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Rugby by the numbers 2018
Above: Perry Hayman scores in the corner for Norths against Poneke early last season, one of 691 tries in the 2017 Swindale Shield. The 2018 rugby season kicks of this coming weekend, with the first of the Super Rugby pre-season fixtures. The Hurricanes meet the Crusaders in Greymouth on Friday. There’s a steady diet of sevens and pre-season 15s rugby over the following several weeks leading to the start of the club season. Here are some numbers and statistics we have put together ahead of the new season...More
R.I.P. Graham Williams
A giant has fallen. Former All Black flanker and Wellington games record holder Graham (GC) Williams has died aged 72. In recent years Williams suffered from frontal lobe dementia and motor neurone disease. He would have turned 73 on Friday. Williams was born in 1945 and educated at Rongotai College appearing in the First XV from 1960-1963. In 1964 Williams was picked in the Wellington representative team, at that time a rare feat for a schoolboy leaver.  Williams forged a reputation as a skilful and uncompromising flanker appearing in a record 174 games for the Lions between 1964 and 1976...More
1972 - The year of three winners
Above: The 1972 Wellington Axemen broke Petone's sole stranglehold on both the Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup.  Down the years there have been some nail-biting Wellington club rugby title races, for both the championship Jubilee Cup (since 1929) and the first round Swindale Shield (since 1969). The Swindale Shield has always been a straight round-robin competition, as was the Jubilee Cup prior to 1993 before the semi-finals and finals were introduced. Since then there can be one winner (with the exception of 2008 when the final was drawn and there was no provision for extra time), but the possibility of a shared Jubilee Cup was often on the cards...More
Doing the double – winning the Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup in same season getting tougher
The 2018 club rugby season is fast approaching, with the Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup the two major titles up for grabs for Wellington’s 14 Premier clubs. The Championship Jubilee Cup is the most coveted of the two and the major prize that all clubs are working towards at the start of each season. As more than one leading player has said in recent years, “you can’t drink from the Swindale Shield.” The Jubilee Cup was presented by the Wellington Rugby Football Union in 1929 in recognition of its golden jubilee year and has been played every year since, including during the second world war when a combined Poneke-Oriental team won in 1943 and 1944...More
   Plenty of rugby to follow before opening club rugby round
UPDATED: It’s a blazing hot summer. The sun beats down, but soon the weather cools and the Wellington region’s rugby followers will welcome another colossal year on the sidelines. The next few weeks are not as busy as previous years on the local playing fields, with the next official competition or tournament match not until the Gala Day opener on 17 March. Between now and then club coaches, CCOs and fitness trainers are busy preparing their clubs and teams for Swindale Shield kick-off...More
Waikato and Manawatu win National Sevens titles
Above: Manawatu women's team and supporters after winning the cup final. Photo: Dave Lintott / Round-up and results by Club Rugby correspondents. Waikato (men’s) and Manawatu (women’s) are the 2018 National Sevens champions. Waikato beat South Island champions Tasman 21-17 in the men’s Cup final and Manawatu defeated Waikato 17-15 in the women’s Cup final. Bay of Plenty won the men’s Plate final, while Auckland finished third in the women’s tournament...More
National Sevens tournament this weekend
The stage is set for the National Sevens tournament this weekend. Sixteen men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will again compete in the two-day tournament which kicks off at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday. The teams are seeded in four men’s and three women’s pools, having qualified from the three zone tournaments in early December. In the men’s draw, defending champions Counties Manukau is the top seed and leads pool A. South Island winners Tasman and Central winners Wellington headline Pool C Northern runners-up Bay of Plenty assume top billing in Pool B, while beaten Central finalists Manawatu are top seeds in Pool D...More
BoP Provincial Sevens to start 2018 year of rugby
After a short break, the 2018 rugby season kicks off this Saturday with the annual Bay of Plenty Provincial Sevens Tournament at Blake Park at Mount Maunganui. This tournament is the final opportunity for these teams to prepare ahead of the National Sevens being played next weekend (13 and 14 January) at Rotorua International Stadium, the final national tournament at Rotorua before it moves to nearby Tauranga Domain at the end of the year. Several of the country’s leading men’s provincial sides will line up at Sir Gordon Tietjens (Blake) Park, including defending national champions and pre-Christmas Northern Region tournament winners Counties Manukau, recent Central Sevens winners Wellington, defending BoP tournament champions Waikato and South Island raiders Canterbury...More
Club Rugby’s 2017 Wellington Team of the Year
To round out what has been a big year of rugby, Club Rugby has selected its Wellington Team of the Year for 2017, from the men’s and women’s and schools game. 1. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa – Teenaged Fijian prop made an immediate impact playing for the Petone Premiers in 11 appearances at loosehead and tighthead prop, and for the Colts where he dominated and scored two tries in the final against OBU as Petone came back from 3-20 down to win. Hurricanes U18s and Wellington U19s in 2017...More
Wellington's Ghost Clubs Part 10: Ten Ghost Club Identities
Above: the five Spencer brothers that played for Melrose, includingJack and George, the first brothers to represent New Zealand in both rugby codes in successive seasons. WELLINGTON’S GHOST” RUGBY CLUBS Part 10 – Ten Ghost Club Identities Looking at some of the past identities from the long-forgotten former rugby clubs in Wellington.   “The Athletes Cigar” The Rugby Football Club (1884) In March 1884 the Leo and Ashley Football Clubs amalgamated to form the Rugby Football Club...More
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