Waikato picked up their third win of the season against North Harbour in tricky conditions, winning 22-16 in Albany on Saturday.
Rising star Damian McKenzie was on-song with the boot, kept in a kicking battle with North Harbour fly-half Matt McGahan as both players knocked over eight penalties between them.
The New Zealand U20 star signed a three-year deal with the Chiefs this month and went well in torrid conditions, on a night for keeping it tight rather than playing wide.
A slippery ball and high number of handling errors didn’t exactly come as a huge surprise.
David Raikuna’s opening try for the hosts epitomised the scrap, the wing chipping over the defence and putting Albert Nikoro in a torrid position as the bouncing ball skidded across the wet turf. Raikuna was the first man to get hands to the ball and score.
McKenzie opened his account with a 45-metre strike before two quickfire penalties against North Harbour for being offside helped him put Waikato ahead at 9-7.
Both number tens traded further penalties before one of them eventually missed, McKenzie wide of the mark ahead of half-time.
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna however ensured Waikato did take some points into the dressing room as he crashed over from close range, McKenzie converting for a 19-10 half-time lead.
The second half though was all about North Harbour; McGahan rising to the challenge with two penalties as Waikato repeatedly infringed.
All Blacks scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow was brought off the bench to settle things down but Harbour continued their assault either side of McKenzie’s fifth penalty.
Pressed to defend on their own line, Waikato eventually lost Tameifuna to the sin-bin for an offence under the posts (after an unsubtle push on referee Glen Jackson) as Harbour patiently waited for their chance. Bryn Hall’s knock-on however brought their best chance to an end.
Heroic defence from Waikato, enough to secure a valuable win.
For North Harbour: Try: Raikuna Con: McGahan Pens: McGahan 3
North Harbour: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Niko Ratumaitavuki, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Bryn Hall (c), 8 Jim Tuivaiti, 7 Zak Judge, 6 Jordan Manihera, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Mike Farmer, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Greg Pleasants Tate. Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Adrian Smith, 18 Brandon Nansen, 19 Mario Ozich, 20 David Bason, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Luke Devcich.
Waikato: 15 Albert Nikoro, 14. Declan O’Donnell, 13 Chauncy Edwardson, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Adam Burn, 7 Zak Hohneck, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Jacob Skeen, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Loni Uhila. Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell. 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Nick Ross, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Wharenui Hawera, 22 Regan War
What a great day for Otago rugby. In the space of three hours today, the Southern side announced themselves as contenders in the ITM Championship with a convincing win over the Southland Stags and discovered they will be odds-on favourites to host the Ranfurly Shield in two weeks’ time with an unexpected chance to pinch the trophy off Hawke’s Bay in Napier.
It was a scintillating southern derby, the 238th meeting between the two sides, and ultimately won by the team with the most fight. After a free flowing open start, it became tight and tense in the second half and Otago stood tallest in the small moments that matters.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. After cruising at 33-17 with 25 minutes to go Otago made it a nervy finish when Thomas Franklin got sent to the bin for a stray elbow and the home side then conceded a try.
Thankfully for Otago, the numbers were leveled moments later when the referee made a bizarre call to sinbin Southland No 8 Elliot Dixon for using a knee in a tackle, despite replays showing no such offence.
It was a pivotal call that took the power out of Southland’s late game counter punch and Otago were able to navigate a scrappy final 20 minutes to get over the line comfortably with an eleven-point buffer.
The TAB couldn’t separate the two teams pre-match and they both showed enough to suggest they will be thereabouts come the end of the season.
Otago defended resolutely and showed glimpses of brilliance across the backline while Southland looked dangerous whenever they ran the ball.
The first half lived up to the great Southern hype. Four tries in the first 30 minutes set a blazing pace and the quality of play, and refereeing (bar one strange call), was pleasant on the eye.
Southland first-five Lima Sopoaga was the standout performer. His bag of tricks included subtle no look passes, explosive pace, precision kicking and a sexy double-pump, cut-out pass.
Rugby Southland are financially limited but their off-season decision to recruit a player of Sopoaga’s class to run the show at first five-eighth was a great one, and it is a formula that looks like it will have rich rewards.
The first 40 minutes also served up two try of the year contenders. Southland’s second try scored by Mark Jackman showed teamwork and timing of the highest order, while Otago’s first, scored by Teihorangi Walden was created by one of the smartest chip and chases from Trent Renata you are likely to see all season.
