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Off the Ball for 14 May

Swindale Shield | 14 May 2018 | Club Rugby

Off the Ball for 14 May

Above: Words from an exasperated club treasurer perhaps.Photo credit: Twitter.

Off the Ballis in association withRob LawMax,Lovelocks Sports Bar,Motor DoctorsandSarah Kilner Real Estate

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.

There is three weeks to go in this year’s Swindale Shield competition and the races for both the title and to finish inside the top 7 to qualify for the Jubilee Cup are still alive and well.

Old Boys University are the new leaders and the Swindale Shield is theirs to lose. This weekend they play Paremata-Plimmerton, followed by Norths (in a possible title decider) and then Petone.

There is a 5-point gap or one bonus point win between current seventh equal placed Petone and Tawa, both on 32 points, and Ories on 27 who are still alive after their win on Saturday against Wainuiomata on 24.

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This coming weekend’s rugby starts at Westpac Stadium on Friday evening, when the St Pat’s Silverstream First XV takes on the Gisborne Boys’ High School First XV at 5.05pm and then the Hurricanes play the Reds at 7.35pm.

A full round of club and pre-season college rugby gets underway on Saturday morning. The third and final Hurricanes pre-season First XV competition at Porirua Park sees Wellington College play Napier Boys’ High School, St Pat’s Town play Palmerston North BHS and Scots College meet defending national champions Hastings Boys’ High School.

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Interclub trophies this coming weekend include the Billy Herbert Memorial Trophy between Avalon and HOBM, the Bill Francis-Jack Taylor Trophy between Petone and Wellington, the Horan-Millar Trophy between Poneke and MSP, the Chris Stirling Cup between Wainuiomata and Tawa and the To'omaga Alex Iona Memorial Cup between Ories and Norths.

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Wellington's longest current win streak came to end on Saturday when Oriental-Rongotai's run of 17 was brought to an end by Norths in the women’s competition. The last time the Lady Magpies went down was the 2016 final when Wainuiomata beat them 24-12.

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On the subject of streaks, Saturday's win by Avalon over Marist St Pats at Evans Bay was their first win in the contest at Premier level since May 2006. Avalon won 29-25 that day at Fraser Park, with soon-to-be MSP halfback Peter Sciascia scoring a try and kicking a penalty and conversion.

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Hurricanes halfback Richard Judd has turned out three times for Paremata-Plimmerton this season. He's yet to taste defeat!

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RLM

You might go a long way to find a more bizarre start to each half than happened at Hataitai Park in Saturday’s Swindale Shield fixture. The match opened with Tawa penalised for being late to take the field, while the second saw Tawa cross inside 10 seconds after the Axemen failed to gather the kick-off

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The Marist St Pat’s Premier Reserves are setting a cracking pace in the Harper Lock Shield. Their 94-5 win over the Avalon Wolves is their 10th straight win of the year. Wing Rez Tasele, in his first game back from a broken finger sustained in pre-season, scored 5 tries, including a 70m effort. School leaver Luca Ruddlesden and emerging flanker Jay Hawkins scored two tries each.

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A remarkable fact regarding Tupou Sopoaga’s four try blitz for Petone on Saturday was that not only did he achieve this in the first half; but they were also the first four tries in the match. A really nice moment as later in the evening at our clubrooms, while the Highlanders versus Lions match was on the big screen, his brother, Lima, scored the first try for the Southerners too.

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Ories No. 8 Luca Rees is the competition’s leading try-scorer through 10 rounds. Rees has scored nine tries, one more than a group of four players – all backs – with eight tries.

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Petone’s Glen Angus is one try away from a setting a Swindale Shield try-scoring record for locks in the Swindale Shield – dating back to at least 2003 when our records start.

