Semi Final Review

Semi Final One

Canterbury v Auckland Storm
Location: Rugby Park, Christchurch

Great weather greeted Auckland as they took on Canterbury on their home turf for a place in the finals of the FPC 2020.
Canterbury came out firing and after a sustained attack went in for their first try after 8 minutes.
It was all one way traffic after that as Canterbury showed Auckland why they are 3 times FPC champions.
Auckland managed to get back claw back to a respectable score and even looked like pulling off an upset but Canterbury had other ideas.
Lead from pivot but the best halfback in the world, Kendra Cocksedge managed to be inspiring, niggly and a nuisance for the visiting side.
It will be very hard to beat Canterbury on a good day for Waikato.

Canterbury 38
Auckland 21

Semi Final Two

Waikato v Manawatu Cyclones
Location: FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Waikato went into this game as the favourites after both teams only dropped one game each in the round robin.
The Waikato team came out firing and within 3 minutes had the first try on the board to Captain Chelsea Alley who converted her own try.
It was also one way traffic for Waikato as they dominated all over the park and now play Canterbury in the final.
Manawatu had their moments but couldn’t quite finish any of the momentum they had.
Waikato will now play Canterbury in the final in Christchurch next Saturday 31st October.

Waikato 31
Manawatu 14

Week 7 Review

Hey fam! Final round of play before the playoffs next week and what a round it was.

Game 1

Hawkes Bay Tui v Manawatu Cyclones
Tremain Field, Napier

The Tui came into this game with fire and were not going to roll over easily for the Cyclones on home turf. Played well all over the field Manawatu were able to get the win out of it but not easily. The Cyclones can now rest assure that they have the play off spot against either Auckland Storm, Waikato or Counites Manukau.

Hawkes Bay Tui 12
Manawatu Cyclones 29

Game 2

Canterbury v Tasman Mako
Rugby Park, Christchurch

This game was a wash for Canterbury as they ran in ??? tries against the Tasman Mako. The final score saw the Red and Blacks take it 84 – 0.

Canterbury 84
Tasman Mako 0

Game 3

Taranaki Whio v Counties Manukau Heat
TET Stadium & Events Centre, Inglewood

This game was also a wash for Counties Manukau as they needed as many points as possible to be the best position to take the second playoff spot from either Auckland or Waikato.

Taranaki Whio 0
Counties Manukau 109 (that is the correct score)

Game 4

Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Northland Kauri
Black Park, Mt Maunganui

This game was meant to be a shoe in for the Volcanix if you had a look at the teams at the beginning of the season. Since then Northland have made strides in their development and have come away with the upset of the round beating out the Volcanix with an all round display and currently sit third on the Northern League Table. If the Kauri had have scored more points than Counties this round they would have gone to second place on the table.

Bay of Plenty Volcanix 0
Northland Kauri 32

Game 5

Wellington Pride v Otago Spirit
Porirua Park, Porirua

Both teams come into this game playing for their Pride and Spirit (see what I did there!). Probably the most evenly matched teams of the tournament they played their hearts out.
Wellington managed to just sneak home with the win.

Wellington Pride 27
Otago Spirit 24

Game 6

Auckland Storm v Waikato
Eden Park, Auckland

Top of the table clash and whoever wins has home advantage for the semifinals next week. It was the game of the round with Waikato guaranteed a semi final spot but against who was to be determined.
The game started with both teams having handling errors due to nerves but then settled in with a dominating performance from World Sevens Player of the Year Stacey Fluhler for Waikato. Auckland looked to camp out in the Waikato half but didn’t close out for a try (or 3).
Waikato looked like the stronger team on the day and played well all over the park.
Auckland only needed one point from this game to secure a semi final spot but Waikato had different ideas.
Waikato took the game convincingly and denied Auckland the second semi final spot.

**Update: Auckland have advanced to the semifinals due to a technicality**

Auckland Storm 10
Waikato 26

Week 6 Review

Hey fam! This is super late because we only had 3 games in the round and it was very predictable for the outcomes, so this is going to be short and sweet.

Game 1

North Harbour Hibiscus v Waikato
North Harbour Stadium, Albany

This game was a curtain raiser to a Mitre 10 Cup and Waikato pretty much dominated all over the park. The North Harbour players played well against a team who knew what they were doing.

North Harbour Hibiscus 0
Waikato 62

Game 2

Counties Manukau Heat v Bay of Plenty Volcanix
Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe

Counties really needed the win in this won having come off back to back loses in the previous weeks and it would also cement their place in the semifinals, but no one told the Volcanix. This game could have gone either way with both teams well matched everywhere. Counties eventually won the tight contest at the end of the day.

