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Sideline Conversions 3 June (some rugby news from the ground up to start the week)

Monday morning edition – updates expected: Two First XV matches coming up this week. On Tuesday, St Pat’s Town host Christchurch’s St Bede’s at 1.00pm at Evans Bay Park. On Wednesday, Rongotai College host Wellington College in their midweek Traditional at 1.40pm.


A ‘settling’ round in the Swindale Shield this past weekend as far as the points table is concerned.

Leaders Old Boys University have a 6-point lead at the top of the table, so they could drop this coming Saturday’s contest at Ngati Toa Domain against Paremata-Plimmerton and still be in front. Following this game, OBU have Ories and Marist St Pat’s away and Norths at home – so its far from over.

It’s tight below OBU, but there is a four-point gap between eighth placed Tawa on 27 and ninth equal Johnsonville and Wainuiomata on 23, so the ‘top 8’ could be starting to sort itself out. But with four weeks to play in a competitive first round, its too early to make that call!

The Johnsonville Premiers have lost three thrillers in a row, but they are still in the mix having earned 11 bonus points, OBU with the next most with 9.

Matches this coming round at a glance (home teams first, same draw for Premier 2 and for Colts):

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


The Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield is tight at the top. The leading six teams are: OBU (40 points), Petone (38), Tawa (37), HOBM (36), Poneke (35) and Paremata-Plimmerton (32).


Here we go again. Once again, the actual rugby community misses out on the Hurricanes this coming Saturday, who kick off at the “unattractive” time of 4.35pm.

Again, it is expected that club rugby matches will be brought forward to earlier kick-off times of 11.00am (women’s), 12.30pm (early men’s games) and 2.15pm (later men’s games) to accommodate. But will it make a difference? Unsure about any changes to college rugby kick-off times, they were unaffected this past Saturday. It’s also back to a full round of club rugby grades this coming weekend so the union will likely look to usher through some of these pesky  lower grade games for them on Friday night to the clear the decks. But do these players want to be playing on Friday night just to accommodate a professional game the next day?

The Hurricanes play the Rebels of all teams, who will only be here for a junket and a last hurrah before its over and out for them –  permanently. They should play this match at Cooks Gardens, Whanganui or in Napier or Palmerston North. We thought the Hurricanes were a regional team, so why always Wellington? Also, wouldn’t the top qualifier have the right to choose which timeslot they wanted to play this game in, not something that was locked in weeks ago?


Eli Hunt in his 150th ‘first team’ game leads the Upper Hutt Rams out on to the field in their match on Saturday against the HOBM Eagles. The Rams won 23-21. Footage: Peter McDonald.


It’s Old Timers’ Day for Pōneke this coming Saturday, with the  Dogs of War under 85kg team holding a reunion. They are playing a game and have a real focus on men’s health and there will be free health checks  in the clubrooms.


A club rugby return for Tom Maiava on Saturday – against his former club. Maiava played 59 Premier matches for Tawa between 2018-20 but returned to line up for the Ories Premier 2 team and bench for the Premiers. His younger brother Johnny started in Ories’ midfield in the Premeir game.


Two fast starts at Upper Hutt and in Porirua in Premier games on Saturday. Both matches kicked off at 2.15pm and by 2.16pm the first tries had been scored. At Maidstone, HOBM wing Kobe Joe-Vulu scored from the opening exchanges and at Porirua, Wainuiomata wing Raymond Va’a did likewise.


Belgium Tuatagaloa – 10 tries in his last four Premier games. There is now a three-way tie at the top of the 2024 top try scorers’ leaderboard, with Petone’s Tuatagaloa, OBU’s Elijah Maene-Lokeni and Wainuiomata’s Niko Paletesio all on 12 tries.

In the women’s competition, Petone’s Tia Brown scored again and has also has scored 12 tries, the most in that grade so far.


A debut in Super Rugby off the bench for Ivan Fepuleai in Super Rugby on Saturday for Moana Pasifika on Friday night.

Reports of annother top match on Saturday for MSP openside flanker and captain Milan Kriletich. The Huddy Hui has booked him for their show soon, so look out for that.


There must be something in the water with Tawa locks. Lipa Saveatama had a great game on Saturday for the Premiers, and with Hugo Plummer possibly set for a return from the Highlanders soon, they will be boosted further. Their Premier Reserves side was captained for a while up to this season by lock Brad Forster, while another lock that stood out for us in that team on Saturday was Josh Flint. Meanwhile, Chris Middleton went off injured during the first half, so let’s hope the veteran is back soon as the competition needs these sort of players.