Angus, who played over 100 games for Wainuiomata before moving to Petone this year, has scored 7 tries so far this season, which equals the single-season Swindale Shield try-scoring record inthis period by locks. Locks to have scored 7 tries in a Swindale Shield campaign since 2003 have been:

  • Poneke’s Daniel Ramsay scored 7 tries in 2009 (including four starts at blindside flanker)
  • Wainuiomata’s Kane Gush scored 7 tries in 2010 (including three starts at blindside flanker)
  • Wainuiomata’s Sharn Eru scored 7 tries in 2014 (including two starts at blindside flanker)
  • Wellington’s Vaea Fifita scored 7 tries in 2015 (including eight starts at blindside flanker)
  • Poneke’s Cole Stewart scored 7 tries in 2017 (including two starts at blindside flanker and three off the bench)
  • Petone’s Glen Angus has scored 7 tries in 2018 (all eight of his starts at lock and two more off the bench)

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Paremata-Plimmerton’s Blake Neve played 60 minutes for his club's Premier Reserve side and then found himself on the field in the Premier match within a few minutes after starting fullback Joshae Witana broke his leg. Neve scored his team’s second and third tries in their 25-11 win over Poneke.

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Great to see former professional players giving back to the game at the Colts level. Recently retired Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes is helping to coach the Poneke Colts, while Mark Reddish is back at Ories and assisting the Ories Colts.

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Another former Hurricanes lock, Jeremy Thrush, is joining the Western Force to play some matches for them in their current series of matches. The Force team beat a Tonga side 47-17 over the weekend.

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Former Poneke captain and coach Richard Watt has signed on for another year at least with the Hurricanes. ForwardscoachWattand scrum coachDan Cron have committed to the 2019 group alongsidenext head coach John Plumtree and assistant Jason Holland.

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Old Boys University prop Mark Franklin answered the call on Saturday morning to play for the OBU Goats in the afternoon against Hutt Old Boys Marist. An inspired selection choice for an injured Jonathon Fuimaono, with the Goats winning the 48-16.

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Old Boys University have now won 18 of their last 21 matches at fortress Nairnville Park. The pine trees came down on the western side and there’s now nowhere to hide for visiting rugby sides and teenaged smokers alike.

If they win the Swindale Shield this year, it would be their third consecutive first round title. The last team to win three Swindale Shields in a row? Marist St Pat’s 1994-96. The last Old Boys University or forerunner club of OBU to win three titles in a row? University 1952-54.

A strong loose forward contingent at OBU, with players such as Will Tremain (Junior All Blacks), Sam Coventry, Davan Candy, Paddy Carter, Teariki Ben Nicholas, Cody Quinn and Will Mangos all fighting for positions.

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In recognition of Mothers’ Day on Sunday the Ories Premiers were ushered on to the field by their mums, influential females and/or people who are mother figures in their lives on Saturday.

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In Hawke’s Bay, Napier Old Boys Marist won the inaugural Nash Cup final, beating Napier Technical 59-10. NOBM won nine tries to one, with former Wellington club rugby players Mike Buckley (2) and Paul Bickle (1) and former St Pat’s Town First XV player Saia Paese (2) crossing for tries. This was NOBM’s 42nd confirmed kill in Hawke’s Bay Premier club rugby.

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Valentine Meachen's Feilding Yellow's side beat Kia Toa 16-15 and win the Manawatu First Round Trophy (also known as the Jubilee Cup!). This was the first time Fielding have won the first round since 2003 and Valentine was awarded Player of The Day.

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As reported in this column last week, the number of boys college teams in Wellington competitions has dropped from approximately 150 to 90 since 2010. Another statistic is that there were 30 teams in the WSSRU Grade in 1996 (at the dawn of the professional era) compared to seven in 2018. This could be a place to start looking for those interested in arresting this decline. And then compare what rugby is doing and how it is set up to cater for all types of young players and with other growth sports such as futsal.

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The Hurricanes play the Reds this coming Friday night at Westpac Stadium on their ‘Club’ night. Hurricanes players will be wearing their club socks and there will be club stuff being held around this match.

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A piece this morning online suggests that Coastal’s Jordie Barrett will be moving to second five-eighth for this match.

Have a story or some news or information? Email editor@clubrugby.co.nz

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