Otago first-five Hayden Parker had a wild night with the boot, kicking seven goals, but also hitting the post and missing on two occasions.
The Turbos have got their season back on track with a 27-21 win at Westpac Stadium tonight, recording their second win in three games, while Wellington, the 2013 Premiership finalists, are without a victory so far this campaign.
It was simple stuff by Manawatu in the end, who clearly grew as the match progressed, with young playmaker Otere Black impressing with a 22-point haul.
Where is New Zealand finding all of these first five-eighths?
Wellington are close to crisis after this one, their second straight loss against an ITM Cup Championship side means that the Lions will finish the third round on the bottom of the Premiership table.
Their only consolation is that they earned their first competition point of the season by finishing within seven points of the Turbos.
The victory, Manawatu’s first win over Wellington since August 2011, will keep Jason O’Halloran happy and ensure the Turbos remain in contention ahead of their clash with Bay of Plenty next round.
The game started with Wellington showing plenty of promise, but as it has been all season so far, early glimpses resulted in little without the proper finishing.
Lions coach Chris Boyd would have cut a frustrated figure as he watched his team run up an early lead only to be overrun.
Penalties to Jason Woodward in the 3rd and 19th minute opened the game’s account, but Manawatu’s Black replied with two penalties of his own in the final ten of the first half.
At halftime the match seemed evenly poised at 6-6.
Wellington came out firing in the second half, but again all of the intent in the world was not going to add points to the Lions register.
Woodward struck over a penalty goal in the 48th minute, but that would be the last time the home side would hold the lead.
Black would score after a great period from Manawatu where their passing game, unlike the hosts, would stick to devastating effect, with the forwards getting involved as the tourists took the lead for the first time.
A further penalty to Black followed by a try to Jamie Booth would appear to put the match out of reach.
However Wellington were willing, with Woodward and Tolu Fahamokioa scoring within five minutes of each other to make it a 24-21 ball game to Manawatu with just six minutes remaining.
One final penalty goal to Black however would seal the win for the green and whites.
Wellington’s next match is against Auckland at Eden Park.
All Blacks Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua and Charles Piutau will start for Auckland this weekend in the team’s first home match against Tasman (Sunday, 4.35pm).
Auckland Coach Paul Feeney has made just two other injury-enforced changes to his side that got a bonus point victory over Manawatu last weekend.
“We were poor against Canterbury so come away from Manawatu with five points was pleasing. The first 20 minutes were good, in the middle 40 there were a few too many errors and we know that so I think we’ve made improvements but still have plenty to do,” said Feeney.
The inclusion of Faumuina, Luatua and Piutau has been a boost to the team.
“It’s great to have them. Those three inject some enthusiasm and confidence and they’ve been a big part of our group for a couple of years so they get along with the boys and they enjoy coming back and playing for Auckland.”
The other changes see Hadleigh Parkes and Liaki Moli rested due to injury, with Francis Saili moving in to second five-eighths and William Lloyd promoted for his first start in an Auckland jersey.
Feeney said the high-flying Tasman will present a tough challenge on Sunday.
“We love playing at home but know Tasman is a very good side, they have attacking weapons all over the park. They’ve scored something like 11 tries in two games so we know we’re in for a battle.”
Players will celebrate Schools Day by playing in their 1st XV socks on Sunday.
Eden Park, 4.35pm kick off
1. Sam Prattley (Nelson College)
2. Tom McCartney (c) (Howick College)
3. Charlie Faumuina (Papatoetoe High School)
4. William Lloyd (Orewa College)
5. Jack Whetton (Rosmini College)
6. Steven Luatua (Mt Albert Grammar School)
7. Sean Polwart (Sacred Heart)
8. Peter Saili (St Peter’s College)
9. Junior Poluleuligaga (De La Salle College)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Rosmini College)
11. Vince Aso (St Peter’s College)
12. Francis Saili (St Peter’s College)
13. George Moala (Tamaki College)
14. Ben Lam (St Peter’s College)
15. Charles Piutau (Wesley College)
16. Gafatasi Su’a (Mt Albert Grammar)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Mangere College)
18. Joe Edwards (Saint Kentigern College)
19. Nepia Fox Matamua (St Peter’s College)/Blake Gibson (Saint Kentigerns)
20. Leon Fukofuka (Kelston Boy’s High School)
21. Lolagi Visinia (Kelston Boy’s High School)
22. Simon Hickey (King’s College)
The International Rugby Board will become World Rugby from November 19, 2014 as part of a major rebranding programme.
