Wellington Under-19 will head to Taupo as top qualifiers

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The Wellington U19s have finished their preparations for the upcoming National U19s tournament which starts in Taupo next Sunday with a  64-19 victory over the Manawatu U19s in their third and final Hurricanes region seeding tournament fixture at Jerry Collins Stadium.


The Wellington U19s won the Central Region Shield for the 17th time, to qualify top from the Hurricanes region and will contest the top eight Graham Mourie Cup in Taupo. The tournament is a quarter-finals, semi-finals and final knockout format and Wellington will play the second placed Chiefs qualifier Taranaki in their quarter-final next Sunday.


The Centurions U18s also started their Hurricanes U18 competition with a 57-7 win over the Horowhenua-Kapiti U18s in Levin.


These two wins were the standouts of Wellington’s representative teams on Saturday, with the Wellington Pride, Wellington Samoans and Wellington Maori teams all missing out on the road.


In Palmerston North, the Wellington Samoans lost 31-32 to the Manawatu Development team, while in Napier the Wellington Pride lost 22-25 to the Hawke’s Bay Tuis and the Wellington Maori met a 15-96 defeat to the Hawke’s Bay Development side.


The Centurions Development team had the bye amongst the other Development Shield teams. They play the Hawke’s Bay Saracens this coming Saturday in Napier, while the Samoans and Maori clash at Porirua Park.


There was just one representative match in Wellington on Saturday, with the Wellington U19s registering their third sizable win in succession following victories over the Hawke’s Bay U19S 47-7 and the Hurricanes Heartland U20s 66-26.


Wellington led 26-12 at halftime and finished with a flourish, scoring their last 31 points unanswered. Manawatu competed well in patches, but their lineout misfired and they were left to rue costly turnovers.

In just the second minute, Hutt Old Boys Marist centre Albert Polu burst through the defence from halfway and set up a try for Upper Hutt Rams fullback Todd Svenson under the posts.

Manawatu then enjoyed a long period in possession, and should have scored. Instead, Svenson had a double after 15 minutes after another breakout and mix up by the Manawatu defender on the line.


Manawatu halfback Griffin Cluver made a blindside run from a scrum that led to a try in the corner for No.8 Powhere Kershaw. 

A third Wellington try to Old Boys University hooker Tane Te Aho pushed the locals 19-7 ahead, but Kershaw and Cluver combined again to make it 19-12.

On the stroke of halftime, Polu made another damaging run from a quick tap penalty by Northern United second five-eighth Kienan Higgins to score again. This was Wellington’s bonus point try.

Wellington lock-turned No. 8 Caleb Delaney scored from close range extended Wellington’s advantage to 33-12, but Manawatu replacement back Trevhan Ta’ufo’ou ran down a chip kick to reduce the deficit to 33-19.

Wellington made changes off the bench and the game opened up. Old Boys University right wing Tai Neli scored a try by collecting a cross-kick by Wellington Axemen flyhalf Callum Harkin. Poneke’s DJ Taoipu ran 20-metres untouched.  Higgins finished a long build up before Old Boys University’s Delaney had the final say.


Hawke’s Bay beat the Hurricanes Heartland team 55-24 in the other Hurricanes U19s match on Saturday.


At Playford Park, Levin, the Centurions U18s enjoyed a 50-point win over the Horowhenua-Kapiti U18s, with Scots College No. 8 Eparama Sailo scoring a hat-trick,  Scots College centre Sage Shaw-Tait and replacement HVHS back Nathan Tanuvasa scoring braces and St Pat’s Town lock Liam McAree and Wellington College left wing Reuben Pukey scoring a try each.


The Wellington Pride lost 22-25 to the Hawke’s Bay Tuis in their Women’s NPC Farah Palmer Cup season opener in Napier.


The Pride led 10-8 at halftime, but made too many mistakes that put themselves under needless pressure. Tries were scored by captain and Petone halfback Accacia Te Iwimate, Avalon blindside flanker Kiri Mei and Petone left wing Sieni Mose. Oriental-Rongotai first five-eighth Amanda Rasch kicked a penalty and two penalties.


Also in Napier, the Wellington Maori side went down 15-96 to the Hawke’s Bay Saracens Development team.


The Maori found themselves down 8-43 at halftime and continued to leak points as the second half unravelled.


In Palmerston North, the Wellington Samoans missed out 31-32 to the Manawatu Development Evergreens. Petone prop Ryan Imrie and Johnsonville No. 8 Mykel Herewini were try-scorers.


The Wellington Samoans scored five tries, two to Ories wing Malachai Unasa and one each to captain and HOBM No. 8 Lise Soloa, HOBM Fereti Soloa on the wing and Marist St Pat’s loose forward option Matt Peni. MSP first five-eighth Fa’atonu Fili kicked three conversions.


The Samoans shot out to a 14-0 lead and took a 19-10 lead into halftime with the advantage of the wind at their backs. Manawatu scored three tries early in the second half and then held on to their one-point lead over the final several minutes.