Welcome to the last week of winter.
The dark days might be behind us soon for another year, but there is an extra spring in the step of rugby players and supporters with the start of the Rugby World Cup just days away.
The All Blacks start their campaign against the Springboks this coming Saturday night.
On Saturday, the Wellington Development and Wellington Maori sides travel to play their Tasman counterparts in Blenheim in a double-header.
The Wellington U16 and Wellington U16 Development teams are playing their opening Hurricanes U16 competition games. The U16As are meeting Wairarapa Bush in Masterton at 1.00pm and the U16 Development team are playing Whanganui away.
The final of the Hurricanes U18 competition sees the Centurions U18s travel to play the Whanganui U18s. The Wellington Samoans U18s host the Poverty Bay U18s in the playoff for third and fourth.
On Sunday, the Wellington Pride and Wellington Lions team play a double header against Auckland at Eden Park, the Pride meet Auckland at 11.35am and the Lions line up against Auckland for the Fred Lucas Memorial Trophy at 2.05pm.
Two exciting and contrasting wins for the Wellington Pride and the Wellington Lions at Wellington Stadium on Sunday.
The Pride beat Counties Manukau 38-36, with Joanah Ngan-Woo scoring the winning try a few minutes before fulltime. Ayesha Leti-l’iga had previously scored a hat-trick and Sinead Ryder a double as the Pride led 12-0 early, 19-17 at halftime and then came from behind later in the match. The Pride had a knack of beating this Counties Manukau at the death, having done it twice before in recent years including when then centre scored a runaway try on the hooter in their semi-final in 2015.
The Lions breezed to a 35-5 halftime lead that became 40-5 early in the second spell over Otago. The visitors came back and the Lions were asked to soak up oodles of defensive pressure before eventually winning 54-24. The Lions retained the Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy.
Congratulations to Scots College long jumper Roderick Solo for his inclusion in the New Zealand Secondary School team this year.
Solo is the only Wellington player in the two Schools and Barbarians teams that were named late last week. His Scots teammate Blake Rogers was also selected in the New Zealand Maori U18 team, alongside Tiaki Fabish who plays club rugby for Old Boys University.
Is there a specific reason why Ropati So’oalo (Aotea College) wasn’t named in any of these teams?
Short Passes believes that afternoons should be for club sport not for the franchises.
The Hurricanes Super Rugby draw for next season has been released.
A feature of the draw are earlier kick-off times, at 4.45pm and 7.05pm respectively. For Friday night games this is a good idea, to draw both younger fans and CBD workers to the Stadium.
There is one game on Saturday 30 May at 4.45pm against the Waratahs. This will clearly clash with club and college rugby so it is not Wellington’s active rugby community this game is aimed at, rather families and children. So they will be sacrificing a crowd of rugby people for the young generation that day. Similarly, the Hurricanes versus Blues match up there is a 4.45pm kick-off.
The Hurricanes 2020 Super Rugby home games in 2020 are:
Saturday, February 15, v Sharks, Wellington
Saturday, February 29, v Sunwolves, TBC
Saturday, March 7, v Blues, Wellington
Friday, March 27, v Bulls, Wellington
Friday, April 17, v Highlanders, Wellington
Friday, May 1, v Chiefs, Wellington
Friday, May 8, v Crusaders, Wellington
Saturday, May 30, v Waratahs, Wellington
Great night at the @Jville_Rugby club tonight as we launched our inaugural Rugby Academy. Good turn out of local young talent and parents to learn more. Big ups to the Academy working group for getting this up and running. #upthehawks #jointhewaka #mahistartstomorrow pic.twitter.com/StukFO4d3p
— Johnsonville Rugby (@Jville_Rugby) September 9, 2019
An interesting clash of games for the Rugby World Cup on Saturday 12 October. Remembering the All Blacks are delayed by one hour on free to air TV.
The multi-billion euro business of the Rugby World Cup – big investments, big returns – Read more HERE
Organisers are expecting upwards of 400,000 foreign visitors to make the trip to Japan over the 44 days of the games. In all, it expects to attract up to 1.8 million fans.
It anticipates that this will translate into a direct economic impact of 437 billion Japanese yen, or €3.65 billion, based on calculations by EY on behalf of Japan Rugby 2019.
Japan has invested €300m in infrastructure developments in advance of the World Cup. Up to 25,000 jobs are estimated to have been created in the run in to the tournament. With the games being hosted in 12 cities across Japan, the economic benefit is expected to be shared across the country.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that his country is ready to host the best-ever Rugby World Cup starting next week 20 September.
Anticipation has reached fever pitch as the tournament is hosted in Asia for the very first time in its history. Crowds have already turned up just to welcome the biggest stars of the global game to Japan.
Read more HERE
|The Oktoberfest Sevens awaits the All Blacks Sevens who departed for Germany to play their sole pre-season tournament ahead of the next World Series.
The 2019/2020 season of the World Series kicking off in Dubai at the end of November, the Oktoberfest Sevens provides the All Blacks Sevens the opportunity to pit themselves against top international opposition.
With head Coach Clark Laidlaw remaining in New Zealand on leave, Assistant Coach Tomasi Cama will lead a squad that features two debutants.
The All Blacks Sevens team is (*denotes debut);
1. Trael Joass
With regular squad members Joe Ravouvou, Joe Webber and Vilimoni Koroi on Mitre 10 Cup duties, 22-year old Dan Fransen (Canterbury) and 20-year-old Rewita Biddle (Bay of Plenty) will get their first opportunity in a black jersey.
Fransen was a member of the All Blacks Sevens Development team earlier this year, while Biddle was a stand-out in the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 programme.