The new brand, including a new logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17-18.
Global Rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB’s development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and Rugby’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.
With Rugby aspiring to inspire and engage new audiences and players around the world, the rebrand reflects the organisation’s mission to build a stronger connection with fans, players and new audiences worldwide.
The rebrand will have no impact on Rugby World Cup 2015 branding or positioning, which will remain as it is with its iconic logo throughout the current event cycle.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby continues to thrive, reach out and engage new audiences and participants in record numbers and the IRB has been at the heart of that growth.”
“We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement.”
IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper added: “In a crowded global entertainment and sporting marketplace, the role of the IRB has evolved from Game regulator to Game inspirer.”
“With this we must continue to appeal to those who know and love the sport and its heritage, while attracting, engaging and inspiring those who have no connection with the sport across multiple cultures and languages around the world.”
“World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that. Rugby’s global appeal is founded and positioned on its unique character-building values and inclusive ethos and we want everyone to feel connected with the sport and Rugby’s ongoing success story.”
“World Rugby clearly aligns our name with our mission and allows us to organise new and existing consumer facing properties in a way that they will be more impactful and more appealing to the sport’s growing global fan base.”
Joe Moody and Colin Slade will start for Canterbury in Thursday’s clash with Northland in Christchurch.
Moody and Slade have been released from All Black duty and are two of the 12 changes to Canterbury coach Scott Robertson’s starting XV.
Moody will pack down alongside Ben Funnell and Nepo Laulala in the front row while Slade starts at fly-half.
Joel Everson and Matt Symons will pair up at lock and Tom Sanders comes into the number six jersey to make his starting debut. Nasi Manu will play his first game of the season, wearing number eight and also leading the team.
Willi Heinz will take a spot on the bench to give Mitchell Drummond his first start at scrum-half. The wings will be occupied by Milford Keresoma and Rob Thompson, with Adam Whitelock at inside centre.
Jack Goodhue makes his starting debut at outside centre and Richie Mo’unga is at full-back. JJ Manning and Nathaniel Apa are set to make their Canterbury debuts if they come off the bench.
Meanwhile, Northland have made just one change to their starting XV after their 35-5 victory over Wellington at the weekend. Ross Wright comes into the front row for Matt Talaese.
Wright will start at loosehead while Namatahi Waa, who wore the number one jersey against Wellington, shifts to tighthead. Wright’s elevation to the run-on side means Howard Silioto comes on to the bench.
The only other change sees Latiume Fosita replacing Brook Gilmore as one of the backline replacements.
Canterbury: 15 Richie Mo’unga, 14 Rob Thompson, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Adam Whitelock, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 Jed Brown, 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joel Everson, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody. Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 JJ Manning, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Nathaniel Apa, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Northland: 15 Mathew Wright, 14 Filipo Nakosi, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Troy Gilbert, 11 Jone Macilai, 10 Dan Hawkins, 9 Tane Takulua, 8 Cam Eyre (c), 7 Jack Ram, 6 Dan Pryor, 5 Tom Murday, 4 Shane Neville, 3 Namatahi Waa, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Ross Wright.
Replacements: 16 Howard Silioto, 17 Will Griff John, 18 Michael Stolberg, 19 Kara Pryor, 20 Kurt Davis, 21 Latiume Fosita, 22 Warren Dunn.
Date: Thursday, August 28 Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT) Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch Referee: Aki Aso
For the first time in the tournament’s history, the All Black Sevens are set to compete in Oceania’s regional Sevens competition.
The Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) has announced that the 2014 Oceania Sevens will be played on 3-4 October, alongside the Noosa International Sevens on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
One week before the kick-off of the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series, on 11-12 October on the Gold Coast, the regional showpiece provides the perfect preparation and launch pad.
The New Zealanders join fellow World Series men’s core teams Fiji, Australia and Samoa, who are the reigning champions having beaten Fiji 31-17 in Suva in the 2013 final.
