Another year, another rugby season is upon us.
Our prems and prem reserves kick off tomorrow as part of the Wellington Rugby Union’s club rugby gala day and hopes are high that the promise shown in pre-season outings will transfer to the real thing.
There’ll be a ton of interest around the newbies stepping out for us tomorrow. There are a host of new players wearing the blue and blue for the first time and no doubt they’ll be better for the outing together tomorrow but hopefully the disappointments of last year are about to be put well and truly behind us.We are at Maoribank Park No 2 (Upper Hutt) tomorrow with the prem reserves opening the season against Wellington at 1pm (Harper Lock Shield) and the prems (Swindale Shield) following at 2.45pm playing Wellington for the Mick Kenny Memorial Cup.
Already our Terrahawks have put one trophy in the cabinet, winning the inaugural Wellington U85kg sevens tournament.
Logan Tauiliili returns as the Premier side’s head coach, assisted by Garry Archer, who is also the new head coach of the Wellington U18 girls rep side while Logan’s daughter Quita is the prems manager.
Logan believes his side are much better prepared this year with a positive culture and more players to work with giving more depth. “This year we are lucky to have former players back and some top level experienced players to add vitality and a fresh vibe to our teams, and we believe this will create that winning culture,” says Logan.
Some of the experienced players expected to line up for us this season include Kane Thompson (Manawatu Turbos), Api Naikatini, Frankie Bryant (Manawatu Turbos), Jeff Makapelu, Siaosi Mafi (Norths prems) and Soti Faamausili.
“We are very lucky to acquire the service of Kane Thompson, a player with vast top level experience, knowledge and a lot of mana. Api Naikatini is a player of great talent and skill with experience; he is in France playing at the moment but will be back mid-April. Former Manawatu Turbo player Frankie Bryant brings experience and knowledge to our backs.
“Kenny Hill (first five-eighth) and Patrick Hiscock (midfield/wing) were both in the Manawatu U20s. Jeff Makapelu is back from Paremata-Plimmerton and has been with Samoa A, Siaosi Mafi from Norths is an explosive ball carrier and potent defender with a ton of experience. Ten Feo is from Marist in Masterton, Marcus Ale (Hurricanes Development) is an exciting flanker from Wairarapa Bush and Simi Navoka (Norths) is a young prop to also look out for. Dean Ropata is back from Ories, Wise Yabakivou is from Norths, Soti Faamausili is from Poneke, Sai Senileba is from Wests, while Eamonn Tawhiwhirangi (back from playing overseas) is also back at halfback” Other newcomers to the squad are Rob Carr, from Canada and Levi Kemp and Conor Nolan, both formerly of OBU.
We also welcome back two players from injury, fullback Tiwi Davies, who missed last season after having knee surgery, and outside back Dane Robertson.
Lock Anthony Pettett, who played for the Hurricanes U20s recently against the Blues U20s, will captain the side.
“Anthony earned the respect from his peers and players. He has shown that regardless of the results, if you stay loyal, play hard and train hard, then doors will always open for you in the representative scene. You don’t need to be playing at the bigger clubs.”
Other players who featured last season will be much better for the experience. “Romu Senileba, Jacob Walmsley, Eamonn Carr, Fraser McLaren, Nick Murdoch and Warren De Souza are all still at colts age group and have shown they have what it takes to play at premier level and some will go on to the rep level. Midfielder Kalolo Kalolo is also back, as is Reggie Kopua, and Hemi Remuera returns to anchor the front row.”
* Unfortunately, there will be no after-match at the Helston Park clubrooms tomorrow as the softball club are having their prizegiving. But we’ll be back there all guns blazing next week when we host Paremata-Plimmerton.
Old Timers’ Day:
Pencil in May 27 as Old Timers’ Day at the club; we play Petone.
Support Mitre 10, Crofton Downs:
An account has been opened in the name of Johnsonville Rugby Club, code 1122, at Mitre 10 Crofton Downs.
When making purchases, tell them you are from Johnsonville Rugby Club and give the code for discounts.
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We have a host of new sponsors aboard for 2017 so please support them — and existing sponsors of course — because without them we would struggle to operate:
1841 Bar and Restaurant, Affordable Autos, All Glass and Glazing, Armstrong Locksmith, Auto Buff n Touch, CDR Electrical, Cobra Drain Cleaners, Colin’s Water Delivery, Ecomist, Eyon Promotions, Fairview Aluminium, Harcourts, Hashtag Electrical, Higgins Tow Services, Ideal Electrical, John Myers Plumbing, Jason and Rory Anquetil, Blair Hannah, Johnsonville Panel Beaters, Kakariki Proteins, Kiwi Trophies, LJ Auto Electrical, Mitre 10 Crofton Downs,
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