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Off the Ball for 9 July

Jubilee Cup Premier | 09 July 2018 | Club Rugby

Off the Ball for 9 July

Above: The Norths Women's side beat Paremata-Plimmerton on Saturday to record their 11th straight win of the season. Elsewhere, the Avalon U85kg team won their 12th consecutive game in the first round of the Paul Potiki Shield.

Off the Ball is in association with Rob Law Max, Lovelocks Sports Bar,  Motor Doctors and Sarah 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.

A wet and wild weekend continues into the start of this week, but the good news is the clouds break for a fair forecast over the next few days leading into Saturday. The most accurate forecasting site is this one here 

There is no rugby during this coming this week until Friday when the Junior Interzone Rep tournament gets underway at Maidstone Park, featuring intermediate age teams from Hutt Valley, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Western Bays and Wellington City. This tournament starts on Friday and concludes on Sunday.

On Friday night at Porirua Park there is a match between a Porirua Combined Colleges and Eastern Suburbs Combined Colleges side. More details of this later in the week.

The sixth and penultimate round of Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup matches kick off on Saturday afternoon.

In the Jubilee Cup, Marist St Pat’s are unable to make this year’s semi-finals and Tawa find themselves needing two bonus point wins and other results going their way to qualify. So assuming Tawa are also out of contention the equation in the final fortnight is five teams chasing four semi-final spots and two home ground berths.

The Hardham Cup also sees five teams chasing four playoff spots in the final fortnight of the regular season. Paremata-Plimmerton and the Avalon Wolves are too far back to make the top four and will be playing for pride only over the next two weekends.

With school holidays, the College Premiership takes a break over the coming two weekends. The Hurricanes U18 camp is in Napier this week and features 15 Wellington First XV players. The Hurricanes U18 squad then travels to Taupo on Saturday to be split into two teams to play matches against the Blues U18s.

It’s also the business end of the season for many competitions throughout the country, with semi-finals and even finals in some provinces as soon as this coming weekend.

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The Hurricanes face the Chiefs on Friday night in Hamilton in their final match of the regular season. The Hurricanes arrested three straight losses with a 42-24 win over the Blues in Wellington on Saturday.

Second five-eighth Ngani Laumape became the second Hurricanes player to score four tries in a Super Rugby match after teammate Ben Lam earlier this season.

Laumape became the 16th player in the history of the competition to score four tries in a match, the list being:

Joe Roff (for the Brumbies, in 1996)
Gavin Lawless (Sharks, 1996)
Stefan Terblanche (Sharks, 1996)
Joeli Vidiri (Blues, 2000)
Doug Howlett (Blues, 2002 – against the Hurricanes)
Mils Muliaina (Blues, 2002)
Caleb Ralph (Crusaders, 2002)
Sitiveni Sivivatu (Chiefs, 2009)
Drew Mitchell (Waratahs, 2010)
Sean Maitland (Crusaders, 2011)
Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs, 2012)
Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs, 2016)
Huw Jones (Stormers, 2016)
Courtnall Skosan (Lions, 2017)
Ben Lam (Hurricanes, 2018)
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes, 2018)

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Captain Brad Shields became the 14th player to reach the milestone of 100 Super Rugby matches for the Hurricanes on Saturday. The list is:

RLM

Tana Umaga
Rodney So'oialo
Ma'a Nonu
Andrew Hore
Neemia Tialata
Conrad Smith
Jeremy Thrush
Cory Jane
Victor Vito
Julian Savea
Dane Coles
Beauden Barrett
TJ Perenara
Brad Shields

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The Hurricanes win was their seventh consecutive triumph against the Blues and their 21st win in 22 games at Westpac Stadium.

Elsewhere, Argentina's Jaguares qualified for the Super Rugby playoffs for the first time despite losing to the Bulls 34-43 and ending their seven-match winning streak on Saturday.

The Waratahs clinched first place in the Australian conference, and New Zealand's Hurricanes, Chiefs, and Highlanders all ensured their playoff spots.

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The Waratahs left wing Taqele Naiyaravoro is a beast and few would relish him running towards them. According to the Waratahs site he is 195cm tall and 123kg, but this would be after a 10km run in the morning and a salad for lunch. He would be destructive in the Jubilee Cup.

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In club rugby, It was noted that former Hurricanes and All Blacks halfback and now Petone Premier assistant coach Piri Weepu laced up for a game on Saturday. Weepu played about 30 minutes at first five-eighth for the Petone Premier Reserves in their 61-5 win over Paremata-Plimmerton. This was the third Wellington club he has played for, after starting his career with HOBM and then moving to Wainuiomata.