In addition to a high-class men’s event, seven teams will compete in the women’s tournament, including Women’s Sevens World Series champions New Zealand and runners-up Australia. Fiji, who caused the upset of the tournament last year by beating New Zealand in the semi-finals, will be looking to go one better in 2014 after losing to Australia 22-5 in the final.
The strength of the tournament reflects the growing rise of Sevens rugby across the world as the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games tournament edges closer.
While in 2015 the Oceania Sevens will be a direct qualifier for one team into the Olympics, the 2014 tournament offers a route onto this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series. The top performing non-core men’s team will play at the Wellington and Hong Kong rounds of the Series in 2015, while in Hong Kong they will also be joined by the second-ranked non-core team.
The top four nations in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series will qualify directly for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Huge potential for Olympic medals
IRB General Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright, stated: “FORU would very much like to thank hosts, the Noosa International Sevens. FORU is delighted to be a part of this wonderful Sevens carnival and this year we are delivering the strongest ever Oceania Sevens. Oceania is home to some of the world’s best Sevens teams including New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and Samoa.
“The Oceania Sevens is therefore a very important event for the region. It will also act as an Olympic qualifying event in its own right next year and is part of FORU’s Pacific Podium initiative. A collaborative high performance strategy for maximising medals for Member Unions at the 2016 Rio Games.
“The Pacific Islands have only ever won one medal in the history of Olympic competition. However, FORU, in conjunction with Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), recognises the potential of the Oceania teams to win Rugby Sevens medals in 2016 and the programme seeks to harness this competitive advantage and counter-act the far greater financial resources that are being committed by other regions to prepare for Rio 2016,” added Glenwright.
The Noosa International 7s Festival was established in 2010 and has since grown to become Australia’s premier rugby Sevens event outside of the IRB Series. The 2013 Festival generated unprecedented interest including the introduction of the inaugural Open School boy’s and girl’s tournament – an exciting development for the growth of the annual festival.
“We’re delighted to incorporate the FORU Oceania Sevens into this year’s Noosa International Sevens,” said Event Director Dene Brooks.
“I can guarantee a warm welcome and a great weekend of action for all the teams and fans that join us on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. With our excellent facilities, experienced organisers and an army of volunteers, Noosa will show why it has become the sevens festival that every team wants to be part of,” he added.
FORU Oceania Sevens – Noosa, 3-4 October 2014 Men’s teams: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Women’s teams: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga
Los Pumas head coach Daniel Hourcade has named a twenty-eight man squad for the second phase of the 2014 Rugby Championship. Argentina will play away test matches against the All Blacks and Wallabies in New Zealand and Australia and will do so with three players included who are yet to play in the 2014 competition. Hourcade has again decided not to call up any players involved with the professional teams outside of Argentina that were not selected in the initial training squad. Consequently Los Pumas will again be playing without players including Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Matías Díaz, Santiago Fernández and Gonzalo Tiesi.
The narrowloss against South Africa in Saltahas not seen Hourcade opting for wholesale changes. To the contraryel huevohas retained all butPablo Matera who has been ruled out of the remainder of the Rubgy Championship due to a shoulder injury. His loss coincides with the return to fitness of another back-rower, Benjamín Macome who missed the past four tests after breaking his arm against Ireland in Chaco in June.
Macome’s inclusion sees the retention of five back-rowers and he will now be in contention to start at number eight against the All Blacks. His return is certain to see Juan Maneul Leguizamón moving to the side of the scrum to wear the 6 shirt vacated by Matera’s injury. Either Macome or Leonardo Senatore is therefore likely to start at 8 with the other on the bench. Also in the squad is Rodrigo Báez who is likely to be back-up if required on late notice.
Also back is Juan Imhoff who had been expected to start against South Africa only to get injured in the final warm-up fixture against Grenoble in Catamarca. In his place Horacio Agulla and Lucas González Amorosino started on the right wing in the tests in Pretoria and Salta with Manuel Montero playing on the left. Imhoff’s return appears likely to see a new combination with him wearing the 14 shirt and starting a a back-three containing Montero and Joaquín Tuculet.
The third player called-up for the Oceania test matches is hooker Santiago Iglesias Valdez. The 2013 Pumitas captain is one of three hookers in the squad with Hourcade looking to increase his options. It also comes despite Eusebio Guiñazú not having been selected. His international future would therefore appear to be over.
Los Pumas are to leave for New Zealand on Friday, flying out from Buenos Aires. The team will face the All Blacks on the following Saturday evening (local time) in Napier.
