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Upper Hutt Leader : June 22nd 2011
47 UPPER HUTT LEADER, JUNE 22, 2011 SPORT 3807142AA Tell us your SPORTING LEGEND Celebrating our City's top sporting heroes and legends, the Cossie Club is to host an evening of great food and entertainment on the 7th October. Guests of honour will include rugby greats -- John Kirwan and David Campese, along with a variety of local sporting legends. WIN tickets to Legends Dinner Tell us who your local sporting heroes or legends are and go into a draw to win two tickets to the Cossie Club's Sporting Legends Dinner. Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org (only one entry per person) stating who your hero is and one of their achievements by the 30th June 2011. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE INFORMATION LEADING UP TO THE EVENT. Proud supporters of local rugby league WRL Premiership Saturday 25th June Reserves 1pm Premiers 2.30pm University v Upper Hutt Kelburn Park Randwick v St George Naenae Park Te Aroha v Porirua Te Whiti Park Wainuiomata v Petone Wise Park For all other draws visit our website To receive the weekly e-newsletter with all Wellington Rugby League news & events email email@example.com 3732841AF Farewell to our Ma'a SPORTS TALK JOSEPH ROMANOS Robbie Deans, not normally given to flights of fancy, once described Dan Carter as the greatest player in rugby history. That assessment seemed a bit of a stretch in 2007. Since then Carter has got better, setting a world record for most test points and adding experience to his various skills. You'd think that with the much-praised Carter on the field, other players would have to take a back seat, but that certainly wasn't the case at the Wellington stadium on Saturday evening. The Crusaders played the Hurricanes, and a crowd of 17,500 -- a Wellington record for the season by 5000 -- turned out, despite grim weather. They weren't there to see the masterful Carter, or any of his big-name Crusaders team-mates. It was a chance to farewell several Hurricanes stalwarts. The captain, Andrew Hore, a veteran of 10 seasons in the Hurricanes jersey, was told earlier this month he was no longer required. So too was Ma'a Nonu, the sturdy midfielder so closely identified with Wellington rugby. Rodney So'oialo, Johnny Schwalger and Neemia Tialata closed their Hurricanes careers, and backline stars such as Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu and Cory Jane are weighing their options. As Weepu said afterwards: I'm not very clear what I want to do. At the moment it's very emotional, losing a couple of my mates.'' The axing of Nonu was the biggest news in Wellington rugby since Jonah Lomu announced he would become a Hurricane in 2000. So there was a special feeling the other night. There wasn't the tingling atmosphere of that never-to-be-forgotten evening in 2009 when the All Whites qualified for the football World Cup by beating Bahrain, there was still an undeniable frisson. Every time Nonu got the ball, the crowd buzzed. Unfortunately for the locals, the Crusaders' defence was so organised and tight Nonu had few chances to set the game alight. I was stunned when I heard Nonu and Hore had been dumped by fledgling Super coach Mark Hammett. They are quality players, and the All Black coaches don't seem to have trouble getting the best out of them. Perhaps it signalled a deficiency in Hammett's coaching? But let's think a little deeper. The Hurricanes, despite all the superb players they've had over the years, have never won a Super title. This season they've failed to make even the expanded play-offs. Listening to Hammett the other evening, I could see what he was getting at. He said the fortnight since the announcement had been extremely tough on he and his family, as Wellington rugby fans left him in no doubt what they thought of Nonu's forced departure. I'm the culprit in their eyes. I just have to take it,'' he said. We are a passionate people and we wouldn't want to lose that. But there does need to be change.'' For all his shellacking, Hammett remains ada- mant about what he's done. He said he had got to know the players during the season. I hope we hold on to some of the guys [who are wavering]. I know there strengths and weak- nesses and it's something to work on.'' The Crusaders rolled into Wellington, took on a fired up Hurricanes side and did the business professionally, even with one eye on the play-offs. It would be nice for Hurricanes fans if their team could display some of that clinical efficiency. If Hammett can bring that to the Hurricanes, Wellingtonians will forgive him for all his sins, even the sacking of our man Ma'a. Injury hit premiers find it tough going By COLIN WILLIAMS Upper Hutt rugby is finding the second-round top-flight Jubilee Cup heavy going. The side, hit hard by injuries, lost heavily for the second time from two starts, going down 30-3 to Marist St Pats at the Evans Park boghole on Saturday. Flanker Brook Cowan was red- carded late in his fractious game, with his automatic stand-down adding to the side's problems with a big injury list and unavailability. Fullback Jason Woodward missed his first game of the year and there was a consequent fragility in the back three, some good work from Nic Pearson excepted, which MSP consistently probed. MSP were given far too much lati- tude all game at the ruck, wander- ing offside and taking players out at will. As a result Upper Hutt suffered from a lack of ball to its backs and played much of the game in its own half. Two tries in each half was MSP's reward as they held on to the ball and broke down Upper Hutt's man- ful defence, possession simply meaning points in the end. The Hutt forwards worked hard, with the debut from Joel Tait at tighthead prop a positive and James Measor working hard all game and getting some big defensive hits on. Former league player Daniel Misa started at centre for the first time but received little attacking ball for judgement to be made, while Kayne Hammington turned in another dur- able performance at halfback. Upper Hutt are at home for the first time in the jubilee on Saturday (3pm), but against a Norths side that will be dangerous, coming off their first loss of the year. The loss of the centre George Faingaaand the utility Anthony Davidson in the last Swindale game has reduced their backline to a last man standing'' look, but there is hope the high-scoring Woodward will start on Saturday. Ray Sio at lock is a couple of weeks away, and the season-ending injury to Justin McIlwee and Jake Whiteman means the loss of the in- form Cowan will be hard to fill. The Jubilee Cup is no place for the faint-hearted. Upper Hutt are certainly not that, but they do look under-resourced and inexperienced at times. Rimutaka's Hardham Cup campaign comes to Maoribank Park on Saturday, 3pm, when they meet a fellow senior one side in Norths who sits top of the table after two wins, including beating the premier Wests side. Rimutaka will be looking for their first win for their promotion hopes. Which way? Upper Hutt's favourite son, Cory Jane, considers his options with the ball in hand as a Hurricane on Saturday evening. The fullback's future with the Wellington franchise is under some doubt following the high-profile departure of fellow All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore and a less-than-happy first season under the coaching of Mark Hammett. Photo: PETER McDONALD
June 15th 2011
June 29th 2011