Looking at some of the news in briefs, milestones, happenings, statistics and observations from the weekend of rugby just gone and what’s coming up this week.
On Saturday, touring Argentina club San Carlos played Petone at North Park in Colts, Premier Reserve and Premier matches. The Premier match ended in a pulsating 36-36 draw, with a large crowd and the Argentina, Chile and Cuba ambassadors in attendance. A great day was finished off in Kiwi style with a Hangi. Both teams scored 5 tries and kicked 3 conversions. Petone's try scorers were Viliami Fine (3), and one each to Asafo Fau and Ngarangi Haerewa. Jared Kahu kicked two conversions and Logan Henry one.
Also last week another touring Argentinian team was in town, playing matches at Evans Bay Park against the Rongotai College and St Pat’s Town second XVs.
Good pre-season hit-outs were reported by most teams over the weekend, including Oriental-Rongotai and Wainuiomata at Rongotai College where a mix of familiar and new faces took the field for their clubs.
Northern United had a fruitful trip up to Poverty Bay and Hawke’s Bay. A squad of 41 players and 10 management personnel made the trip. Norths played HSOB at Rugby Park on Friday night after the 10-hour bus trip. The match was very one sided with a healthy score favouring Norths, the game was followed by typical Poverty Bay / East Coast hospitality, wild pork, venison, mutton and Hangi vegetables. An early start again on the bus the next morning to Napier with many bruised and wary players off to Napier and a far more competitive encounter against Taradale. Taradale ended up on the right side of the ledger, winning 38-24. Norths arrived home late on Sunday afternoon with everyone on board, no major injuries, heads held high and reputations intact.
The Upper Hutt Rams played Manawatu clubs College Old Boys and Feilding Yellows in Feilding, the hosts winning the Premier game 24-5. Former Marist St Pat's hooker Valentine Meachen played well for the Feilding Yellows. The Rams' U85kg side also played and beat the Feilding Colts.
The annual Shannon 7s was also played on Saturday, with Wellington teams from Stokes Valley and Johnsonville (U85kg team) taking part in the tournament on the picturesque ground that featured 12 teams from Horowhenua Kapiti, Wanganui, Wairarapa Bush and Wellington.
Stokes Valley lost to Levin 15-29, lost to Paraparaumu 15-17 and lost to Rahui 10-15 in their pool games. The Johnsonville U85kg Terrahawks were beaten Cup finalists, missing out to Toa 21-29 in the final. The Terrahawks had beaten Paraparaumu 22-0 in their quarter-final and host club Shannon 27-0 in their semi-final.
Scots College was the only Wellington school represented at the fifth annual Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament in Palmerston North on Saturday, fielding an U15 side and an Open Boys team. The U15s, who were coached by long-time Wellington Premier coach Adam Campbell (most recently at the Upper Hutt Rams) were beaten semi-finalists in the Colts grade, while the main Scots team were over-run by Feilding High School 31-14 in the Cup final.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School won the Colts section, while a slick Hamilton Girls’ High School side, featuring four players at this coming weekend’s U18 girls trial weekend in Wellington, comfortably won the girls section. The players of the tournament were the two captains, Drew Wild from Feilding High School and Jazmin Hotham from Hamilton GHS.
The Hurricanes U20s played the Blues U20s in Auckland on Saturday and missed out 12-36. Asafo Aumua played the first half.
Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara became the most capped starting halfback-first five-eighth starting combination in history when they teamed up together for their 81st match, in the Hurricanes’ opening 34-9 win over the Jaguares on Sunday morning.
The bonus point win, which included them scoring five unanswered tries, was a great way to end two weeks on the road as they return to face the Crusaders in Wellington this coming Saturday night. The Crusaders sauntered to a 45-28 win over the Stormers on Saturday night, so this match on Saturday promises to be a blockbuster.
In club rugby, this week is the penultimate week of pre-season rugby before it all starts in Upper Hutt on Saturday 17 March. All clubs are either in camp this coming weekend or playing final weekends of pre-season matches.
Clubs confirmed to be going away this coming weekend are Hutt Old Boys Marist, the Wellington Axemen, Johnsonville, the Avalon Wolves, Marist St Pats and Old Boys University.
HOBM are heading to Auckland to compete in the annual New Zealand Marist Federation Spillane tournament. HOBM have a great record at Spillane, having won a string of titles in recent seasons. Marist St Pat’s were runners-up to Napier Old Boys Marist last year, and are not heading to Spillane this year.
The Wellington Axemen are heading to Hawke’s Bay to play their annual pre-season fixtures against the Napier Pirates, while Johnsonville are in Taranaki playing against Spotswood and the Avalon Wolves U85kg team is playing their Havelock North counterparts.
The OBU Premier & Prem Reserves are travelling to the ‘Northern Palms’ (Palmerston North) to play two games against Massey University.
MSP's Premier and Premier Reserve squads are heading over the hill to play Masterton Marist.
Women’s pre-season matches start up this coming weekend as well, with Northern United and Hutt Old Boys Marist and Oriental-Rongotai and Poneke set to meet in two matches on Saturday.
Marist St Pat’s is currently publishing an excellent six-part online documentary following the inspirational journey of former professional prop, now Hurricanes Personal Development Manager, Arden David-Perrot. For more visit their Facebook timeline
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