New Zealand Schools and Barbarian Schools coaches announced Porirua City to host matches
Crusaders Assistant Coach Dave Hewett has been appointed coach of this year’s New Zealand Schools team and Hurricanes Development Coach Darren Larsen has been named coach of the New Zealand Barbarian Schools team; both sides to play Fiji and Australia in September and October.
New Zealand Rugby today announced the coaching teams for both teams as New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance and the Schools selection network prepares to name the Schools and Barbarian Schools teams next month to face Fiji Schools and Australia Schools at Porirua Park.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Neil Sorensen welcomed the coaching appointments as a great step forward for the schools programme:
“This is the most resource we have ever put around the schools’ programme as we see the New Zealand Schools and Barbarians Schools as important programmes in the New Zealand Rugby pathway. They provide the players involved exposure to a quality high performance environment that really enhances their development.
“This really is an exciting time for those working with talent at this age group, and it’s an incredibly exciting time for those players,” he said.
New Zealand Schools Council chairman Garry Chronican said the fact that talent was being developed through both the Schools team and the Barbarian Schools team meant more players would be exposed to new opportunities.
“We are delighted with these coaching appointments. To have such an outstanding blend of high performance and successful 1st XV coaches in our team management is satisfying indeed.
“We will need to draw on all the experience and expertise that these coaches will bring to the teams as we head into challenging programme of games against Australia and Fiji in September and October.”
New Zealand Schools Coach Dave Hewett said he was excited to be involved with the programme.
“I know first-hand the importance of having great opportunities for young talent. I am looking forward to being part of the start of something really amazing for these young men.
“Representing your country is a great honour for anyone, so I know that pulling on a black jersey will be a very special honour for everyone involved,” he said.
The schools programme has been welcomed as a great opportunity to showcase the host city, Porirua.
Porirua City Mayor Nick Leggett said:
“Rugby is the most popular sport across New Zealand schools, and certainly in Porirua City. We welcome and look forward to hosting this event and I’m sure there will be plenty of local support at the games with Porirua being a passionate rugby supporting community.
“Porirua Park is a venue of choice for rugby matches of significance as it provides an outstanding surface, great spectator viewing and player hosting facilities with the support of North’s Rugby Club.
“Porirua Park is the home ground and nursery for many representative players including Jerry Collins, Tamati Ellison, John Schwalgler, TJ Perenara, Alapati Leiua, Fafili Levave and Robert Fruean to name a few.”
New Zealand Schools Head Coach - Dave Hewett, Crusaders Assistant Coach Coach - Mark Ozich, Southland Boys 1st XV Coach, Southland Assistant Coach 2013 Campaign Manager - Russell Hilton-Jones, NZ Resource coach, coached various NZ age group teams including Under 19 and NZ Schools Manager - Gerry Davidson, former NZ Schools and St Bede’s 1st XV coach, 2013 Schools manager Physiotherapist - Paul Taitoko, NZ Schools physio since 20011 Strength & conditioning Coach - Brad Mayo, Waikato ITM Cup Assistant S&C coach and Waikato Academy S&C Coach Performance Analyst - Tom Martin, Hurricanes Development team Performance Analyst
New Zealand Barbarians Schools Head Coach - Darren Larsen, Hurricanes Development team Head Coach, NZ Under 20 resource coach Coach - Ryan Martin, Otago Boys 1st XV Coach, Otago age grade coach Manager - Nick Reid, Awatapu College, Barbarians Manager since 2012 Physiotherapist – Karl Houltham, Highlanders Assistant Physiotherapist, Kings High School 1st XV Physiotherapist S&C Coach - James Dickie, Wellington Rugby Assistant S&C Coach
Three specialists will also work with both teams:
Mental Skills - John Quinn, Canterbury Rugby, NZ Cricket and Commonwealth Games Mental Skills provider Nutritionist - Jonny Rea, Crusaders, Canterbury, Tasman and High Performance Sport NZ Nutritionist Performance Analyst – tba
Schools and Barbarian Schools Fixtures: Tuesday 30 September Porirua Park NZ Barbarians v Australia 1:10pm NZ Schools v Fiji 2:50pm
Saturday 4 October Porirua Park NZ Barbarians v Fiji 1:10pm NZ Schools v Australia 2:50pm
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