The campaign to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 has begun with the wider Black Ferns training squad named today.
The 56 players will be part of a 12-month high performance training programme for 2016, focussed on strength and conditioning, and building technical and tactical skills.
Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said he and his coaching and management team are looking ahead to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in 2017 in naming a wider squad.
“We’ll be announcing our Test programme for 2016 soon and all these women have the opportunity to be part of the Black Ferns.
“We have our eyes on the prize – the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017. The campaign to once again be world champions has begun. The players are hungry for it and we will make sure the World Cup team represents the best players in New Zealand.
“We’ve just had a very competitive Women’s Provincial Championship season and we want to continue the momentum.”
The squad features 18 current Black Ferns including World Rugby’s 2015 Women’s Rugby Player of the Year, Kendra Cocksedge, and captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili.
The coaching staff has also been confirmed. The Assistant Forwards Coach is once again Wesley Clarke and Grant Keenan has been appointed as Assistant Backs Coach for the first time. Keenan is currently coach of New Zealand Heartland XV and Mid Canterbury. He was also the coach of Auckland B from 2011-2012 and coached professionally in Japan for Toyota from 2007 to 2011.
New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Women’s Rugby Development, Cate Sexton said the experience within the coaching and management team and depth of player talent was indicative of the increased interest and resources for women’s rugby at all levels.
“Naming 56 players from around New Zealand who have a shot at the black jersey shows how much talent is out there. We really want to develop that talent and make sure when we select the squad for our Test series and later the Women’s Rugby World Cup that we have the best of the best.”
Toka Natua – Waikato
Hinewai Pomare – Counties Manukau
Moana Aiatu – Wellington
Luka Connor – Bay of Plenty
Jessie Hansen – Canterbury
Sosoli Talawadua – Waikato
Fiao'o Fa'amausili – Auckland
Te Kura Ngata – Counties Manukau
Rebekah Tufuga – Manawatu
Teresa Te Tamaki – Waikato
Aleisha Nelson – Auckland
Aldora Itunu – Auckland
Katie Mailata – Counties Manukau
Steph Te Ohaere Fox – Canterbury
Elosie Blackwell – Auckland
Charmaine Smith – North Harbour
Sanita Levave – Wellington
Rawinia Everitt – Counties Manukau
Charmaine McMenamin – Auckland
Aroha Savage – Counties Manukau
Charlene Halapua – Auckland
Hana Tapiata – Bay of Plenty
Mikyla Wardlaw – Bay of Plenty
Justine Lavea – Counties Manukau
Sharnita Woodman – Counties Manukau
Lydia Crossman – Auckland
Aimee Sutorius – Wellington
Linda Itunu – Auckland
Angie Sisifa – Otago
Jackie Patea – Wellington
Kendra Cocksedge – Canterbury
Kiritapu Demant – Auckland
Emma Jensen – Auckland
Arihana Marino – Counties Manukau
Ariana Bayler – Waikato
Raquel Anderson – Waikato
Ruahei Demant – Auckland
Lizzie Goulden – Wellington
Victoria Subritzky Nafatali – Counties Manukau
Janna Vaughn – Manawatu
Shakira Baker – Waikato
Chelsea Alley – North Harbour
Amanda Rasch – Wellington
Onjeurlina Leiataua – Auckland
Theresa Fitzpatrick – Auckland
Georgia Daals – Wellington
Keri Hayden – Manawatu
Greer Muir – Otago
Lucy Anderson - Canterbury
Renee Wickliffe – Counties Manukau
Mele Hufanga – Auckland
Ayesha Leti-Liga – Wellington
Lauren Balsillie – Manawatu
Ana Masters – Waikato
Crystal Mayes – Manawatu
Huia Harding – Waikato
During the 1990's Wesley College was one of the best performed schools in the country. A winner of the National Top Four three times, Wesley was a school other's tried to avoid, such was their size, strength and skill. At the forefront of their many triumphs was a humble, pious and astute Tongan who has an innate skill to bring out the best in people.
Amanaki Lelei Palavi: “The weakest link in the chain is also the strongest.”
