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McBain Shield top billing in clutch Swindale Shield eleventh round

Big games tomorrow for both Poneke and Oriental-Rongotai, with the former away to play Johnsonville and the latter at home at the Polo Ground hosting Swindale Shield frontrunners Old Boys University. Photo: Andy McArthur. 

  • By Scott MacLean and Steven White

The annual McBain Shield (since 1934) between Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marist is the leading rugby match in Wellington tomorrow, on a day of big matches in the Premier Swindale Shield and club and college grades.

For the third week, all club matches go half an hour earlier tomorrow, while college games also start earlier, for reasons canvassed elsewhere.

The McBain is one of several interclub trophies, including an all-new Galu Taufale Shield between Johnsonville and Poneke.

This weeks’ radio  game is the McBain Shield fixture from the Petone Recreation Ground, on 1161AM or by tuning into teupoko.co.nz and listening live over the internet.

Draws & Teamlists (as received): http://www.clubrugby.co.nz/wellington/games-results.php?competition=1&season=21&round=11

Premier Swindale Shield

Three weeks to go. As we do at this stage each year, we take a look at what each team has left.

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Old Boys-University
1st on 46 points
To play: Ories (A), MSP (A), Norths (H)

It might get a few people inside the Goats camp a bit edgy, but the Swindale Shield is theirs to lose after putting Pare-Plim away last Saturday. They do face a pair of tricky ventures into the eastern suburbs in the next two rounds and if they win each of those, they could have the title all wrapped up by the time they face Norths. Their lead is such that they could drop one of those next two and still be ahead, but that’s something they’d likely not want to think about.

Their side for tomorrow’s venture to the Polo Ground is mostly settled, with the spine of Dougal Perrers at No. 8 and halves Kyle Preston and Callum Harkin fresh of Wednesday nights representative match against Manawatu and in good form. First year Wellington College lock Finn O’Sullivan comes in for Jack Riley in one notable change, while Jarel Laurence-Lim starts at tighthead and Gareth Ward-Allen switches over to the loosehead side of the Goats’ scrum. Elijah Maene-Lokeni starts on the right wing for Ty Poe who had a storming game last Saturday against Paremata-Plimmerton.

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Petone
2nd on 40 points
To play: HOBM (H), Pare-Plim (H), Poneke (A)

Hutt Old Boys Marist
3rd on 37 points
To play: Petone (A), Poneke (H), Ories (A)

We’re putting these two together for two reasons: their positions on the table, and the immediate issue of their McBain Shield clash. The winner tomorrow would – bragging rights aside – stay on course to host one of those top-four matches in the first week of the playoffs and stay within striking distance of OBU should they slip up, while the loser could be dragged into a real fight just to make the top-four.

Beyond that, each still have Poneke to play and one of those sides near to them, with Petone at home against Pare-Plim next week and HOBM heading to Polo in the final round.

Petone lose Stanley Solomon to the NZ U20s, while yesterday’s Club Rugby website interviewee Belgium Tuatagaloa is also missing from tomorrow’s line-up (AKA the curse of Club Rugby). 100-gamer Logan Henry starts at first five and Losi Filipo and Villiami Fine join up in the midfield. Look out for Connor Tuifao at No. 8, while Isikeli Fukofuka for Kafaongo Katoa is one change for Petone’s forwards from last week, at loosehead prop.

Visitors the Eagles will be led out by loosehead prop Brett Manaia, part of a bustling front row including tighthead Vili Tauofaga and all-action hooker Harry Press. Aisea Mafileo comes into the pack at lock in one other change. Sapati Tagoai on the left wing for Nathan Tunuvasa is their one change to the starting backline. The Eagles bring experience on the bench, with players such as Filo Paulo, Nash Fiso, Fereti Soloa and Anthony Utanga all riding the pine and offering plenty of experience late in the game.

The Hutt team in 1934 that won the first McBain Shield.

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Oriental Rongotai
4th on 36 points
To play: OBU (H), Wellington (A), HOBM (H)

The drawmaster seems to have been very kind to Ories; including last week’s match at Kilbirnie Park, they don’t even have to travel through the Mt Victoria tunnel in the last four rounds. The Jubilee Cup holders can make a real statement when they host the leaders at Polo and have HOBM visiting in the final round with only the short trip to Hataitai and the Axemen in between. It’s that match that probably makes them secure in the top eight, and we all know the run they went on last year.

Rumours of Ardie Savea playing for Ories tomorrow haven’t come to fruition, but the Mapgies have plenty of game breakers to match the Goats. Dominic Ropeti moves to No. 8 and Sione Halalilo to blindside, with Sammy Seau making up the loose trio at openside. No Peniali Poasa at hooker though, with Connor Lemon assuming the rake’s duties. Another notable change is the inclusion of Chicago Doyle on the left wing in place of Herman Seumanufagai.