A 43-31 win for the New Zealand Universities team over Japan U20 last week in Christchurch:


Wellington College with the winning try in their 21-17 win over Scots College on Saturday:


The  Rugby News Magazine – out now with Ruben Love on the cover.


A successful 125th anniversary weekend for the Shannon Rugby Football Club – with lots of action on the Shannon Domain and inside the clubrooms all weekend.


Wellington U16s Willment Week trial at the NZCIS yesterday – looking forward to another represenative season and Hurricanes U16s tournament later this year featuring two Wellington teams.

Centre Dan Schrijvers scores the first try of the day on Saturday for the UH Rams in their 23-21 win over the HOBM Eagles. Footage: Peter McDonald.


Rex Kerr lives in a cosy villa in a Paraparaumu retirement village with his wife Elizabeth but Ōtaki is never far from their thoughts.

They lived in the township for 47 years before moving south recently.

“We still look upon Ōtaki as home although we live here, and that’s not denigrating this place at all, but that’s where we put our soul into while we lived there.”

Kerr was Ōtaki College principal for 21 years, coached many college rugby teams, and authored five books to celebrate the township.

His love of rugby led him to roles with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rugby Union, Hurricanes Youth Council, Rāhui Football and Sports Association, and Horowhenua-Kāpiti Rugby Football Union.

Now, Kerr has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community and rugby in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Read more HERE 


Sevens Chat

The Olympic Games Sevens appear wide open after Australia (women) and France (men) won the SVNS Grand Final tournament in Madrid.

The Blacks Ferns Sevens appeared final-bound against Australia when leading the semifinal 19-7 with a minute remaining. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe had turned into a pinball wizard blasting aside three defenders and dashing clear with pukana eyes ablaze. Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Caslick has seen it all before and a weaving run followed by deft hands put Faith Nathan over in the corner for her second try. Tia Hinds nailed a sideline conversion as the full-time serin wailed in the background, 19-14. There was time for the restart. Australia went sideways, backward, and forwards. There was a juggle of the oval and bounce passes collected.  The tenacious Sariah Paki made an incisive charge to within 30m of the line. A quick recycle saw Caslick with space on the left. New Zealand covered her run but couldn’t prevent the offload to Maddison Levi who tied the scores. Hinds conversion was flawless. Earlier in the tournament the Black Ferns Sevens lost to Canada for the first time in 28 matches. Australia beat France 26-7 in the final with Levi scoring a hattrick. Levi ended the season with a record 69 tries.

France won the men’s tournament defeating Argentina, who they lost to on the first day, 19-5 in the final. France has won two tournaments this season having gone 19 years winless. With a settled, tenacious, and speedy roster, including the addition of superstar Antoine Dupont, France is a major threat hosting the Olympics.

On the subject of the Olympics, double gold-medallist Jerry Tuwai is back for Fiji. His guile and experience helped consign the All Blacks Sevens to fourth in the consolation playoff.

Farcically South Africa was reduced to four players by halftime against New Zealand in a group match but staggeringly took a 15-14 lead upon the resumption when Selvyn Davis chased down a surprise kick. New Zealand eventually regrouped to win 33-24. Leroy Carter scored two tries, his last from a massive forward pass. Hopefully, the officiating is better in Paris.


Teams to win Super Rugby From finishing first in the round-robin

  • 1997: Blues
  • 2001: Brumbies
  • 2002: Crusaders
  • 2003: Blues
  • 2004: Brumbies
  • 2005: Crusaders
  • 2006: Crusaders
  • 2008: Crusaders
  • 2009: Bulls
  • 2010: Bulls
  • 2011: Reds
  • 2013: Chiefs
  • 2014: Warathas
  • 2016: Hurricanes
  • 2018: Crusaders
  • 2019: Crusaders

*Only counts competitions with an international presence. Not the internal Covid competitions.


Quadrangular Tournament watch

Nelson College underscored its credentials as one of the leading South Island First XV’s by extracting the Trustbank Cup from Marlborough Boys’ College 50-0 in Blenheim on Thursday.

Remarkably there was no scoring for 20 minutes, and then the Nelson juggernaut roared to life. Kobe Brownlee (2), Oliver Kirk, Samuela Takapau, Connor Hume, Mikey Morrison, Hamueria Topia- Pene and Harrison Inch all scored tries with Inch adding five conversions.

Nelson last held the Trustbank Cup in 2022 and they also retain the Whangamoa Trophy for fixtures against Marlborough. The Whangamoa Trophy was first presented by the late John Goodman. John played a significant role in rugby over two decades at Nelson College. His son is former Tasman and Crusaders player and coach Andrew Goodman. The Whangamoa Saddle is a pass traversed by State Highway 6 on its route between Blenheim and Nelson, immediately to the east of Hira.

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