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Johnsonville right wing Waisea Yabakivou scored his team’s only try on Saturday to take his second round tally to 6 tries and be the leading Premier try-scorer of the second round. He has scored six tries in four games after failing to score any in his previous 11 appearances in 2017 and earlier in 2018.

Overall, the leading try-scorers this season are:

Luca Rees (Ories) 18
Chris Aumua (Avalon) 12
Jarrod Adams (Petone) 12
Esi Komaisavai (Norths) 10
Nick Robertson (Poneke) 10
James Tuia (MSP) 10
Kalim Kelemete (Tawa) 10
Isaia Petelo (MSP) 10
Jerome Harimate (HOBM) 10

The leading points scorers this season are:

Glen Walters (HOBM) 177
Dale Sabbagh (OBU) 162
James So’oialo (Tawa) 160
Tyler Tane (Upper Hutt Rams) 156
Perry Hayman (Norths) 134
Justin Wilson (Wainuiomata) 120
Pakai Turia (Poneke) 116

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Club Rugby is interested in introducing a new ‘rookie of the season’ award. Initially, this will be in name only, but a trophy for the winner could be minted in future. This accolade will be for the first year school leaver who has made the most impact in Premier rugby in his debut season. The qualification is they must have played in at least 10 Swindale-Jubilee-Hardham matches in their first year out of school and the winner will be determined by vote amongst our contributors. If anyone wants to assist with this or nominate a player please get in touch

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St Pat’s Silverstream beat Scots College 17-7 in their top-of-the-table First XV Premiership fixture on Saturday. This was Silverstream’s 18th consecutive win, after trailing at halftime for the first time since 2016 in a Wellington competition match.

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In the Bay of Plenty, former OBU halfback and Wellington U19 captain Luke Campbell captained his Te Puke Sports side to a 64-21 win over Rotoiti in Bay of Plenty Baywide competition on Saturday. This was Te Puke’s sixth straight second round Baywide competition win and they have all but seciured the top qualifier’s position with two rounds to play before the semi-finals.

Former Marist St Pat’s hooker Valentine Meachen has moved from Manawatu to Bay of Plenty and is playing for Greerton Marist. His side lost 15-21 to Mount Maunganui who featured another former MSP player in Solomona Sakalia at loosehead prop.

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Also missed by some is the loss of another hooker outside the region, with HOBM rake Ben Power having shifted to Hawke’s Bay to join their squad for the upcoming NPC season.

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There are five and a bit weeks to go before the start of this year’s NPC. Wellington’s first game is against Otago at home on Sunday 19 August at 2.05pm

UPDATE to this entry: this was originally reported as good news, having the Lions open their season at a fan and family friendly time and day. However, it has since been pointed out that the Wellington First XV Premiership final is scheduled for Sunday 19 August at 2.40pm at Porirua Park, so this is, in fact, appalling scheduling. Logically, the kick-off time of one will have to be moved as this clash is unacceptable for local rugby fans. 

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The Mullany brothers, Greg and Matt, were on the receiving end of a 3-77 loss to Hong Kong in their return World Cup qualifier yesterday. Having lost 3-26 to them in their first match in Rarotonga, they were no match for the home side who ran clear in the seond half to qualify for the RWC in Japan next year.

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Some star power in Queensland club rugby on Saturday, with former AFL, NRL and Wallabies utility back Karmichael Hunt joining Quade Cooper in Souths side in the Premier competition. Hunt was involved in the final try that locked up scores at 24-24 against Bond University but Cooper couldn’t convert the winner from the sideline.

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The Maori All Blacks will play their first ever matches against Chile and Brazil in November, as a tour to South America.

The matches will round out the Maori All Blacks end of year tour schedule which kicks off in Chicago. The Maori All Blacks will kick off their tour as the finale match against the USA Eagles men in a historic triple header with the Black Ferns playing the USA Eagles women and Ireland playing Italy. Roger Randle and Joe Maddock have joined Head Coach Clayton McMillan assistant coaches.

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Finally, a new study has found that the most common foods sold at sports venues across New Zealand are classed as junk food. The study funded by the Health Research Council reported that fried foods and chocolate dominated in foods sold. Researchers looked at 31 rugby and 20 netball venues for the study. They found that of the venues that sold food, 68 percent of all food sold at the netball venues was classed as junk food and 62 per cent of the food sold at rugby venues. The conclusion is that healthy nutrition options in sports clubs are urgently needed. Club Rugby loves a punnet of chips and a chocolate bar at Porirua Park and the Petone Rec etc.

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