The Wellington U85kg Centurions representative side is in action in Nelson this weekend in the first of two away matches to come to complete their post club rugby campaign.
The U85kg side are playing the Tasman U18s at Trafalgar Park Nelson, building up to their big match in a fortnight in Palmertson North against the Waikato U85kgs.
The side has been brought back this year after a season in abeyance, owing to other U85kg representative teams playing in a northern tournament that excluded the Centurions.
This year’s representative season will see the side play four games. They have already played two, against the Centurion U18s and against an U85kg Barbarian team.
The first fixture against the Centurions U18s was played a week after the U85kg first and second division finals and with only two trainings under our belt they were defeated 28-19.
The second game was against the U85kg Barbarian team was played last weekend on Porirua Park. Damian Austin, a current player for the Avalon wolves U85kg team, selected players who are on the fringe of making the Centurions team. They were coached by Bruce Chase and Alberto Morrone. After two trainings the Barbarians started our very strong and playing a typical barbarians style game running the ball from everywhere and taking every chance they had. The centurions moved into their structures better as the game progressed to see out a 41-0 victory. The Centurions were also trialling four new players due to injuries.
This week the Centurions travel to Nelson via ferry Saturday morning to face the Tasman U18s on Trafalgar Park, kick-off 3.30pm. The team is very excited about this opportunity that doesn’t come around often. Being able to run on a field that was ghosted by the All Blacks only a week ago has heightened the senses of the players and sharpened minds as they prepare for this game. With a field of this calibre they are sure to showcase what the U85kg division is all about when it comes to speed, movement of the ball and the usage of space.
On Saturday 29 September they travel up to Palmerston North to play Waikato for “The Gallon Cup”, a traditional that started in 2015 when the Centurions won on the first encounter.
The Wellington team will look to defend the cup this year. This will be their only official game against an U85kg representative team and the one they are really aiming for.
Currently Waikato are placed in the middle of the table of six teams playing in the northern tournament which has two senior development teams in Thames Valley and King country, so they will be very confident around the contact area.
This year’s team has comprised of players from the top four teams in the U85kg Division One and the two finalists of Division Two. They have also included a couple of players playing in the Premier grade who are eligible through their weight to boost the team as they play open weight U18 teams.
The Wellington Centurions U85kg team for this weekend is:
1. Peter Dolan – Kapiti
2. Brett Hodgetts – Avalon
3. Arthur Flux – Avalon (C)
4. Gano Perez – Avalon
5. Glyn Rollander – Kapiti
6. Logan Blake – Avalon Premiers
7. Sam Tuala – Avalon
8. Chris Porteous – Eastbourne
9. Jeremy Hargreaves – Wellington Premiers
10. Mike Campbell – Tawa
11. Tynan Barrett – Upper Hutt Rams
12. Shane Mathie – Johnsonville
13. Jacob Walmsley – Johnsonville Premiers
14. Tane Heremaia – Tawa
15. Siite Timu – Avalon
16. Gareth Stokes – Avalon
17. Paddy Crombie – Upper Hutt Rams
18. Jack Coles – Petone Premier Reserves
19. Bill Drummond – Avalon
20. Matt Jackett – Avalon
21. Rawiri Atkins – Johnsonville
22. Makea Pokere - Avalon
Players injured/unavailable or who are part of the wider squad
Tony Natoli - Tawa (VC)
Eugene Grant – Upper Hutt
Tyler Winterburn - Kapiti
Dale McNamara - Kapiti
Mohi TeOne - Kapiti
Matt Jack – Eastbourne
Head Coach: Makea Pokere (Wellington club coach of the year finalist) – Avalon
Assistant Coach: Dan Berry – Wellington Axemen Premiers
Assistant Coach/Manager: Jayden Parata – Kapiti