The 2017 Swindale Shield took off with a bang today, with a series of exciting matches and a couple of surprise results, all to suggest that supporters are in for another cracking season of club rugby.
Five teams – the Upper Hutt Rams, Old Boys University, Oriental-Rongotai, Northern United and Wainuiomata – are unbeaten after two rounds, while Johnsonville and Petone each grabbed their first wins of the year. Defending Jubilee Cup champions Tawa are winless after the opening fortnight.
At Evans Bay Park, Petone captured both the Bill Elvy Memorial Shield and the Bill Brien Challenge Shield off Marist St Pat’s with a 24-20 win, while Johnsonville came from behind to beat Paremata-Plimmerton 25-19 at home at Helston Park.
A late converted try and a penalty gave Petone their first win of the year, after tries to flanker James Tuia, his second of the day, and right wing Mike Buckley off a break by debutant 2016 NZ Schools representative Billy Proctor had put MSP in front by 10 points with the clock counting down.
Petone had earlier come back from 0-8, with successive converted tries to flyhalf Carne Green and Hurricanes U20 centre Lester Maulolo, before MSP set up a tight finish when flanker Tuia scored the first of his two tries.
Johnsonville took almost all of the first 40 minutes to get into the game against Paremata-Plimmerton, conceding a 3-16 deficit after a sluggish, error-ridden start. Visiting fullback Blake Neve scored all his side’s points, including slicing through for a terrific opening try, while Johnsonville had a player in the sin-bin and were unable to get into the game.
The Hawks scored before halftime and then came back with a more assured forwards performance in the second half to score two tries to overtake a flagging Paremata-Plimmerton. Super-sub and former Super Rugby player and their player/coach Kane Thompson came on with about 20 to play and scored the winning try soon after. Thompson then helped steady the ship, helped the men in the blue hoops re-gain territory and sealed the win to with his second try to snap a 14-match losing streak in the Swindale Shield.
The Upper Hutt Rams, Old Boys University, Oriental-Rongotai and Northern United have all earned bonus point wins to start the season.
The Upper Hutt Rams pleased their fans no end with an emphatic seven tries to four home win over the Wellington Axemen at Maidstone Park. The Rams had the biggest win over the day, prevailing 50-22 and scoring 28 points in the second half.
Right wing Joyner Key scored two tries, kicked six conversions and slotted a penalty for a personal haul of 25 points. Tighthead prop Callum Sua, No. 8 Sam Wasley – who missed all of last season with injury – and outside backs Max Pearson and Tafa Tafa – who missed last weekend’s opening round through injury – were the home team’s other try scorers.
The run of play saw the Rams go ahead 15-0 early, the Wellington Axemen come back with two tries to close to 15-12, and then then Key crossing just before the break to make it 22-12 at halftime. The Rams scored the first three tries in the second 40 minute stanza, racing to a 43-12 lead with some time still to play. One of these tries was a beautiful 25-metre rolling maul try. Pene Nabainivalu came off the bench and helped set up two consolation tries for the Axemen.
At leafy Lyndhurst Park Old Boys University ran away 42-28 victors over Tawa in a scrappy encounter between the defending Swindale Shield champions and the Jubilee Cup title holders.
Tawa had to opportunity to get a leg up on OBU in the match’s infancy after prop Alex Barendregt was sin-binned after just five minutes for OBU’s repeated infringements, though the home side failed to capitalise, scoring just three points with the one-man advantage.
As OBU’s lead stretched out to 14 points mid-way through the opening stanza, Tawa hit back with a try minutes before the break to wing Faraimo Nofoaiga but before the half time whistle was blown, OBU lock Paterson Carter restored OBU’s lead to 12 at the break.
A penalty goal and a try to Tawa in the early minutes of the second 40 brought the hosts back into contention, but poor discipline and messy set piece meant a late score to reserve OBU centre and former NZ U19 player Hanipale Galo from close range sealed the bonus-point win for the Goats.
Oriental-Rongotai secured their second win of the new season, beating Avalon 30-22 at the Fraser Park Artificial. Playing in his first match at first five-eighth at club level, Adam Deck scored two tries and kicked 10 points for a 20-point haul for the Magpies. Hurricanes U20 player Alex Fidow, usually a prop, but today a blindside flanker, scored another of their tries.
For Avalon, tighthead prop Tommy Ma’atusi Sione crossed for a double, while No. 8 Ale Peni scored their third try.
At Jerry Collins Stadium, Northern United held their composure throughout the second half in beating Poneke 32-25 to retain the Cyril Collett Memorial Shield. Norths led 22-20 at halftime after a flurry of scoring.
Norths first five-eighth Luke Bowden crossed for two tries, while loosehead prop JonWhite Silva found the whitewash, as did centre Perry Hayman, who also landed 10 points off the kicking tee. For Poneke, fullback Michael Sage scored two tries and replacement back Levi Harmon crossed for his first try of the year.
Five individual players scored tries for Wainuiomata in their forwards dominated 31-26 win over Hutt Old Boys Marist. Lock Bevan Clarke, No. 8 Ben Tupuola, halfback Frae Wilson, centre Mike Lealava’a and right wing Teru Time all found the whitewash. For the Eagles, wing Fereti Soloa scored two of their four tries. It was reported that a HOBM player left the field with a suspected broken leg (more to come).
2017 SWINDALE SHIELD / STANDINGS
|Points Table – after week 2||P||W||L||D||F||A||B||Pts|
|Upper Hutt Rams||2||2||0||0||83||47||2||10|
|Marist St Pats||2||1||1||0||51||37||2||6|
|Woodridge Johnsonville Hawks||2||1||1||0||52||56||0||4|
Just two teams are unbeaten after the opening two weeks of the Premier Reserve Harper Lock Shield competition – Hutt Old Boys Marist and Northern United.
HOBM beat Wainuiomata 15-10, while Northern United defeated Poneke’s second XV 17-13 in another super-tight encounter.
The Avalon Wolves, Paremata-Plimmerton, Marist St Pat’s, OBU and the Upper Hutt Rams all took their first wins of the season today.
The Wolves defeated Ories 36-24, Paremata-Plimmerton beat Johnsonville 27-23 – after coming back from 7-16 behind – MSP defeated Petone 35-22, OBU beat Tawa 27-11 and the Rams crushed the Wellington Axemen’s second XV 52-10.
2017 HARPER LOCK SHIELD DRAW/ STANDINGS
|Points Table – after week 2||P||W||L||D||F||A||B||Pts|
|Quay Marine Johnsonville||2||1||1||0||54||46||2||6|
|Marist St Pats||2||1||1||0||47||39||2||6|
|Upper Hutt Rams||2||1||1||0||64||34||1||5|