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Counties Manukau Sevens this Saturday
Above: Wellington and Manawatu teams met in the 'final' of the Rongotai Sevens last weekend. The annual Counties Manukau Sevens is this Saturday, hosted by the Karaka Rugby Club.  The tournament is a warm-up for provincial teams ahead of the three National Provincial qualifying tournaments on 1 December. The draw consists of 11 men’s and nine women’s teams, divided into two pools. There are seven provincial unions represented in each of the men’s and women’s sections and a club team...More
Aisle be Back: All Blacks on tour
Above: The All Blacks play Ireland this weekend. Photo: Google Images. Just imagine if that England try had been scored in the closing moments of the Twickenham thriller. It wouldn’t have really changed anything but it would have been treated as if it had. So, setting aside all the furore over the TMO and whether the offside call was correct – and 95 percent of that is fuelled by partisan bias, as these things usually are – you’re looking at something like this. For the All Blacks, a dose of self loathing and soul-searching, coupled with a new blowtorch beingput on Beauden Barrett, despite his faultless effort off the kicking tee (and that droppie)...More
Wellington Gold win Rongotai Sevens tournament
With two sides entered in today’s eight-team Rongotai College representative sevens tournament, Wellington had a one in four chance of taking the spoils. The Wellington Gold team took those odds and ran away to win with the final play of the tournament, Scots College player Epi Sailo flashing in out wide to give the team a 21-17 win over Manawatu Green. Manawatu Green had leapt to a 17-0 lead by halftime, dominating possession in the first five minutes and creating two clinical tries. Wellington counterattacked, but the play broke down and Manawatu scooped up a loose ball to scamper 40 metres to score their third try...More
The value of All Black Test caps
The All Blacks reserve bench. PHOTO: Google. Bevan Holmes was an athletic and durable loose forward from North Auckland who started 31 games for the All Blacks between 1970 and 1973. Holmes holds the record for most All Black games without a Test. Despite touring four times with the national team, Holmes will never receive an international cap. Tyrel Lomax, at best a sixth choice prop, has already attained a Test cap after his brief appearance in the All Blacks win against Japan on Saturday. Lomax, along with the remainder of the bench, arrived on the field when the game was well and truly won by New Zealand...More
Representative sevens tournament this Saturday
Rongotai College is the venue for this Saturday’s representative sevens tournament, a warm-up tournament leading up to the three regional tournaments in early December. The eight-team tournament starts at 10.00am and concludes before 3.00pm. The teams attending are: Wellington BlackWellington GoldManawatu GreenManawatu WhiteHawkes BayWanganuiCanterburyHorowhenua-Kapiti The teams are divided evenly between two pools in a round-robin format, heading towards the knockout matches that see 4 v 4, 3 v 3, 2 v 2 and then 1 v 1 at the end of the day’s 17 match programme...More
Aisle be back: All Blacks v England
Above: Five years since he last played the All Blacks, Brad Shields is set to face the Kieran-Read lead team for England this coming weekend.  The Test this week seems have been coming forever, but it’s probably only two years. Unfortunately, what was meant to be the clash of the top two teams in the world is no more. That’s the problem with over expectation; reality has a way of moving on, and Eddie Jones’ Jerusalem has been built on prayer more than results for the past 12 months...More
 Aisle be back: The Hurricanes squad announcement and ABs on tour
Above fans flock on to the field after a Hurricanes match this year. It is another f word that is pondered below.  Here comes those new Super Rugby squads, and time for the f-word. No, not that f- word, but the one that hangs around any Hurricanes squad announcement. F as in forwards. F as in the grade people usually assign to the Canes pack. Totally unfair, but there you go. Cue the latest squad and cue the lead angle on the announcement – it’s the flying big winger, Salesi Rayasi...More
Sevens season at full throttle
UPDATE Friday: The third leg of the American Ambassador's Sevens series scheduled for Mary Crowther Park on Saturday has been postponed owing to the weather forecast. More updates forthcoming. The weather forecast is: The sevens season is at full throttle over the next fortnight, with the third and final leg of the American Ambassador’s tournament and a one-off representative tournament over the next two weekends. Mary Crowther Park in Wainuiomata plays host to the deciding American Ambassador’s tournament all day this coming Saturday, and the American Ambassador’s Trophy and Roosevelt Trophy silverware will be presented to the series winners at the conclusion of the day...More
Northern United and Scots College win sevens tournaments
The Northern United Men’s and Women’s teams and the Scots College U15s were singing in the rain this afternoon after winning their respective sevens tournaments. The Norths Men’s and Women’s sides both took the honours at Onepoto Park in the second leg of three of the WRFU American Ambassador’s tournament. In persistent rain that set in around lunchtime, the American Ambassador’s afternoon session was curtailed early. Norths beat the Upper Hutt Rams in their Men’s Cup semi-final and then backed up 10 minutes later by playing and winning the Cup final against the Johnsonville Hawks...More
Aisle be back: ABs in Japan and NPC Finals
I’m struggling to muster enthusiasm for the Japan thing. That bit where one part of the All Blacks play a pretty meaningless further Bledisloe match, then another part full of players most of us have never seen before, play the Japanese national team. It’s no-one’s fault except the Wallabies that they don’t set the pulse racing. As I’ve said before, we play them way too often these days, and frankly, it’s not actually helping them nor the prestige of the Bled...More
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