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Upper Hutt Rams
5th on 35 points
To play: Wainuiomata (H), Tawa (A), Avalon (H)

With four wins on the trot, the Rams have quietly climbed the table and their win over HOBM two weekends ago gave them a bit of breathing space. Their remaining games are all against teams below them at present, but Wainuiomata will be desperate to bridge the gap to the top-eight, and Tawa are rounding into ominous form for the business end of the season. They would certainly not want their last round match against Avalon to be a must-win.

For the Rams, Tynan Barrett runs out to play his 100th Premier match tomorrow. Barrett lines up on the right wing in place of Scott Svenson. Kaide McCashin returns to halfback and Potene Rolls-Pawwai is at 10. In another change to their backline, Dan Schrijvers returns to centre and Josh Hunt drops back to the bench. No Aidan Woodward or Sio Fidow from last week’s forward pack, but Gelu Lafaele and Pene To’o come in to fill their spots.

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Paremata-Plimmerton
6th on 33 points
To play: Wellington (H), Petone (A), Wainuiomata (A)

Saturday’s home shellacking by OBU was the coup de grace for the Hammerheads retaining the Swindale Shield and their focus surely now turns to climbing back into the top four. They’ll face a buoyant Axemen side in their final home match before two trips to the Hutt to finish where they could still need points just to make the eight pending other results. It’s possible that last round match at William Jones could be a scrap to just have a crack at the Jubilee Cup.

The Hammerheads make three changes to the pack that missed out to OBU, with Nu’u Taulalo replacing Werdna Maligi in the front row, James Corcoran into lock for Te Whero Werahiko at lock and Zeke Fiso moving to blindside for Alex Hinchliffe and Junior Davey starting at lock. Fewer changes to the backs, but Zane Edwards starts at halfback for Jake Tibbits and Matt Goosen at centre for Ethan Webster-Nonu.

There are four former Axemen in their starting line-up: James and Tony Coburn, Dale Sabbagh and Goosen.

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Tawa
7th on 32 points
To play: Norths (A), Upper Hutt (H), Wellington (A)

Like the Rams, Tawa have won four straight and shape as the side no one wants to face in the playoffs. Their remaining road trips are to teams already out of the Jubilee picture and probably hold little fear for the Lyndhurst side, while their home tilt against the Rams next week could be pivotal to their chances of making that top four. They’ll like their odds of getting up to 47 points.

Tawa have selected what appears to be an unchanged forward pack from that which beat Wainuiomata by a point last Saturday, but there are some backline changes. These start at halfback with no Kemara Hauiti-Parapara. Tristan So’oialo starts at halfback and Solomon Uelese starts at first five. Sene Nofoaiga moves from second five to the wing and Kalim Kelenete returns to 12 who partners Connor Sharrock who returns to centre in place of Samanoa Euta.

Marist St Pat’s
8th on 31 points
To play: Avalon (A), OBU (H), Johnsonville (A)

It seems a long time since MSP burst out of the blocks and won their first four matches. Things have turned fallow since with just two wins in their last six, but they do have a six-point buffer to Wainuiomata behind and take on winless Avalon tomorrow. It’s the two following games that will really concern them, hosting OBU and then a trip to Helston in what could be a winner-takes-all in terms of making the eight against their bogey team of recent times.

For MSP, Grayson Whitman returns to the side to play second five, while Colts halfback Joe Aston starts in place of a suspended Sam Connor who was shown red last week. Lock Fionn Gilbert, from Clontarf in Dublin is on debut, while Josh Too’maga returns to the starting line-up at blindside flanker.

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Wainuiomata
9th on 25 points
To play: Upper Hutt (A), Johnsonville (A), Pare-Plim (H)

While they would have been gutted to not beat Tawa last Saturday, the last gasp try that saw them take two competition points might prove crucial. But they will need to win at least two, if not all three, of their remaining games for that to really count. All three matches are difficult, and they could be eliminated as early as tomorrow if they don’t beat the Rams at Maidstone.

Wainuiomata have named a settled line-up from the one that was pipped by Tawa, with an unchanged forward pack and Renata Kotuhi coming back on to the right wing with Saita Tuaoi riding the bench. Teru Time starts at blindside in his 199th Premier match.

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Johnsonville
10th on 24 points
To play: Poneke (H), Wainuiomata (H), MSP (H)

What a season it’s been for the Hawks; a few moments change and they’re probably on 34 points and not 24. But they have all three remaining matches at home at Helston and all against sides immediately around them. They’re basically playing finals rugby from now and could either fly home into the eight or be out early.

Johnsonville have been in touch and their teamlist will be delayed today – we will add it in when received.

