The Wellington U19s made it two from two in the Central Region Shield tournament and all but booked their spot in the ‘top 8’ for the upcoming Jock Hobbs Memorial U19 tournament in Taupo with a clinical 66-26 win over the Hurricanes Heartland U20s on Saturday.
The Wellington U19s ran in 10 tries and will win the title and seal top spot for the national tournament with victory over the Manawatu U19s this coming weekend.
In two Hurricanes Development Shield matches at the Hutt Recreation Ground, Wellington Maori beat Manawatu Development 35-21 and the Centurions Development team defeated the Wellington Samoans 31-28 in a fixture that doubled as a Festival Cup match.
The Wellington Pride played a pre-season match against the Hawke’s Bay Tuis in Ashhurst, winning 52-17. The Pride won eight tries to three on a heavy field. The Pride play the same side again this coming Saturday in the opening round of the Farah Palmer Cup Women’s NPC competition.
In club rugby, the Upper Hutt Rams J8s beat the Marist St Pat’s Internationals 15-12 to claim the John Davies Cup.
The Wellington U19s earned their second consecutive 40-point victory – but in contrasting circumstances to their win last Sunday against Hawke’s Bay, pulling clear in the second half after a tight first half.
Scores were locked at 12-12 with halftime approaching, with Wellington tries to centre Tisi Finau (Tawa) and fullback Todd Svenson (Upper Hutt Rams). But Wellington lock and captain Naitoa Ah-Kuoi (Marist St Pat’s) scored to put Wellington ahead 19-12 at the break.
Wellington came out fizzing in the second half and laid on a further eight tries to pull well clear. Only a couple of consolation tries to the visitors at the end pushed the final margin closer.
Wellington got good value out of their bench, with replacements Reuben Va’a (Oriental-Rongotai) and Tane Te Aho (Old Boys University) both scoring braces and Albert Polu (Hutt Old Boys University) crossing for one. Starting lock Taine Plumtree (Old Boys University) also scored two tries. First five-eighth Callum Harkin kicked eight conversions.
The Wellington U19s host Manawatu at Jerry Collins Stadium in their next match on Saturday, who lost to Hawke’s Bay 31-12 in the other Hurricanes U19 match.
In the first match of the afternoon at the Hutt Recreation Ground, the Wellington Maori produced a strong second half to beat the Manawatu Development team 35-21. This was their second win over this team in as many years.
Second five-eighth Jarrod Adams (Petone) scored their only try of the first half as they trailed 7-11 at halftime. They finished the first spell strongly and missed a couple of late opportunities, which they were to make up for early in the second half.
Openside flanker Jordan Gillies (HOBM) dived over a ruck after a sustained build-up to put the Maori ahead 14-11. This quickly became 21-11 when right wing Oakley Edmonds (Johnsonville) scored to the right of the posts following a turnover and off first phase Manawatu ball.
Manawatu scored again to close the gap to 21-16, but once again the Maori wrestled back the momentum and Adams scored his second try following a concerted build-up. Gillies then scored his second try, following another fumble by Manawatu’s inside backs off a defensive scrum and a turnover. Manawatu went coast to coast to score consolation try on fulltime.
The second match that followed was a thriller, with the Centurions Development side taking victory over the Wellington Samoans in the shadows of fulltime through a kick ahead and try 50 metres down field to Upper Hutt Rams hooker Josh Houston-Tupou.
The Samoans had just kicked a penalty to Petone halfback Carlos Price to re-take the lead that the Centurions had grabbed just before following the sinbinning of Samoans and Norths flanker Parekura Lalaga and a subsequent try to Tawa right wing Adam Preston, converted from the sideline by OBU five-eighth Dale Sabbagh.
Both teams shadowed each other throughout, after the Samoans had scored the game’s opening two tries, both to right wing Fereti Soloa. The HOBM flyer scored an intercept for his first try and then latched on to a run by MSP midfielder Isaiah Petelo for his second.
OBU flanker Daven Candy came up with a try for the Centurions, converted by Poneke first five-eighth Pakai Turia. The Centurions then drew level with a try to Petone centre Willie Fine following a Turia break. MSP pivot Fa’atonu Fili kicked a penalty to put the Samoans up 15-12 at halftime.
Fereti scored his third try of the match early in the second half, extending the Samoans’ lead to 20-12, but Fine replied with his second to cut their lead to 20-19. Samoans centre Losi Filipo (Petone) scored next to give the Samoans a 25-19 buffer, but it was not going to be enough as the match unravelled in the last 10 minutes.
In college rugby, all four of Wellington’s schools met defeats in their Hurricanes region knockout matches, ending their seasons.
Last Sunday’s Wellington champions St Pat’s Silverstream lost to last year’s national champions Hastings Boys’ High School 14-31 at Porirua Park, while runners-up St Pat’s Town lost by the same score, 14-31, to Napier Boys’ High School.
In the Hurricanes girls final, defending national champions St Mary’s College lost 33-38 to Manawatu school Manukura in the Hurricanes final. Manukura will represent the Hurricanes in the Top 4 tournament in a fortnight on home soil.
Wellington’s fourth school in action today was Aotea College, who missed out 10-53 to Feilding High School in the Hurricanes Co-ed Cup semi-final. Feilding will play Wairarapa College in next week’s Hurricanes Co-ed final after the latter beat Manawatu College 28-27 in the other semi-final.