1999 Collegian Magazine: “Praise to the Lord for we are only ordinary people who do extraordinary things to bring honour and glory to his name. Through faith, learning and hard work we find success within the 1st XV.”
Reflections: Amanaki Lelei Palavi
First Rugby Experiences: “I played for the only team at Tupou High School, in Tonga, starting as a hooker before switching to halfback. How was rugby in the Islands? Rough!”
Arrival to New Zealand: “I arrived in 1976 and studied at Massey University in Wellington; I played a bit of social rugby, but was never good enough to go further. I admired the All Blacks a lot, they inspired me to stay involved socially and then to start coaching. It wasn’t so much the fact they won a lot, but the way they won. Bryan Williams, Ian Kirkpatrick and Lachlan Cameron were among my early favourites.”
Coaching Debut: “I started in 1988 with the Dannevirke High School Under 15’s. We won the 3M Northern tournament, our best finish in previous tournaments had been 12th. In the semi final one of my players complained he had a ‘dead leg’, I didn’t know what that was so I told him to get over it. He ran so hard into Kelston’s best player he broke his collarbone! In the final we beat Whangarei Boys.”
Arrival At Wesley: “I was first involved with the First XV in 1992. I started as an assistant coach. My first match was against St Stephen’s. We had lost to their 2nd XV, while their First’s had won 43 games in a row, they were so strong! We beat them, 11-10! It’s very sad what happened to St Stephen’s. The matches between us were epic struggles. Their coach at the time Charles Timutimu was somebody I really respected.”
Coaching Influences: “I observed Chris Grinter a lot; he was so organised, firm and cool. I used to go along to the Counties coaches days they had. It was very helpful sharing ideas with other coaches.”
1993: “To win the national title took a full team effort. We had a very talented team and of course Jonah Lomu was a player who could win a match anytime, anywhere. However Jonah was just one member of the team. At the start of the season his attitude needed to improve. After one match, where he was injured, he took off before the after match function. I told him to apologise to the team, he refused so I threatened to drop him as captain, half an hour later he came back and apologised to me, I said go and apologise to the team. Jonah could talk as a leader but his actions were what really inspired.
Bringing Out the Best In People: “I like the adage: the weakest link in the chain is also the strongest, everybody has a contribution to make. If you can get the team working together to cover the weakest link, that makes for a combined strength that is very hard to stop. I don’t understand coaches who swear at players after they make a mistake. That only makes the player feel more down. I try and encourage player input and sometimes I even listen to the supporters.”
Relationship With The Captain: “A captain has to have the vision to see the whole game, keep calm under pressure and know what to say and how to say it. He has to have the ability to change the strategy when required. The coach’s job is to help the captain display those skills.”
Faith: “The Christian faith plays a big part in my life. I pray for guidance everyday and believe what we have is God given. The prayer was always a big part of our pre and post match experience; it’s something that brings unity, purpose and humility to a team. If you don’t believe in God that’s fine, but I asked the players to respect what I believed to be a custom that brought strength to Wesley.”
Tough Times In 1997: “I promoted Sio Puleanga, a first five in the second XV, to the firsts. In his first game against Rotorua Boys High School I played him on the wing and he dropped the ball with an open try line, we lost the game, 0-11. In our next game against Western Heights High School our kicker was injured. I told Siohe would be taking the kicks, he wasn’t confident, but nailed them from everywhere and we won, 20-11. In the Top Four Semi final against Rongotai College, a really dangerous side, we were down 5-11 at halftime. I was disappointed with our performance and told the team, ‘don’t tackle and show Rongotai the try line!’ I then walked off, and we won 31-11!”
Hiding of Palmerston North In Top Four Final: “Our captain Koli Latailakepa was unavailable for the final. For religious reasons he didn’t play on Sunday. He was in tears beforehand because he obviously wanted to play. I said don’t worry God will replace you. We won the final 41-3! It rained during the game and our forwards were pushed around a bit, but our defence was outstanding and after a while things just clicked. I was always confident about the 97 team; they were a very talented and close-knit group. Seilala Mapusua in the 1997 First XV below!
World Ten’s: “This was a tough event. We won the final against George Smith’s team, 30-0!” George Smith went on to play 110 tests for Australia and 122 games for the Brumbies; Wesley won all nine games at this event, outscoring their opponents 225-40.
