After a month of the Swindale Shield, Old Boys University and Tawa are the only unbeaten teams and it appears the OBU Goats should stay that way in week five if they play their cards right, hosting the Upper Hutt Rams in a second straight match for them at Wellington College, while Tawa face a tough assignment away to Hutt Old Boys Marist.
OBU beat Upper Hutt 35-13 and 48-0 in their two fixtures last year and have scored more points (167) than any other club this season. Looking strong across the paddock, No. 8 Shamus Langton scored two tries against Johnsonville and has been a real standout in the loose for the BillyGoats. He starts tomorrow off the bench, alongside Morgan Poi who will make his 50th Premier appearance for the club.
The Upper Hutt Rams are 2-2 and an upset will keep their playoff prospects flickering. The Rams burst out to a 26-0 lead in 20 minutes against Avalon but fizzled out and only won 33-17. Two tries by Josh Svenson was a highlight as was the strong from lock Jamie Norman, but the lack of focus for the best part of an hour could signal trouble. OBU also defend the Bill Brien Challenge Trophy tomorrow.
It’s likely Tawa will have to work much harder to preserve their unbeaten record against Hutt Old Boys Marist. Tawa were at their best last week putting Ories away 36-18. Wing Romu Senileba scored three tries and the young Tawa pack at times bullied the Magpies. The Eagles will be smarting after blowing a 24-3 lead to Norths to lose in the last minute.
Hurricanes Chase Tiatia and Salesi Rayasi made a big impact, but it was the Hutt forwards who faded after a strong start. Both games were close last year with Hutt winning the Swindale clash 25-24 and Tawa the Jubilee meeting 24-21.
At Kilbirnie Park, Galu Taufale celebrates his 100th match as Poneke hosts Petone in the F.J. Tilyard Memorial Trophy fixture. Petone are the present holders, but Poneke have won three of the last four and despite an average start will rise for one of their talisman. Petone impressed in ending Marist St Pats unbeaten run. Watch for openside Josh Southall and lock Dylan Williamson.
Across the road at Evans Bay Park, Marist St Pats hosts Oriental Rongotai. Typically, a fierce rivalry, MSP won 22-15 last season. The forwards battle will be dogged as MSP try and starve the bright and young Ories backs of possession. The two captains, both lock forwards, Tom Martin and Tuakana Meturau, are two of the best in the competition. Halfback Sean Hay plays his 100th match for Ories in this game too.
Paremata-Plimmerton have yet to register a point but will fancy their chances of knocking over the Wellington Axemen at Ngati Toa. They produced their best performance of the season in holding Poneke to 36-21. Kayden Muller scored two tries and Shane Hedges toiled bravely in his 100th match. Wellington went down to Wainuiomata and have injury concerns, especially in the forwards. Loosehead Ben Butler is having a good season. Wellington narrowly won the previous clash by 18-15.
Avalon showed second half heart against Upper Hutt with Jordan Aquilla and Ale Peni to the fore. TJ Va’a has made a welcome return to Wainuiomata as ten, while Dan Farani dons his boots to partner Dan Cherry at lock tomorrow.
Northern United salvaged their season with the late rally against HOBM. Three tries by Wellington Lions wing Losi Filipo was the dramatic difference. The Jubilee Cup champions put 77 on Wellington a fortnight ago and if the Johnsonville Hawks don’t show early resistance, a similar score could occur, although the inclusion of player-coach Roy Kinikinilau at centre will be a big boost. The two teams play for the Barlow Trophy tomorrow.
All matches kick-off at 2:45 pm. Home team listed first:
- Hutt Old Boys Marist v Tawa
- Johnsonville v Norths
- Marist St Pats v Ories
- OBU v Upper Hutt Rams
- Poneke v Petone
- Paremata-Plimmerton v Wellington
- Wainuiomata v Avalon
In fifth round Premier Reserve matches, the fixture between unbeaten Ories and defending champions Marist St Pats (one loss) in the Evans Bay Park curtain-raiser is the feature match.
Ories have won three of their four matches by a margin of inside five points and pipped Tawa 19-17 last week, while MSP lost to Norths in week one but have won three straight since and saw off Petone Blue 29-15 last Saturday.
On form, top ranking side Norths should be too strong for Johnsonville in the early match at Helston Park, while third place Tawa will want to bounce back to beat HOBM at the Hutt Rec.
Poneke and Petone have also won three from four, so their encounter at Kilbirnie will be one to follow as closely as that across the road at Evans Bay Park.
In other Harper Lock Shield matches tomorrow, OBU host Stokes Valley at Nairnville Park, Wainuiomata and Avalon meet at William Jones Park and Paremata-Plimmerton and the Petone Brotherhood contest the Ngati Toa Domain curtain-raiser.
The seven Premier Reserve matches all kick-off at 1.00pm.
The fifth round of the Premier Women’s competition sees defending champions Oriental Rongotai return from a fortnight off to face the Old Boys University Impalas at the Polo Ground.
Ories have been spectators for the past two weeks owing to a default and their bye last Saturday, while OBU beat Poneke last week 28-10 to register their first win of the year. For Ories, midfielder Fa’asua Makisi is set to play her 100th match.
Petone also had a forced day off last round owing to a default, so Black Fern Jackie Fereti-Patea should get the chance to play her 50th match for the side when they play Hutt Old Boys Marist at the Hutt Rec.
Poneke host Paremata-Plimmerton in the other Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy fixture, while Marist St Pats has the bye and Northern United win by default against Avalon.
All matches kick-off at 11.30am.
The fourth round of the Paris Memorial Trophy Colts competition sees OBU Green hosting the Upper Hutt Rams at Ian Galloway Park and Norths Blue travelling to Helston Park to play Johnsonville.
OBU Green and Norths Blue drew their season opener, while Norths Blue had a second draw last Saturday against HOBM Green. The Junior Eagles side are hosting Tawa on the Hutt Rec.
Poneke and Petone meet in an important mid-table contest on Kilbirnie Park, while Norths White and the Wellington Axemen play at Porirua Park.
OBU Black has the bye.
Kick-off in all Colts matches is 1.00pm.
In U85kg JC Bowl fourth round matches tomorrow, the Upper Hutt Rams have run rampant so far in scoring 156 points and conceding 11, but they have the bye.
The OBU Scallywags can overtake them at the top of the standings if they beat MSP with a bonus point at 1.00pm at MacAlister Park.
Defending champions Avalon can cement third spot or higher if they beat Poneke in the main match on Fraser Park at 2.45pm. The Wests Roosters host Wellington and HOBM host Eastbourne in two other 2.45pm kick-offs.
It’s the fourth round of the Reserve Grade Mike Copeland Trophy, with Ories, the Upper Hutt Rams J8s and the Poneke Ruffnuts the three unbeaten teams so far.
Ories travel to Ian Galloway Park to play the Wests Roosters Mixed Veges, the J8s play the OBU Righteous Pack at MacAlister Park and the Ruffnuts play the OBU Teddy Bears, also at Ian Galloway Park.
The Paremata-Plimmerton Punters are the only other side with two wins so far, and they are also away from home to the Wellington Axemen at Hataitai Park.
The other two Reserve Grade games are on Kilbirnie Park, with the OBU Pink Ginners and the UH Thirsty Rams and the OBU 69ers and UH Pirates sides playing side-by-side. The MSP Internationals have the bye.
All Reserve Grade contests kick-off at 2.45pm.