Above: The Wellington Development XV and the New Zealand Defence Force team after their match on Wednesday night. Wellington over-ran the visitors’ defensive positions to win 8 tries to two, 46-12. The NZDF are heading to Japan for the Defence Services World Cup. PHOTO: Peter Mcdonald.
- By Scott MacLean and Steven White
A double header at the Petone Recreation ground, the Wellington Pride in action for the first time at home and the U19s starting on Sunday – there is plenty going in in representative rugby this weekend.
The weekend’s slate starts tomorrow lunchtime and finishes with the U19s on Sunday.
The Pride are on home turf for the first time this year in their Farah Palmer Cup campaign and will be looking to rebound from that first-up loss to Canterbury when they host Bay of Plenty at Porirua Park at 1pm. The Volcanix are likewise looking to get into the wins column, having lost their opener at home to Counties-Manukau but did manage four tries in that.
Coach Ross Bond has made a few tweaks to the team that lost to Canterbury last weekend, including Norths wing Kolora Lomani switching sides to wear Ayesha Leti-L’iga’s left wing jersey who is sitting out this match at the bequest of the NZRU to manage her workload. Bernadette Robertson moves from centre to wing and her Ories teammate Fa’ausa Makisi plays centre. At halfback Ana-Marie Afuie comes in for Reijeli Uluinayau.
The starting forward pack is unchanged and captain and No.8 Jackie Patea-Fereti will equal Rebecca Liua’ana’s record of 58 appearances for the Pride in this fixture.
The Pride have played the BOP Volcanix six times previously for five wins and a draw. The results are: 1999 won 21-17, 2001 drew 10-10, 2002 won 20-10, 2014 won 24-5, 2015 won 69-5 and 2016 won 27-0 (in pouring rain).
Preceeding that is a match on Jerry Collins Stadium between the Wellington Community and Samoan U18 Girls selections (kick-off at 11.30am).
A previously scheduled fixture on Porirua 2 between the Centurions U85kg team and Tasman U85kg has been called off owing to the visitors being short on playing numbers.
The Men’s action is across at the Petone Rec. Up first at 12.30pm is the match between the Centurions and Samoan U18 sides after they both recorded handy wins last week, with that followed at 2.30pm by the always entertaining and physical encounter between the Maori and Samoan senior sides at 2.30pm. The Maori have been in good form so far this year, and probably just shade their opposition for the favourites tag on the back of beating the Centurions 14-10 a week ago.
The Centurions hit the road this week to face the Hawkes Bay Saracens – who narrowly lost to the full Development side last Saturday – in Napier while the U16 sides begin their preparations for their tournament at the end of the month; the U16A’s play a Petone Barbarians selection at Ascot Park at 1.30pm and the U16B’s cross the Remutaka’s to play Wairarapa-Bush in Masterton.
Finishing Saturday’s action are the Lions, who are in Rotorua to take on Championship side Bay of Plenty. With a nine-day break since cashing their get-out-of-jail-free card to beat Counties-Manukau they’ll be rested, though the Steamers have been in good form and have already beaten Premiership teams in Waikato and North Harbour and pushed Auckland close.
On Sunday the U19s get into action, playing Otago in their opening match of the Jock Hobbs Tournament in Taupo. Wellington eased through their three regional matches, but their slow starts in each match may be a cause for concern for Dion Waller and his coaching team and there’s always that feeling that another might leave them playing catch up. That said, the Wellington team is playing with a huge amount of confidence and should be favourites. Kick-off on Sunday in their tournament opener is 12.30pm.
The Wellington Development team have the weekend off, after playing and beating the New Zealand Defence Force 46-12 at Fraser Park on Wednesday night.
With it being winter tournament week, Wellington is once again hosting the U15 Hurricanes Tournament and the U14 festival earlier in the week. The Tournament concludes tomorrow with the final set of games, with the Grand Final (teams TBC) kicking off on Silverstream #1 at 1pm.
Its been a tough week at the National U15 Tournament for both Wellington College and St Pats Town, with both having gone winless in pool play and playing off in the bottom four (13th-16th) bracket.
There are no Wellington teams at the “Top 4” Championships at Massey University this Friday and Sunday, but just for the record here is the schedule of games for that on Friday:
Co-Ed Cup Semi Final
10.30am St Kentigern College v St Andrew’s College. Field 4 / Referee: Caleb Neilson (Otago)
11.45am Feilding High School v Manurewa High School. Field 7 / Referee: Tim Olliff (Auckland)
Hine Pounamu Trophy – Girls 1st XV Semi Final
1.30pm Onehunga v Christchurch Girls’ High School. Field 4 / Referee: Estelle Whaiapu (Bop)
2.45pm Manukura v Hamilton Girls’ High School. Field 7 / Referee: Tiana Ngawati (Bop)
Barbarians 1st XV Trophy Semi Final
1.10pm King’s College v Nelson College. Field 6 / Referee: Will Johnston (Taranaki)
2.55pm Hastings Boys’ High School v Hamilton Boys’ High School. Field 6 / Referee: Fraser Hannon (Otago)
Teams (subject to change, added to as received):
Wellington U19s (squad – 23 to be selected for match)
Iona Apineru (Upper Hutt Rams)
Isaac Bracewell (Wellington)
Luke Chisholm (Upper Hutt Rams)
Sanasco Crichton (MSP)
Caleb Delany (OBU)
Cam Ferreira (Petone)
Luke Gilbert (OBU)
Kienan Higgins (Norths)
Shamus Langton (OBU)
Niko Manaena (Petone)
Kayden Muller (Pare-Plim)
Hugo Plummer (Tawa)
Taine Plumtree (OBU)
PJ Sheck (Johnsonville)
Kaleb Sinclair (Upper Hutt Rams)
Angelo Smith (Wellington)
Sam Smith (Wainuiomata)
Josh Southall (Upper Hutt Rams)
Malo Tevita-Manuao (Ories)
Leo Thompson (MSP)
Tyrone Thompson (MSP)
Junior Time-Tautoa (Norths)
Jaylen Tuapola (Petone)
Steven Va’a (Ories)
Keelan Whitman (MSP)
Other teams – TBC.