Biggest Change In the Game: “The emphasis on defence is bad. A lot of big games are won by the team who spoils the opposition’s ruck ball the most effectively, or the team that plays better field position, skill should be the deciding factor. I try to and encourage all of our players to be fully involved, get it to the wings and attack. A defensive approach restricts the involvement of the team and reduces the enjoyment of the spectators.”
Counties Champions: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
National Top Four Winners: 1993, 1997
Counties Sevens Champions: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Condor Sevens Champions: 1993, 1996
World Ten’s Champions: 1998
All Blacks: Jonah Lomu, Casey Laulala
Manu Samoa Internationals: Kitiona Viliamu, George Stowers, Seilala Mapusua
Tongan Internationals: Salesi Moimoi, Hale T-Pole
The Palavi Era In Number
Chris Grinter and Jonah Lomu are towering figures in New Zealand Secondary Schools' rugby history. Lomu is regarded by many as the greatest schoolboy player of all time and later became the highest profile player in the sport. Grinter ignored advice suggesting Lomu, as a fourth former, was too young to play First XV rugby. He is credited by Jonah as “discovering” the rugby colossus.
Chris Bean: First XV 1985-1988: “Chris Grinter is the best coach I ever came across. His understanding of the game and ability to transfer that to the players was outstanding. The success of Wesley rugby is due to those years he spent at the college. He laid the foundation for the success that followed with winning the Moascar Cup and our very first Top four title as a coach.”
Points For: 763
Points Against: 117
Tries Conceded: 10
Leading Points Scorer: Kiley Kanohi 235 in 22 games.
Leading Try Scorer: Nick Tuwhangai 26 in 20 games.
1. Counties Sevens Champions for a fifth year in a row.
2. Counties First Round Champions.
3. Holders of the ASB Challenge Trophy for Counties First XV games.
4. Winners of the Scarlett Trophy for the game against Te Aute College.
5. Winners of the Gill Trophy for games with St Stephen's.
6. Winners of the Vince Asher Memorial Trophy for matches with Church College.
7. Winners of the Hickling Cup for matches with Old Boys.
8. Counties First XV Champions.
9. New Zealand First XV Champions.
Points For: 782
Points Against: 209
Average Score: 39-10
Most Points: Josh Kafu, 186
Most Tries: Jonah Lomu, 25
Jonah Lomu’s Official Wesley Try Count?
The question of just how many tries Jonah Lomu scored at Wesley College has been the subject of much rumour over the years. The official number I believe is 71. Chris Grinter, Wesley coach from 1985-1991 always kept detailed notes of his teams games. According to those notes Lomu scored 3 tries in 1990 and 13 in 1991. In 1992 Lomu in his autobiography says he scored 30 tries. In 1993 Lomu scored 131 points. Coach Amanak iLelei Palavi told me Lomu kicked two penalties that season, leaving the rest of the points to be achieved in 25 tries. Additionally Lomu was a member of the Wesley sevens team. At the Condor Sevens in 1993 he scored three tries in the semi final against St Kentigern College and four in the final against Te Awamutu College. Scoring tries was something of a habit at Wesley!
Keith Quinn - A Lucky Man 2000: “Jonah inadvertently gave me my most memorable commentary phrase in the 1995 World Cup semi final against England. I had had an expression ‘all muscle and pump’ in my mind and on the team sheets, which I planned to use to describe the moment when Jonah scored a try in that game- as I was sure he would. But when he picked up a bouncing ball in the first minutes and started knocking over English defenders like nine-pins, I groped in vain for the appropriate phrase to describe the try that he was obviously going to score. I wasn’t ready Jonah! What came out of my mouth was ‘Lomu…oh…oh…!’ as he lunged over. A clear case of being lost for words, for perhaps the only time in my life…That call has come to haunt me in the years since.”
All Blacks Debut: 1994
All Blacks Tests: 63
All Blacks Wins: 44
All Blacks Tries: 37
Most World Cup Tries: 15
Last Test: 2002
First Class Games: 203
First Class Tries: 126
The Captain’s Report: Jonah Lomu
Like my speeches, my summary will also be short, but to the point. The success of the team was only achieved because we were a team.
