Above: Wellington U19s loose forward Luke Tau’alupe on the charge with teammates in support in their recent match against the Wairarapa-Bush Development side.
The Wellington U19s get their 2014 competition campaign underway this Saturday when they take on the Manawatu U19s in Palmerston North in the first of three seeding matches leading up to the National U19 Tournament in Taupo at the end of this month.
The Wellington U19s play matches over the coming three weekends in the Hurricanes region Seeding Pool, against Manawatu, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay. The match against Taranaki is at Porirua Park and the venue for the third game of this mini-series against Hawke’s Bay will be confirmed based on earlier results.
The Hurricanes region Heartland Development U19 series runs at the same time. Games tomorrow at Palmerston North see the combined East Coast-Poverty Bay side meet Horowhenua-Kapiti and Wairarapa-Bush take on Wanganui.
These Hurricanes region games are part of four nationwide Seeding Pools to establish the draw for the Taupo tournament, these being:
- Southern: Canterbury; Otago; Southland; Tasman
- Hurricanes: Hawkes Bay; Manawatu; Taranaki; Wellington
- Blues: Auckland A; Auckland B; North Harbour; Northland
- Chiefs: Bay of Plenty; Harlequins (A composite side made of the Heartland Provincial Unions); Counties-Manukau; Waikato
At the conclusion of the seeding matches the teams in each region will be ranked 1- 4. The top two ranked sides in each region will go into the top eight of the National U19 Tournament draw and the third and fourth ranked teams into the bottom eight.
There are three days of competition at Taupo.
Sunday, 28 September:
Game 1: Blues 1 v Hurricanes 2
Game 2: Blues 2 v Hurricanes 1
Game 3: Chiefs 1 v Southern 2
Game 4: Chiefs 2 v Southern 1
Game 5: Blues 3 v Hurricanes 4
Game 6: Blues 4 v Hurricanes 3
Game 7: Chiefs 3 v Southern 4
Game 8: Chiefs 4 v Southern 3
Wednesday, 1 October
Game 9: Winner Game 1 v Winner Game 2
Game 10: Loser Game 1 v Loser Game 2
Game 11:Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 4
Game 12:Loser Game 3 v Loser Game 4
Game 13:Winner Game 5 v Winner Game 7
Game 14:Loser Game 5 v Loser Game 7
Game 15:Winner Game 6 v Winner Game 8
Game 16:Loser Game 6 v Loser Game 8
Saturday, 4 October
Game 17:Winner Game 9 v Winner Game 11 Final
Game 18:Loser Game 9 v Loser Game 11 3rd/4th play off
Game 19: Winner Game 10 v Winner Game 12 5th/6th play off
Game 20: Loser Game 10 v Loser Game 12 7rd/8th play off
Game 21: Winner Game 13 v Winner Game 15 9th/10th play off
Game 22:Loser Game 13 v Loser Game 15 11th/12th play off
Game 23:Winner Game 14 v Winner Game 16 13th/14th play off
Game 24:Loser Game 14 v Loser Game 16 15rd/16th play off
Teams in the top division will be competing for the honour of winning the tournament cup named after former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie. The winner of the Championship division will be awarded the Michael Jones Trophy, named after the legendary All Blacks flanker.
Former All Blacks captain and President of New Zealand Rugby, Sir John Graham has lent his name to the trophy for outstanding player of the tournament, which will be known as the DJ Graham Award.
The Wellington U19s are coming off a comprehensive 60-12 win over the Bay of Plenty U19s in Rotorua last weekend.
At the conclusion of the national tournament in Taupo, Wellington will host the Auckland U21s at Porirua Park on 11 October in their last game of the season.
The U19s programme replaces the U20s.
Also in action this Saturday are the Wellington Pride, Wellington Maori, U18s and U18s Centurions and both Wellington U16s teams.
The Wellington Pride are searching for their opening win of the Women’s NPC competition, taking on the Auckland Storm at Eden Park in the curtain-raiser to the Wellington Lions-Auckland ITM Cup fixture.
The Pride are coming off an error-ridden 12-33 defeat to Otago, so will be seeking improvement against the multiple champions Auckland who had their bye last weekend after dispatching Counties-Manukau 45-20 in the opening round.
The Wellington Maori side meet Canterbury Maori at Helston Park at 1.00 pm, with the curtain-raiser at 11.30 am between the Wellington Maori Development and Wairarapa-Bush B.
The Wellington U18s get their competition underway next weekend, but the Centurions are in action against Taranaki Schools in Wanganui.
The U18s are playing the Ken Gray Academy tomorrow at the Petone Recreation Ground at 1.00 pm.
They were scheduled to play the Wellington Samoan schools, but the Samoan Schools side has filled the recently vacant position in the Heartland U19 tournament The combined East Coast – Poverty Bay side withdrew this week.
The senior Wellington Samoans team and the Wellington Development side both have the afternoon off, before meeting each other at Porirua Park next Saturday afternoon.