at home against Freyberg, and Old Boys Marist heads to the Army Camp to face Linton. Strugglers Feilding Old Boys-Oroua get a much-needed week off.

Runaway Horowhenua-Kapiti leaders Rahui hit the road tomorrow, heading south to face second-bottom Paraparaumu. Levin College Old Boys do the same as they visit Waikanae, with Wanderers having the Levin Domain this week to face Shannon. Foxton have the bye.

And lastly, Wairarapa-Bush start the championship Moose Kapene Cup part of their season tomorrow with the draw the reverse of the first round. The highlight clash is in Carterton where the defending champion home side takes on first round winners Martinborough. Up the road Greytown are at home against Red Star, there’s a Masterton derby with Pioneer hosting Marist, and Eketahuna head out to Whareama to face East Coast.

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