1993 was the most successful year that Wesley College or any 1st XV has ever had. I feel the success was due to the humility and the standards that our coach, Mr Palavi, has shown throughout the season on and off the field. He has shown to us that rugby is not just a sport but a public relations thing as well, as you meet all kinds of people on and off the field. We have made new and re-kindled many old friends during this long and tense season.
Our key motivation for this year was to play our hearts out and glorify the Lord’s name. The support of family and friends and the student-body was gratefully always helping us to push on onwards.
I would like to thank my two vice-captains, Craig Kimpton and Nela Fotu, for their leadership skills on the field.
The success of 1993 was due to the moulding of the team. I would like to thank all the members of the 1st XV for their effort and hard work.
I do not want to single out one person for what they have done. I feel they all should be praised for their achievements because I feel that it was done as a team not by individuals. The trophies symbolise the achievements of the boys.
To all future players, play the game and enjoy it, because that’s what rugby is all about.
Article originally published on Sky Sport College Rugby
Female Rugby is one of the fastest growing girls sports in the country. A shame we don't get more on TV. Here are our top 4 school girl rugby players for 2015...
In August, Southern Cross Campus captain and power-forward Moana Fineaso-Levi played a leading role in helping her school defend the Auckland Girls First XV final, regularly breaking the line and scoring a try her team’s come-from-behind 30-20 win over Otahuhu College. A week later she was named as the only schoolgirl in the 26-strong Auckland Storm squad. Although she didn’t make her Womens NPC debut – the team was laden with seasoned veterans and Black Ferns and swept to the title – her time will come.
Porirua College Year 11 student Ayesha Leti-I'iga started in all eight games on the left wing for the Wellington Pride Women’s NPC team this year, including in the final against Auckland in October. Known as ‘Baby’, the youngest member of the Pride impressed with her effervescent attitude and speed off the mark. As well as playing for her school, Ayesha played a full season of senior rugby for the Oriental-Rongotai club in Wellington, scoring 17 tries. She was College Sport Wellington’s Girls’ Rugby Player of the Year.
Year 12 Southland Girls’ High School player Alena Saili has her sights set on a big future in the game. Her rugby year started in January, playing for the Southland senior team at the National Sevens in Rotorua. She’s been playing 15s since she was little, with relations Frances and Peter role models to aspire to. With pace and fast footwork, she led Southland against Hamilton Girls’ High School at the National Top 4 semi-finals. She has also represented New Zealand in Touch.
Terina Te Tamaki
The captain of the Hamilton Girls’ High School First XV guided her team to a second consecutive National Top Four title. Hamilton won all 13 games in 2015 and scored 685 points. Te Tamaki, known as “Lil T” to her teammates, is a devastating openside flanker noted for his robust running and punishing defence. She has represented the Waikato senior women's team, making three appearances in this year’s Women’s NPC, and is an accomplished touch player and a candidate to play Sevens rugby for New Zealand sooner rather than later.
The girls division of the national secondary school rugby Condor 7s continues to go from strength to strength. This year’s fifth edition of a girls section of the tournament promises to be super-competitive and as hard fought as ever.
So far just two schools, Feilding High School (2011 and 2012) and Hamilton Girls’ High School (2013 and 2014) have annexed the girls Condor 7s title.
Amongst the contenders tipped to be in the hunt in 2015 is Southland Girls’ High School, who finished runners-up last year to Hamilton GHS.
Southland’s Head Coach, Nathan Muir, told College Sport Media that his side will be heading to Auckland confident of putting their best foot forward again.
“We also won the Plate in 2013 and were beaten semi-finalists in 2012, so we know what to expect at the Condors. We certainly want to be at the business end of the tournament again this year.”
“Every year everyone else gets better, and that is always at the back of your mind. You can’t just rest on what you did last year,” he added.
Southland GHS qualified from their region for the tournament without taking the field. “No one wanted to play us this year so we qualified by default.”
Instead the team’s been training hard and recently been playing practice matches against senior women’s teams, to hone their match fitness and game plan. “We also played in a South Island girls’ rugby festival in Oamaru in late July and won the Sevens section of that.”
