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Sideline Conversions 10 June (some rugby news and information from the ground up)

The sideline scene at Paremata-Plimmerton on perhaps the best afternoon of the season. Plenty of rain about this week, so here’s hoping for another fine/dry afternoon this coming Saturday for the next round of club and college matches. 

Monday morning edition – updates expected. Welcome to the start of week 11, where you are in rugby heaven.

Midweek First XV rugby is in full swing, with some options this Wednesday for the community rugby supporter.

St Pat’s Town host St John’s, Hastings, at 12.00pm at Evans Bay Park. Taita College and Hato Paora College meet at Taita at 1.00pm, Wairarapa College and Tawa College clash at 11.30am in Masterton (a round 4 Premiership game – TBC) and the then the top billing of the week which is St Pat’s Silverstream and Wellington College meeting at Silverstream at 1.30pm in their traditional and fourth round fixture.

We have been told by a couple of people that a Wellington Lions XV is playing a Manawatu XV this Wednesday in an early representative season/trial match. So we will be looking out for details of that game soon as well. Update, this match is at 7.00pm on Wednesday evening at Massey University. 

In club rugby this coming weekend, the top attraction will be the annual McBain Shield match between Petone and Hutt Old Boys University.

Club rugby matches this weekend at a glance (Premier 2 and Colts games the same teams, plus likely musical kick-off chairs going on again owing to the Hurricanes):

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

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Now on to the elephant in the room. A breathless tweet from Wellington’s pre-eminent sports broadcaster Jason Pine on Saturday night that was more bemusing than anything else:

This was confirmed in a Hurricanes media release on Sunday morning. Why this timeslot again, and not in the evening?

There can be no doubt now – they are actively going into bat against community rugby (and local sport, Jason Pine will know there’s Chatham Cup football on Saturday afternoon too and some people do go and watch to both)? With some recent correspondence we have received saying that instead of replays on the big screen of key moments that have just happened on the field they have cut to kissing contests and ‘Simba’ moments (think this is raising your child up on your shoulders?). So the answer could be there – they are not interested in an actual rugby crowd anymore, it’s all entertainment.

And why not take the semi-final to Palmerston North or Napier? That’s a bit extreme for them for a top 4 match, but taking this past Saturday’s quarter-final elsewhere around the Hurricanes region could have been a good idea.

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It doesn’t happen often these days, but Tawa’s ageless Peniasi Tokekece wasn’t the oldest man on the field yesterday in their Premier 2 win over Wainuiomata, with that falling to referee and Club Rugby contributor Scott MacLean
But it got us thinking. Who is the oldest player still going regularly in the Men’s Premier competition? Our first guesses were Wainuiomata’s Teru Time – rapidly closing in on 200 Premier appearances – and Norths’ pocket battleship Liki Siliga, but is there someone else out there?

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The article above says that Keith Milligan also played 173 games for Paraparaumu and played a season at Avalon…so approaching 400 games in total?

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A big shift for former Paremata-Plimmerton captain James ‘Smokey’ Corcoran, who played 80 minutes for the Premier 2s and then ran on and played another 30 for the Premiers in the main game that followed. He used to play for the opposition, Old Boys University, in a former rugby life too.

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Could Antonio Prim be looked at for the Wellington Lions. The Portuguese international prop is only 21 and has the size, mobility and scrum power to be a compelling option perhaps.

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Covering tackle of the week. OBU’s Ty Poe made a clean break towards the tryline from an intercept near halfway. Surely he was in? But a great chase and tackle here by Paremata-Plimmerton fullback Esi Komaisavai saved the day on the line.

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A bustling match on Saturday from Upper Hutt Rams left wing Ieti Campbell. He missed the start of his club rugby career as he was recovering from that injury that kept him out of the tail-end of last season in school and age grade representative rugby. Will be interesting to see if and when he moves into the midfield where he captained Scots College from. His former Scots teammate Harry Irving has slipped into OBU’s Premier set-up like a glove.

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An eye-catching 44-7 win by St Pat’s Town on Saturday over Scots College in the First XV Premiership.

Scots College has lost consecutive Premiership matches for the first time since 2018 falling victim to a staggering 44-7 thrashing by St Pats Town.

Scots’ defeat is their largest in the Premiership since they were whitewashed 43-0 in a Strathmore storm by St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in 2013.

There was little indication a result like this was coming. Town was beaten midweek 33-21 by St Bede’s College and had been underwhelming in two previous Premiership outings.

Scots lost a nailbiter to Wellington College last Saturday after an easy start.

Town isn’t lacking in size but maturity and fitness have been a concern. Blending power, patience and flair, Town suddenly clicked and made a mockery of their previous struggles. Town led 25-7 at halftime and applied a cherry on top when second-five Dante Ford-Tuveve scored a try with the last play of the match.

The Town forward effort was ferocious and precise, reflected on the scoreboard with tries to prop Steven Nunn lock Riley Bracewell and replacement Elias Semu-Visesio. Both wingers Zack Kimmins and William Stenhouse saw space and dotted down. Halfback Max Reynolds was authoritative and added a dozen points from the boot.

