Despite his team not being involved in the Jubilee Cup or Hardham Cup semi-finals or final, Greg Foe has won the 2018 Best & Fairest competition.
Foe finished the season on 23 points in the Billy Wallace competition,which is named after the former Poneke and Wellington fullback who toured with the famous ‘Originals’ All Blacks in 1905.
Foe could have been run down by Chase Tiatia, who collected a point in Hutt Old Boys Marist’s semi-final last weekend to finish on 21. The Eagles lost that game 26-41 to Northern United so that was Tiatia’s final game.
As it transpired, Foe wrapped up the competition three weeks ago – not collecting any points from his team’s final two matches, which included a 50-33 slaying of HOBM and two tries for him that day. In fact, Foe effectively won the competition in the first round, his only points in the Jubilee Cup coming from his side’s fifth round 18-14 win over Old Boys University.
Foe, who missed the entire representative season last year with a broken arm, played every match for Poneke this season and all but one of these at No. 8. He had five Player of the Day performances in the Swindale Shield round.
Similarly, Upper Hutt Rams hooker and No. 8 Josh Houston-Tupou was right in the competition and finished with 17 points – but didn’t collect any points in his team’s final three matches. He missed his team’s final two round-robin games through injury and returned off the bench in the Rams extra time semi-final loss to Petone on Saturday, so a fully fit Houston-Tupou could have won this year as well as helped his Rams side to the Hardham Cup final.
Below Houston-Tupou, the players with the next most points were a pair of openside flankers on 14, Du Plessis Kirifi from Northern United and Logan Blake from the Avalon Wolves.
Kirifi is involved in this week’s final so can yet add to his points tally. Other players high up on the Best & Fairest ladder playing in the finals this week, include OBU lock-flanker-midfielder Will Mangos (13), Norths first five-eighth Jackson Garden-Bachop (12) and Petone pair Tupou Sopoagaand Kaliopasi Uluiakepa (both 10).
Of note, the four players that were awarded 3 points in the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup semi-finals were Norths flanker and captain Parekura Lalaga, OBU left wing Te Wehi Wright,Wainuiomata right wing Peter Umaga-Jensen and Upper Hutt Rams prop Nev Apineru.
With just the two finals to play, a total of 202 players earned Best & Fairest points on at least one occasion this season. 110 players earned points on one occasion only, including 30 players who were awarded the Player of the Day once and and that was their only points of the competition.
This year’s selectors have been the match officials (previously Dominion Post writers) This year the competition was re-incorporated to include players from both the Jubilee Cup and Hardham Cup teams afterthe Dominion Post had dropped coverage of the Hardham Cup in recent seasons.
The Billy Wallace Best and Fairest competition has been running continuously in Wellington club rugby since 1966. The first winner was then All Blacks flanker Tom Lister of the now defunct Athletic club. Last year the competition was jointly won by Tawa’s Hemi Fermanis and Wainuiomata’s Ben Tupuola, who was also a previous winner.
Billy Wallace competition team of the season
A Best & Fairest starting XV based on most competition points awarded throughout the 2018 Premier club season is below.
Where two or more players in the same position are on the same points, the tiebreaker used is who was in the highest finishing team (1 to 14). This year, this has been used just once where Du Plessis Kirifi is the openside flanker ahead of Logan Blake from Avalon. Kirifi also has one more match to play.
Where possible, players have been selected in their usual or familiar positions, i.e Josh Houston-Tupou is this teams hooker where he played nine matches this year (also No. 8) and Wills Mangos is at blindside flanker where he also played nine matches for OBU this year (as well as No. 8, second five-eighth, centre and lock). An exception is Chase Tiatia, who slots in at centre here, having made just three of his 10 starts for HOBM there this season (as well as second five-eighth and fullback).
15. Trent Renata (Oriental-Rongotai)
14. Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)* 13. Chase Tiatia (Hutt Old Boys Marist) 12. Kalim Kelemete (Tawa)
11. Chris Aumua (Avalon Wolves) 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United)*
9. Esi Komaisavaii (Northern United)*
8. Greg Foe (Poneke) 7. Du Plessis Kirifi (Northern United)*
6. Will Mangos (Old Boys University)* 5. Hemi Fermanis (Tawa)
4. Alex Dalzell (Wellington)
3. Kaliopasi Uluiakepa (Petone)*
2. Josh Houston-Tupou (Upper Hutt Rams)
1. Nev Apineru (Upper Hutt Rams)
*Team playing in the finals this coming Saturday.