Short Passes 29 October

29/10/2019

This Saturday is the rescheduled opening leg of the WRFU American Ambassador’s 7s series at Onepoto Park.

The series becomes a two-tournament shootout, with the final leg at Upper Hutt next Saturday. The first one at Wainuiomata was washed out. Draws and teams to be confirmed later in the week, but Short Passes suggests this will be a stronger tournament than the aborted one last weekend, with the return of some Pride and even Lions players and some clubs having had more time to develop their squads and train together and enter teams.

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How can St Patrick’s College, Silverstream (winner of 27 grades in the past seven years) and Wellington College (the capital’s largest boys school and winner of the Under 15 Division I title in 2019) not enter teams in the senior division of the Wellington Condor 7s qualifiers?

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Eddie Jones has won 106 Tests as an international coach, Steve Hansen 103 in 19 fewer games. Jones has a 6-8 record against the All Blacks. Warren Gatland has won one Test in 18 years against New Zealand.

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Credit to Cory Jane for his frank halftime interview during the National Provincial Championship Premiership final against Tasman on Saturday. No ‘D-line,’ ‘leadership group,’ ‘core roles,’ ‘skill-set,’ jargon, just an admission Wellington was poor in the first half.

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Despite Wellington’s disappointing display in the final, Chris Gibbes coaching era has been a success. The Lions have gone from last in the championship five years ago to runners-up in the Premiership. Gibbes, appointed from out of Wellington, brought a clarity in game plan and selection which was timely after a few disastrous seasons.

Unbeaten Winners of the NPC Premiership:

Year

Team

Record

For/Against

1977

Canterbury

10-0

190-81

1983

Canterbury

10-0

295-109

1986

Wellington

10-0

274-131

1987

Auckland

10-0

375-90

1988

Auckland

10-0

321-114

1990

Auckland

10-0

364-127

2007

Auckland

13-0

462-170

2019

Tasman

13-0

442-133

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A couple of curious substitutions in rugby matches this weekend.

His replacement James O’Reilly came on and added value, but at the time Asafo Aumua being replaced with about 20 minutes to play was remarked upon given how well he was playing. Aumua has been struggling to recapture the form that saw him elevated to the All Blacks two years ago but he was playing really well on Saturday and could have been a game-breaker. Second, Jack Goodhue‘s benching in the All Blacks loss attracted comments given he appeared to be playing well against England.

Short Passes well remembers Hosea Gear being handed the crooked stick in the 60th minute for the Lions against Counties-Manukau in 2009. Gear had scored four tries in the game, which was and is a Lions-equaling single game haul in a NPC match. He was odds-on to score a fifth try and possibly a sixth that night but the fit, hungry and uninjured Gear was dragged early as the clock struck 60 minutes in a likely premeditated benching.

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Bay of Plenty won the NPC Championship and had a ball doing it. Studying their social media accounts provides a pretty interesting insight into a team culture that was fun, but serious at the same time, capturing the spirit of an area that’s always been a bit ‘looser’ than the rest of the country. Clayton McMillan appears to be a serious coaching talent on the rise.

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Kendra Cocksedge showed her absolute class in the Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) final on Saturday when she kicked a 30-metre dropped goal to seal Canterbury’s victory over Auckland. Cocksedge’s clean strike was the first drop goal of her 12-year first-class career and only the second drop goal in the 2019 FPC season. Cocksedge is the only New Zealand woman to score over 1000 first class points. The rarity of a dropped goal in women’s rugby is illustrated by the fact that Counties, Hawke’s Bay, North Harbour, Otago, Taranaki, Tasman and Wellington have never kicked one in National Provincial Championship’s history which stretches back to 1999. The record for most dropped goals in New Zealand first-class rugby is four in 69 games by Rebecca Mahoney, a former Black Fern and the first woman to officiate a male NPC match in New Zealand in 2019 when she took control of the Hawke’s Bay v Southland fixture.

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The squads were selected for the Red Bull Ignite 7s camp and tournament coming up in Auckland, an interesting tournament. Wellington players involved in this are:

Caleb Cavubati (Tawa, ex-Scots)
Jack Gray (Auckland, ex-Scots)
Te Araroa Sopoaga (QMC)
Oscar Schmidt-Uli (ex-Town)
Roderick Solo (Scots)
Ropati So’oalo (Aotea)
Kyle Preston (Tawa, ex-Tawa College)
Ethan Webster-Nonu (Scots)
Lyric Faleafaga (Norths, ex-St Mary’s)

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The NZ Marist team has been named to take on the NZ Heartland XV on November 2nd, at Boyd Park, Te Aroha, 2pm:

Forwards

  • Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe (Hastings Rugby & Sports Club, Hawkes Bay Magpies)
  • Leopino Maupese (Nelson Marist, Tasman Makos)
  • Jack Nelson Murray (Napier OBM, Hawkes Bay Saracens)
  • Jacob Devery (Hastings Rugby & Sports Club, Hawkes Bay Magpies)
  • Sam Caird (Whangarei Marist, NZ U20, Northland)
  • Daymon Leasuase (Ardmore Marist, Cheifs)
  • Josh Balme (Hamilton Marist, Fringe Waikato)
  • James Tauia (Marist St Pats, Wellington)
  • Jacob Norris (Nelson Marist, Taskman Mako)
  • Taina Fox Matamua (Nelson Marist, Taskman Mako, Auckland)
  • Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland Marist, Auckland, Blues)

Backs

  • Patrick Gluck (Masterton Marist, Wairarapa Bush)
  • Connor Collins (Hutt OBM, Wellington, Canturbury)
  • Sam Briggs (Nelson Marist, Tasman)
  • Chase Tiatia (Hutt OBM, Bay of Plenty)
  • Matt Johnson (Whangarei Marist, Southland / Northland)
  • Shayne Anderson (Marist Albion Christchurch, Waikato, South Canturbury)
  • Nash Fiso-Vaelei (Hutt OBM, Wellington)
  • Pierre Pili (Greerton Marist, Bay of Plenty)
  • Jason Potroz (Tukapa Marist, Taranaki)

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Below: Sometimes referees need to stay a-head of the game:

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