There’s also a successful fifteens season under their hood. As South Island winners - beating Motueka High School 60-5 in the final - Southland travelled to Palmerston North in early September and finished runners-up to Hamilton (5-27) at the National Top 4 girls tournament after beating Feilding High School (20-10) in their semi-final match.
Nathan said all members of the sevens team are transferring their skills from their fifteens side. “We have got three injuries, so we have got a few rookies. But’s a good mix of girls that have been there before and we’ve got a balance of ages in our squad with every year level from Year 10 to 13.”
As is the case with many girls’ teams in particular at the Condor 7s finals, Southland’s side will include several players who have represented the school to a high level in other sports such as football, netball and touch rugby.
“We’ve got a number of talented players,” explained Nathan, “but if we are successful in Auckland next month it’ll be the result of a team effort. We see it as a team game and we continue to play that way.” The team’s captain is Trisha Hopcroft and the vice-captains are Alena Saili and Kendall Buckingham.
The Southland Girls’ High School squad heading to the Condor 7s is:
Trisha Hopcroft, Alena Saili. Kendall Buckingham, Lauren Brown, Meg Paterson, Laura Molloy, Kayla Brocks, Arnika Thompson-Te Muunu, Molly Wheeley, Amy du Plessis, Bree Thomas, Sipa Saili. Support staff: Head Coach: Nathan Muir; Assistant Coach: Maima Afutu; Manager: Nicola Hawkes
The confirmed girls’ schools taking part in the 2015 Condor 7s (as of Monday) are:
Bay of Islands College, Christchurch Girls’ High School, Feilding High School, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Kaipara College, Long Bay College, Motueka High School, New Plymouth Girls’ High School, Otahuhu College, St Hilda’s Collegiate School, St Mary’s College, St Peter’s College Gore, Southland Girls’ High School, Te Puke High School.
The pools draws (girls and boys)for the Condor 7s will be announced soon
Well done to Stephen Perofeta (Wanganui Collegiate) and Alex Fidow (Scots College) who have been nominated for awards at the New Zealand Rugby Awards on December 11 in Auckland. Perofeta has been nominated for Heartland Championship player of the year. He helped Wanganui win the Meads Cup and scored 56 points in three games for the New Zealand Heartland XV against touring Australian Barbarians. These counted as first-class fixtures. Next year Perofeta (profiled by College Sport Media) is off to Taranaki.
Alex Fidow has been nominated for Age Grade player of the year. He scored 60 tries in 49 matches for the Scots College First XV and won the Bronze Boot award as the best player in the New Zealand Schools v Australian Schools test. The other nominees in this category are Charlie Gamble (Canterbury Under-19) and Akira Ioane (Blues/Auckland).
Unbelievable talent has graced 1st XV teams in 2015, but the top 5 are something special. If NZ had a NBA style, college rugby draft ... who would be your 1st pick?
The big, smiley prop enraptured audiences with his free-running play. In 60 matches for the Scots First XV he scored 49 tries - including an average of a try a match in 2015 and two tries in the National Top Four final.
He earned selection for the New Zealand Secondary Schools' and was named man of the match in the annual test against Australia. New Zealand won 32-8 - their biggest win over Australia since 1995. The Bronze Boot award has been won by All Blacks including Jeff Wilson and Victor Vito.
Is yet another fine first-five from the Christchurch Boys' High School stable. He was the leading points scorer in the UC Championship this season with 172 points and that includes 15 tries. McKay scored a record 35 points against Christ's College, a fixture that has been contested since 1892.
He earned selection for the New Zealand Schools' and was the difference in the outcome of two games. He scored the winning try against the New Zealand Barbarians and all 23 points against the Australian Barbarians, a game New Zealand won by a single point.
McKay is also an accomplished touch player.
Isaac Te Aute
The captain of Rotorua Boys' High School ended his long and distinguished First XV service by playing a record 82 games for his school and capturing a National Top Four title in 2015.
