Short Passes 8 April

08/04/2019

Above: The Norths and MSP Women’s teams take the field on Saturday for the first time this season. Defending champions Norths won 66-0. Norths try scorers not known at time of publication. Please email editor@clubrugby.co.nz with these.

The value of veterans in the Swindale Shield is immense. Wainuiomata halfback Uale Mai was one such player who was instrumental in the wet and wind on Saturday. Second five Mike Lealava’a too, despite being sin-binned late in the first half, while there was little resting for lock Teru Time, part of a strong forwards performance and rewarded with a try.

Two weekends of warm, sunny weather, followed by one of cold wintry conditions. Welcome to Wellington club rugby in April!

All grades in action, and just five days until it all happens again. This coming Saturday’s Swindale Shield feature match is at Kilbirnie Park between the two competition leaders, home side Poneke and Hutt Old Boys Marist. The game is part of a quadruple feast of eastern suburbs fixtures, with MSP hosting Petone, Ories hosting the Upper Hutt Rams and Wellington entertaining Norths. The draw for for the next upcoming round is HERE

Earlier in the day, Wellington College plays Feilding High School. The Hurricanes have their bye this weekend, so a handful of Hurricanes players might be available to don their club jerseys this Saturday.

++++

A boilover win for the Wellington Axemen over Marist St Pat’s on Saturday. The two clubs have fought out many torrid battles over the years, but in the modern era MSP have won most of their matches. The last Wellington win over MSP before Saturday’s one? 6 April 2016 – exactly three years to the day earlier. Of the 30 starters that day, only six played on Saturday:  Jason Bird, Xavier Smith, and Eremia Tapsell for the Axemen, and Kerrod Foease, Josh To’omaga  and Isaiah Petelo for MSP.

Also playing a pivotal role was Hurricanes halfback Richard Judd, who pulled on the famous gold and black hoops for the first time after being reallocated to the Axemen for this season, and ran his own record to four wins in five games, including wins over Poneke and MSP.

++++

Saturday’s win over Johnsonville was just the second away Premier win for Paremata-Plimmerton in their history, following last years 14-8 win at Wellington.

++++

The Marist St Pat’s Premier Reserves won their 18th straight first round Harper Lock Shield match on Saturday in beating the Wellington Axemen. They won their last two in 2017 (finishing sixth), all 13 last year (first round champions) and their first three this season.

++++

Cross-code observers would have spotted Wellington Blaze and White Ferns international cricketer Sophie Devine playing club rugby on Saturday. The current cricketing star and former hockey international made her debut for Petone on the right wing. She was marking none other than Ayesha Leti L’iga, the most prolific try-scorer in men’s and women’s Wellington club rugby. Leti-L’iga scored 5 tries to open her 2019 account and take her tally 46 in 14 club games since the start of last year. Hers was a roaming role and only a couple were scored up Devine’s wing.

The cross-code element is interesting. When was the last time an established current international debuted in club rugby? One instance was in the early 1980s when All White Grant Turner played on the wing for Hutt Valley Marist.

++++

Two former Premier players are now Premier referees, with Ryan McLean and Ben van Berkel elevated to the WRRA’s top panel last Monday night. McLean played over 200 first-team games for Paremata-Plimmerton as an outside back, including a handful in the clubs 2014 Hardham Cup and 2015 Premier campaigns, while van Berkel has more than 50 outings for the Wests Roosters in the front row on his resume.  Club Rugby congratulates both of them.
++++
An inauspicious start to the Under 85s season, with three of the six games being defaulted. In the three games that were played defending trophy holders the Upper Hutt Rams and Avalon Wolves both won, while Paraparaumu sounded a warning with a thrashing of Wests.
++++

A tale of two TJS.

TJ Perenara (Northern United) scored his 50th Super Rugby try on Friday night for the Hurricanes, a clear record for halfbacks in the history of Super Rugby and right up there with the most prolific wingers and outside backs.

TJ Va’a, who has endured five seasons of wretched injury luck, mainly to his knee, made his latest return for the Wainuiomata Premier Reserves on Saturday. With his team trailing 12-22 late in the game, he scored one try to narrow the gap and then made a break that set up the match-winner in Wainuiomata’s 22-19 win. Former Newcastle Knight and Wellington Lion Marvin Karawana was playing second five-eighth.

++++

A tough day for the media as well as the players on Saturday. Five of the seven Swindale Shield matches on Saturday were exposed to the elements for spectators, with Tawa TV going the extra distance at the Polo Ground to get their coverage out! Poneke is also live-streaming their home matches, with John Jackson leading the commentary team from the Kilbirnie Park balcony.

++++

Israel Folau is now the most prolific try-scorer of all time in Super Rugby. He reeled in a cross-kick and scored his 60th career try for the Waratahs against the Blues on Saturday. He surpassed Doug Howlett’s 59 tries.

++++

Avalon bid farewell to their old clubrooms on Saturday and off, and ushered in their new era. Short Passes made its first visit to the new Fraser Park Sportsville on Saturday and was impressed. Once the main ground in front of the complex is fit for purpose for Premier rugby (current ground dimensions and size not quite there yet) it will be a top-notch rugby venue.

++++

The Player of the Match of the Northern United – Petone fixture won the Collins medal, which is donated each year (since 2017)  by both Willie’s and Jerry’s immediate families. This year is was won by Petone N0. 8 Tupou Sopoaga.

++++

How is the Billy Wallace Trophy Best & Fairest competition going?

++++

St Mary’s College had their  first training session last Wednesday, to see who wanted to put their hand up to play this year. Around 50 turned up, with another 20 or so still to come. They estimate they will have about 30 year 9s alone. With Dhys Faleafaga and Monica Tagoai and now Dhys Falefaga on the Black Ferns books the players don’t have to look far for their role models.

++++

A minor boilover in Hawke’s Bay club rugby on Saturday, with Taradale beating competition favourites Napier Old Boys Marist 26-19

++++

The All Black Sevens lost 14-12 to France in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. Fiji beat France in the final to win the tournament for the fifth straight year.

++++

Last, congratulations to Taine Plumtree (Old Boys University), Naitoa ah Kuoi (MSP) and Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Petone) for making the New Zealand U20s for their first tournament of the year on the Gold Coast at the end of this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments

Copyright Club Rugby