Above: Tawa and Oriental-Rongotai met last weekend. Tomorrow Tawa plays Marist St Pat’s and Ories plays Wainuiomata in two pre-season fixtures. Photo by David Brownlie Photos
Tomorrow marks two weeks before the 2017 Wellington club rugby season gets underway.
The Premier Swindale Shield and Premier Reserve Harper Lock Shield competitions start in Upper Hutt in a Gala Day opening on 17 March.
There has been no competitive rugby in Wellington since last November’s American Ambassador’s 7s series, so players and supporters alike will be itching to hit the ground running.
Clubs’ pre-season preparations are in full swing this weekend.
In a feature match at North Park, home side Petone host touring Argentinean club San Carlos, who arrived in Wellington yesterday with 75 players plus officials.
The Premier match between Petone and San Carlos kicks off at 1.45pm, following the Colts game at 10.30am and the Premier Reserves encounter at 12.00pm.
They are not expected to be as strong at Club Newman and C.U.B.A who toured last year and proved tough opposition. In their match against Petone this same weekend last year, Club Newman rallied from 12-26 down to beat the Villagers 29-26. A fourth-quarter burst of scoring had seen C.U.B.A beat Old Boys University a week earlier. These matches proved beneficial to both Petone and OBU, both making the Jubilee Cup and OBU winning the championship.
In other local pre-season action between clubs, Oriental-Rongotai and Wainuiomata meet, as do Johnsonville and Hutt Old Boys Marist, Marist St Pat’s and Tawa, and Avalon and Wellington.
Old Boys University have an internal camp, both the Upper Hutt Rams and Paremata-Plimmerton appear to be taking the weekend off, while Northern United and Poneke are on the road to Hawke’s Bay and beyond.
Norths play Hawke’s Bay club Taradale today and then move on up the coast to meet a Poverty Bay-East Coast side on Saturday. Poneke’s Premier and Premier Reserve squads head to Havelock North to play the home side in pre-season games.
The fifth annual Sir Gordon Tietjens Sevens secondary school tournament is in Palmerston North today and tomorrow. Scots College are the only Wellington school involved, following the withdrawal during the week of two-time defending champions St Mary’s College. Scots are entering teams in the Open Boys and U15 divisions.
The Hurricanes U20s meet the Blues U20s at Suburbs Rugby Club in Auckland at 1.00pm on Saturday.
The Hurricanes play their second match of the Super Rugby competition on Sunday at 10.40am (NZ time) against the Jaguares at Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires. The Hurricanes welcome back the Barrett brothers, Beauden and Jordie, to their starting XV. The only other match between these sides was in 2016 and the Hurricanes won 40-22.