Short Passes – 22 April

22/04/2019

The halfway mark of the Swindale Shield and the competition is heating up on both the points and physio tables.

On the points table, the HOBM Eagles march on and have won all five Swindale Shield matches. Norths are just behind having won four and drawn one. Ories and Poneke are nipping at their heels, but a real scrap is brewing in the mid-table positions and there is much to play out over the next five weeks. As one pundit pointed out on Saturday, at least one very good team is going to miss out on the Jubilee Cup.

Throw in injuries to the mix. Marist St Pat’s and Old Boys University are two clubs battling injuries as much as the opposition, both down a number of players on Saturday. OBU called up ‘retired’ players Ross and Ian Kennedy and former Hurricanes and All Blacks lock/flanker Jason Eaton on Saturday. The latter was red carded at the end so his maiden appearance in Wellington club rugby could be his last. OBU and MSP meet this coming Saturday as well.

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It is the second week of school holidays and St Pat’s Town hosts St Bede’s College, Christchurch at Evans Bay Park. This match is for the Fr Paul Kane SM Challenge Cup, which has been competed for annually between the two schools since 2015. The two schools first played each other in 1921 but annual exchanges stopped in 1973 prior to this recent revival. Kick-off on Tuesday is 1.00pm.

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Some massive games in the context of the season this weekend. As well as the storied McBain clash between HOBM and Petone (1st v 6th), theres Norths v Ories (2nd v 3rd), Tawa v Wainuiomata (7th v 5th, Poneke v Avalon (4th v 9th), and OBU and MSP (8th v 10th)

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The Hurricanes also play the Chiefs this Saturday night at Westpac Stadium, the Hurricanes coming off a come-from-behind win over the Sunwolves and the Chiefs having lost to the Lions last weekend.

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The Hurricanes ‘Hunters’ Development side played Japan A this weekend in their return match (after beating them at Porirua Park a few weeks ago). Sourcing a score from this game is proving elusive.

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A couple of mentions on the refereeing front. Leading referee Nick Hogan heads to Japan this week to referee at the Sanix World Schools, while Charles Visser spent last weekend at the annual NZ Deaf Rugby annual tournament in Auckland which was handily won by the Southern region (see Facebook video below).

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What exactly did Avalon do to Marist St Pat’s when they beat them in last years Swindale Shield? Since then MSP have won just three (and drawn one) of fourteen matches and now sit a lowly 10th on the table at the halfway point with some tough games ahead. Is their 40+ year streak of making the Jubilee Cup in serious jeopardy?

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No truth to the rumour that the Upper Hutt Rams played Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” after they were the latest side to lower MSP’s colours with their last gasp win on Saturday. That song was topping the charts when Upper Hutt last tasted success over MSP in May 2002.

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More defaults in Hurricanes region Premier club rugby competitions – this time in Hawke’s Bay. The HBRFU held its seventh round of the first round Nash Cup on Friday and four of the five scheduled matches went ahead as planned. Leaders Taradale won their seventh straight victory, beating Clive 48-7. Clive defaulted a fortnight ago. This time is was MAC who couldn’t front, giving Napier Old Boys Marist all four days off. Last week, Linton Army defaulted to Massey in the Manawatu competition.

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Wellington club rugby top points scorers and try scorers after five rounds:

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The 2019 Best & Fairest Wellington club rugby competition is heating up.

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The National Deaf Rugby Championship was held over the weekend in Auckland – check out the video below. More here

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Spark ‘revealed’ its price to watch this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Those who purchase a “super early bird” pass in May will pay $59.99 to watch live every Rugby World Cup match.

From June to early September, the price will be $79.99.

Then in the “final few days” before the tournament starts in Japan, the cost will rise to $89.99.

Single match passes will also be available for $24.99 once the tournament is underway.

Pubs and clubs will be charged the same amount as individual consumers  – so  (problem solved) local rugby clubs are going to be setting up their bars and big screens for games. Plus 12 matches, including all All Blacks pool games and knockout matches are going to be free to air on TNVZ.

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Southland club rugby, where Premier club Blues just want to play some rugby.

Of their five pool games, they played just two of them. Waikaka and Riversdale both defaulted to Blues, before on Thursday night a power cut (from a car crash) put an end to another opportunity to get some game time under their belt. Blues were scheduled to take on Pirates-Old Boys at the Les George Oval at Oreti Park on Thursday night.

Southland’s leading premier club rugby competition was expanded to 12 teams this year with two pools of six teams going at it over the past five weeks. The too six play for the Galbraith Shield later in the season, while the bottom four contest the Soper Shield.

Read more here 

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“Global club matches will happen.”

Regular matches between club sides across the world will happen “sooner or later,” says outgoing Premiership Rugby boss Mark McCafferty.Private equity firm CVC have already completed a 27% purchase of the English league and are in talks with the Pro 14 about buying a stake in that league. Cross-hemisphere matches could form part of CVC’s vision for the future. “Eventually I’m sure there will be club games on a reasonably regular basis between the hemispheres,” he said. Read more here

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Great to see experienced players fronting up for club rugby every week. These days Fa’atonu Fili plays for the Marist St Pat’s Premier Reserves, but he could still be the starting 10 in most Premier clubs. On Saturday he came on in the second half and immediately stamped his mark on the game with a series of astute territorial gains such as the play below. He also helped lay on the winning try with a trademark no-look pass late in the game as seen here 

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