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For the Hawks’ opposition tomorrow, Poneke (21), it’s a very simple equation. They must win with a bonus point and hope that MSP earn less than maximum points OR one of Upper Hutt, Tawa, and Pare-Plim lose. If that doesn’t happen, they’re eliminated from contention but if it does, they’re alive for another week though those matches to come are against HOBM and Petone.

Poneke have made a handful of changes from last week for tomorrow’s game. Just one in the forwards, with Vaa Taoipu starting at openside flanker for Jacob Turrell, but in the backs Isaac Moe Jenkins moves to centre, Dominic Ririnui-Sipa swaps to the right wing and Tauvaga Siolo makes his debut on the left wing. On the bench, Mosese Lea’aepulu makes his debut.

For Norths, Wellington, and Avalon it’s about pride and getting some momentum for the Hardham Cup matches to come.

Norths welcome back Waylon Baker to lock, for the first time this year in a boost to their pack. School leaver Jayde Burns also returns to halfback, and Jermaine Avei-Collins plays his second consecutive match at centre. Olano Afutoto moves to openside flanker for NZ U20s player Jeremiah Avei-Collins.

The Axemen have rotated several players through their squad, but it is mostly the same players in their 22 that tasted victory last weekend that will appear from the visiting sheds out on to Ngati Toa Domain at 2.15pm tomorrow.

Avalon’s team to play MSP tomorrow features a handful of changes to their forwards from that which lost to Wellington last Saturday. These include Koli Bower for Pablo Ferraira at hooker, with Pablo moving across to prop for Jacob Faifai, Lance Tago for Mark Savelio at lock and JJ Puna at blindside for Sifa Tupou.

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There’s now fewer than five interclub trophies are in play tomorrow:

  • The oldest and most famous interclub trophy in Wellington is the McBain Shield that Petone and HOBM contest. Donated by Hec McBain in 1934 in memory of his father Alexander – a loyal member, President, and Life Member of the original Hutt club who also served as Vice-President of the WRFU – it is perhaps more important to some than the Jubilee Cup. Petone retained it last year winning 51-32 across the river, while the match two years ago provided perhaps the greatest finish in its 90-year history.
  • Norths and Tawa contest their Sammy Saili Memorial Trophy. Donated following his sudden passing in 2009, Saili played over 200 Premier matches across the two clubs and was heavily involved in coaching juniors at Tawa and across at the college. His influence extended beyond rugby, as an influential member of his church and the Porirua Samoan community. Tawa are the holders from their 39-15 win in last year’s final round.
  • Upper Hutt and Wainuiomata play for their Peter Jones/Dave Ritchie Cup. The pair were workmates at St Pats Silverstream with both managing their respective clubs – Jones for Wainuiomata and Ritchie for Upper Hutt – Premier sides for many years. Upper Hutt won this contest 41-14 last season
  • Avalon and MSP play for the Joe Aspell Cup. Aspell played for Marist and was later the club President and Life Member. The link to Avalon comes through his business work as a publican and was donated for play against the Taita club when he was the licensee of the Taita Hotel, one of many he ran across Wellington. It’s held by MSP from their 41-17 in last year’s opening round.
  • And lastly, a new trophy will be inaugurated tomorrow with Johnsonville and Poneke contest the Galu Taufale Shield for the first time. An only recently retired legend of Wellington Samoan rugby and a full provincial representative, Taufale started out his senior career with his local Hawks and ended it with Poneke, with four years at Wests in between. Our records list him with 207 Premier appearances, but the actual total is believed to be closer to 250.

All matches are at the earlier time of 2.15pm this week.

A reminder that in the event two teams are tied at the top on points at the conclusion of the Swindale Shield, then the title will be shared. The tiebreaker rules only come into play to determine seedings for the playoffs and apply for all other WRFU grades.

Women’s Tia Paasi Memorial and Izzy Ford Cups

The Women are the first grade to reach their playoffs with semi-finals tomorrow. In the championship Tia Paasi Memorial Wainuiomata are expected to front against unbeaten Petone at the Petone Rec after injuries and illness left them unable to play last weekend, while the two versus three matchup pits old foes Norths and Oriental-Rongotai against each other once again out at Porirua Park. Petone have beaten Wainuiomata 29-5 and 44-7 in their previous meetings, while Norths and Ories have split theirs; Ories winning 19-5 in the Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy encounter and Norths taking the more recent match 33-19.

It’s déjà vu in the Izzy Ford Cup for the single semi-final with Avalon heading back into the city to face the Poneke-OBU side at Kilbirnie after the latter were comfortable 48-5 winners last Saturday at the same venue. Paremata-Plimmerton are idle for a second-straight weekend and already through to next weekend’s final.

All three matches are underway at 11am this week, and should they be tied at 80 minutes extra-time will be played.

Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield

The realistic view is that four teams remain in the hunt for the silverware with three rounds to go. OBU (45) hold that lead but face a tricky assignment away at the Polo Ground against Ories (27) while their main challengers, holders Tawa (42), will be warm favourites against a Norths (19) side that currently sits ninth. One of those contenders will surely fall away though when Petone (40) hosts HOBM (41) at the Rec in the McBain curtainraiser and the game of the round on paper. Poneke (36) and Pare-Plim (33) will look to advance their cases for top-four places when they visit Johnsonville (17) at Helston and host Wellington (16) at Ngati Toa respectively. Further down the table eighth-placed Upper Hutt (24) hosts Wainuiomata (13) at Maidstone, and two sides in the bottom-four that both won last weekend – Avalon (12) and MSP (17) – clash at Maidstone.

All matches are 12.30pm kick-offs this week

Colts Paris Memorial

The feature clash in the grade tomorrow is the top-of-the-table match at the Petone Rec as leaders HOBM (45) come over the Ewen Bridge to face Petone (37). Behind them the Upper Hutt Rams (36) and Ories (35) will be looking to take advantage; the Rams host Wainuiomata (6) at Maidstone with Ories facing OBU (30) in the rematch of last year’s grade final. MSP (33) will also look to move back up as they visit Avalon (17) at Fraser, it’s seventh vs eighth at Porirua Park as Tawa (29) face Norths (27), and Poneke (18) are away against winless Johnsonville (4)

The seventh match of the round sees both Pare-Plim (9) and Wellington (8) go looking for their second win of the season when they meet at Ngati Toa Domain. This match is for the Daniel Baldwin Memorial Trophy, honouring the young Axeman who tragically passed away after suffering a serious head injury in a match at this level between the two clubs a few years ago. Pare-Plim hold it, albeit from an Under 85s game as they didn’t have a Colts team last year.

All matches are 12.30pm kick-offs, with the exception of a 12pm start for Johnsonville and Poneke.

Under 85kg JC Bowl

Good chance for leaders Tawa (40*) to stretch their lead at top tomorrow as chasers OBU (35) have the bye, but the Ducks do face third-placed Poneke (25) at Kilbirnie Park. Avalon (25*) are at home at Fraser Park against bottom-side MSP (2), while HOBM (16) are also scheduled to cross the river to face Petone (7). Pare-Plim (16) welcome Wellington (18) to Ngati Toa, and Johnsonville (13) and Eastbourne (6) take to Newlands Park.

*Tawa and Avalon are yet to have the bye

All matches are at 2:15 this week.

College

Two matches of the Premiership have already been played; on Wednesday Archie Sims’ 69th minute drop-goal and some last-gasp defence saw Wellington College beat Silverstream 27-24 in their Traditional clash, while earlier that day in Masterton Wairarapa College beat Tawa 34-19 in what doubled as their annual sports exchange match.

The three matches tomorrow see St Pats Town looking to follow-up their big win over Scots when they host Paraparaumu at Evans Bay, with Scots looking to rebound when they visit Hutt International at the CIS Campus. The third match sees Rongotai head to Lower Hutt and a meeting with St Bernard’s. These three are all at 1pm this week.

The fifth round also gets underway midweek, with Silverstream hosting Rongotai.

In Premier 2 early leaders Hutt Valley HS host Porirua in the game of the round here. The perennial powerhouse Silverstream 2nds are in the city against their Town counterparts (11am kickoff) while further south the Rongotai 2nds host Taita. Wellington College’s 2nds are at home against Aotea, with strugglers Naenae hosting Bishop Viard. All are also at 1pm, unless mentioned.

Elsewhere

Unbeaten Kia Toa will look to keep their record intact when they host Old Boys Marist in their Manawatu Senior 1 ‘Top Five’ encounter tomorrow. The other match is at the university with Massey at home against College Old Boys, with Feilding Yellows having the bye. The ‘Bottom Four’ matches have Te Kawau at home in Rongotea against Linton Army, and Freyberg head out to Kimbolton to face winless Feilding Old Boys Oroua.

It’s a top of the table clash in Horowhenua-Kapiti, as Foxton hope to put a dent in the armour of runaway leaders Rahui when they host them tomorrow. The Levin Domain is the scene of the derby match between Wanderers and College Old Boys, and the Paraparaumu Domain is the venue for the clash between the home team and old foes Waikanae. Shannon has the bye.

The halfway point of the second round-robin is reached tomorrow in Wairarapa-Bush. Leaders Marist are at home against East Coast in Masterton, with Carterton across town visiting Red Star. Greytown make the trek north to face Eketahuna, and after more than a month since they last played on their home field Martinborough get to do that when they host Pioneer.

(Editor’s Note: Our long-time columnist and reporter Scott MacLean makes his Wairarapa-Bush Premier refereeing debut with the Masterton Red Star vs Carterton match. Our best wishes to him).

Hurricanes v Chiefs semi-final preview:

Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Chiefs (semi-final)

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