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Congratulations to Maria Apera-Jones for playing her 100th match on Saturday. Photo: Andy McArthur.

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Reports of a big game on Saturday for Petone Ponies first five Kiera Sua-Smith. It will be interesting to see who wears the number 10 jersey for the Wellington Pride this year. Arene Landon-Lane recently returned from injury for Northern United, but was given another week off last week owing to her side being defaulted to by Wainuiomata. Former Otago Black Fern Victoria Subritzy-Nafatoli played one match for Ories recently.

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It was a tight Swindale Shield game on Saturday at Kilbirnie Park –  until the closing several minutes when Ories pulled away. Big games from Sione Halalilo – in his 50th Premier game for Ories –  and Dom Ropeti, individually and in their value in helping their team.

Ories Colts had David Leota-Johnson playing at No. 8 in their game. A player to watch for the future, scoring three tries and kicking a sideline conversion. In 10 games this year he has scored 27 tries and kicked 25 conversions for 185 points. The former St Pat’s Town old boy has come across to Ories from MSP this year. He was a golden gloves age grade boxing champion a couple of years back too.

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Congratulations to Laina Semu for playing her 50th game for the Ories Women’s team on Saturday.

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Congratulations to Poneke loose forward DJ Taoipu for reaching 50th starts for his Premier side on Saturday.

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The Wellington Axemen conceded 50 points or more in a game 26 times in their losing streak of 43 matches which ended on Saturday, beating Avalon 19-13.

Wellington’s Ben Tuiatua scored a double for the first time in his senior club career in the Axemen’s win.

Avalon are now winless in 18 successive matches though they did have a 26-26 draw with Wainuiomata last year.

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Hastings Boys’ High School made it two from two in Super 8 with an impressive 23-14 at Palmerston North Boys High School. Palmerston North opened their account in the 46th minute after Hastings had scored 23 unanswered points. Fullback Walter Kava scored two tries for Hastings who play Napier BHS on Saturday in a game that might provide a clue as to who is the best school in the Hurricanes region.

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HOBM Colts skipper, Max Fata-Meafou displaying a wristband bearing the name of Joe Hemopo (inset). Joe was his Dad’s good friend, and long-serving battler in the Premier 2 grade, then Presidents, Joe Hemopo, who died earlier in the week of pancreatic cancer, at age 52. His funeral was in the HOBM clubrooms on Friday. Photo by Warwick Burke.

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Old Boys University not only ended Paremata-Plimmerton’s Swindale Shield title defence hopes on Saturday, they ended a 14-match unbeaten streak at homE at the Shark Tank.

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Media release last week: New Zealand Rugby Commercial (NZRC) has announced that the Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby programmes will air on NZR+, You Tube, Sky Sport and TVNZ from late June.

The Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby programmes are amongst the longest-running rugby shows on New Zealand television, celebrating the best of Kiwi grassroots community and provincial rugby – the “Country Calendar of rugby”.

Heartland Rugby (currently known as Mainfreight Rugby) started in 1999 and covers the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship. Grassroots Club Rugby started airing in 2002, covering club and school rugby, showcasing local talent and their communities across Aotearoa.

The shows will return in a fresh format with All Blacks legend Ian Jones returning as a presenter, and plans to continue evolving them across new formats for social as well as traditional channels.

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Here’s something that we seem to get every game at the moment, from Colts to Premier level, from windy conditions to calm: kicking the ball out on the full from re-starts. This leads to a scrum on halfway by the team that has just scored a try and invariably they either score again for a ’14-point’ try (well sort of) or they swing back hard on attack and the team is under the pump again.

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Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada has named his 39-man training squad ahead of the upcoming internationals against Samoa, Japan and Tonga.

The squad includes eight uncapped players, one of whom is former England U20s back Matt Gallagher, who is set to join Benetton ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The versatile Bath star qualifies for Italy through his mother’s family and is also eligible for England, Ireland and New Zealand – the last of which through his father, John Gallagher, who won the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

Son of ex-All Black and former England youth stars earns Italy call-up along with inspirational U20s captain

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Club Rugby Photos website.

Visit and bookmark this here: https://clubrugby.smugmug.com/2024

Not all our galleries from contributors – all volunteers – go up on our social media pages and not all people are on social media, so always check that page for new galleries. Archives going back over 15 years too, so sort of like the ‘Hall of Records’ page as well!

We’ve also got well over 500 short video clips of players going back several seasons now – mostly try scoring clips – so in due course we will be putting these up on the website above too.

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2 thoughts on “Sideline Conversions 10 June (some rugby news and information from the ground up)

  1. Love your blog about all things rugby, you do a brilliant job since our local paper turned their on us . One thing though , no mention of Brandyen Laureson , HOBM, passing 100 points for the season

  2. Is there ANY chance that Wellington Rugby might be realistic for a couple of weeks and accommodate those of us who go to watch club rugby every week but really find ourselves compromised while trying to watch our club team play and then face an impossible challenge to get along to watch the Canes??
    I understand the importance of filling the club bar tills but if the Canes are filling the Stadium that will really assist the financial issues of Wellington rugby and therefore assist the clubs!

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