Te Aute was named Player of the Match in the final after scoring two great tries and was later honoured by being named Land Rover First XV player of the year. Te Aute played 24 of Rotorua's 25 games this season and scored 14 tries. He was selected for the Super 8 Form XV and the New Zealand Senior Sevens training squad.
In addition to his success in rugby, Te Aute has been a national title holder in sevens and touch.
The Otago Boys' High School fullback was an instrumental part of his team winning the South Island championship and reaching the National Top Four for the third time in four years.
Otago Boys' have been unbeaten for 59 matches against schools in the Highlanders region. Had Buchan not scored a late try against Southland Boys' High School in May to earn a hard-fought draw that record would have vanished.
Buchan scored 199 points this season, including 22 against Auckland champions St. Kentigern College at the National Top Four. Nobody has scored that many points against the powerful St. Kent's in the last five years.
Buchan earned selection for the New Zealand Secondary Schools and scored another pivotal try in their narrow victory against the New Zealand Barbarians.
The captain of Scots College and the New Zealand Secondary Schools' team enjoyed an outstanding season. He was named College Sport Wellington rugby player of the year as he guided his First XV to a second consecutive Hurricanes regional title and National Top Four final appearance.
In tandem with his twin brother Thomas, Peter helped create carnage for opposition defenders. In the last two seasons Thomas and Peter scored 58 tries between them and set up countless others between them for Scots.
In a remarkable coincidence the twins each played three years in the First XV and ended up playing the same number of matches (48) and scoring the same number of tries (32). Peter also kicked 54 conversions and gets the nod for an award here because of his leadership.
St. Bede’s College have completed the fifteen and seven aside rugby double in Christchurch, capturing the Canterbury Sevens title last Friday to earn a place at the Condor Sevens in December.
Zach McKay says the result is extremely pleasing after a somewhat tricky build up.
“We had a few preliminary tournaments before Friday, but hadn’t been able to put our best team on the field until a couple of weeks ago,” he says.
St. Bede’s had a tough group at the Canterbury Sevens with two top four Press Cup teams, McKay describes the early action:
“We had St. Andrew’s first up and beat them by a couple of tries. They were forced to rest some of their imports because of the eligibility rules so that made the game a little bit easier than we thought.”
“Aranui High School was next and they were tough to start with, but we pulled away in the second-half. The toughest game of the whole tournament was against Shirley Boys’ High School. They were a very big and physical side. We fell behind 12-0 at halftime, but managed to pull it back and draw.”
In the semi-finals St. Bede’s accounted for Timaru Boys’ High School while Christchurch Boys’ High School foiled Shirley, booking their place at the Condors.
The final between St. Bede’s and Christchurch proved to be a one man showcase. McKay explains what happened.
“We won 28-14 and Jake Keenan scored all four tries. A couple of them were length of the field efforts and the others were set up for him.”
“Jake is only Year 11. He played for our under-15′s this year who were fourth at Nationals. He is really quick and nuggety. He dropped Tom Christie from the NZ Schools in the Shirley game. He is one to watch,” McKay insists.
McKay scored 18 tries in fifteen aside play this year. He is another one to watch. He says he has made some modifications to his sevens game.
“Last year I was basically a finisher, but this year I have been working on winning kick-offs and looking to set-up more. I want to became a more complete player,” he says.
McKay identifies Sam Dickson and Gillies Kaka as his favourite sevens players and warns Braidan Broughan who scored 12 tries in the Press Cup is another St. Bede’s player to watch at Condors.
At last year’s Condors, St. Bede’s was regulated to the Bowl section. It should be noted however that five of the play off matches were decided in extra time with another eight decided by less than three points reflecting the rise in standard across the country.
St. Bede’s nearly beat runner-ups Scots College – McKay scored two tries in a 26-24 defeat.
McKay says St. Bede’s will “give it their best” and believes, “anything can happen.”
McKay concludes the interview by extending his sympathy and support to Jake Bailey, the head prefect (Senior Monitor) of Christchurch Boys’ High School recently diagnosed with serve cancer whose final address to his college has created global headlines.
“St. Bede’s and Christchurch Boys’ are fierce rivals on the field, but that’s where the rivalry should end. Jake’s speech has had a big impact in the community. We genuinely feel for him and pray he recovers.”
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