Counties Manukau Heat 17
Bay of Plenty Volcanix 10

Game 3

Northland Kauri v Taranaki Whio
Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei

Northland came into the game as favourites in win but not by much. Northland didn’t get the memo. The Kauri were having a field day with the tries and special mention has to go to Super Star Player Portia Woodman who picked up six tries in this game. This puts the Kauri in contention for a playoff spot if other results go their way.

Northland Kauri 77
Taranaki Whio 3


Week 5 Review

Week 5 has come and gone and the rugby flowed with it.

Game 1

Auckland Storm v Bay of Plenty Volcanix
Pakuranga Rugby Club, Pakuranga

This game was a do or die match for both teams as the winner will get a shot at the playoffs and the loser still needs to battle it out with three other teams for the second play off spot. Both teams were evenly matched coming into the game and the only real difference between them was the Volcanix couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Auckland barely managed a win in this on as the Bay could have easily taken it.

Auckland Storm 22
Bay of Plenty Volcanix 19

**Thanks to Auckland Rugby for inviting me along to this game as media. You guys are awesome.**

Game 2

Waikato v Counties Power Heat
Putaruru Rugby Club, Putaruru
Thanks to Bev’s Broadcasting for the livestream on Facebook.

Our game two of the round also saw another do or die match between two old foes. Counties really needed a win here to boast their confidence back due to the loss at the hands of the Northland Kauri last week. Waikato also needed the win to cement their front running position for the second play off spot. Both teams played out of their skins and the score line shows this as Waikato narrowly won over Counties with barely anything in it.

Waikato 34
Counties Power Heat 28

Game 3

Northland Kauri v North Harbour Hibiscus
Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei
Highlights thanks to Sky Sport:

Game three of a very congested afternoon of FPC saw Northland Kauri host North Harbour Hibiscus in Whangarei on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Kauri coming off the back of the upset of the season came into the game as favourites as North Harbour struggled to contain the Kauri superstars Tyler Nathan-Wong and Portia Woodman. Both of these players looked like they were having a blast on the field and it showed in the score line. The Kauri finished up with an impressive 11 tries to 1.

Northland Kauri 65
North Harbour Hibiscus 5

Game 4

Canterbury v Wellington Pride
OrangeTheory Stadium, Christchurch
Highlights thanks to Sky Sport

This was a must win for Wellington if they wanted to stay in the hunt for a play off spot. Unfortunately no one told Canterbury. The Red and Blacks as usual took charge of the game early on and never let the foot of the pedal. With arguably the best halfback in the world commanding the backline, Kendra Cocksedge has managed to steer Canterbury to the playoffs yet again. Wellington had some brilliant flashes but Canterbury were too good on the day.

Canterbury 54
Wellington Pride 12

Game 5

Tasman Mako v Hawkes Bay Tuis
Sports Park, Moetueka
Thanks to Tasman Mako for the livestream

This game was a confidence booster for whoever won as both teams had lost all their games up to this point. Hawkes Bay showed their are definitely a team to watch in the next few seasons as they racked up a 19 point lead at half time. Tasman showed some promise but need to work on the basics first. The Tuis were too good on the day for the Mako.

Tasman Mako 5
Hawkes Bay Tuis 62

Game 6

Otago Spirit v Manawatu Cyclones
Forysth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Thanks to Elevate Analysis for the livestream.

Our final game of the round saw Otago Spirit hast Manawatu Cyclones for the chance to secure the second play off spot in the Southern League. Both teams needed the win boast their chances of coming in second best to Canterbury. Both teams were evenly matched on the team sheet and it was anyones game up until the last 5 minutes when the Cyclones scored the try to put Otago out of reach of a bonus point. The Cyclones were too good on the day with star play maker Selica Winiata again getting 4 from 4 conversions.

Otago Spirit 14
Manawatu Cyclones 28

That’s all for Week 5.

Next week the Southern League have a bye and the Auckland Storm also have the bye so it should be interesting to see who in the Northern League are going to get the second spot for the play offs.

Week 4 Review

Week 4 has been and gone and um yeah, is all I’ll say for now.

Game 1.

Wellington Pride vs Manawatu Cyclones
Sky Stadium, Live Sky Sport

This game was arguably the game of the round. Both teams needing this win to secure a spot for the semifinals. Both came into it with great forward packs and decided to spread it wide out the back as well. Unfortunately for Wellington, this was not their night. The Cyclones were too good in the end thanks to star play maker Selica Winiata. Manawatu walked away with the win and the bonus point but it wasn’t enough. The Pride also finished with 4 tries and lost by less than 7 which means they picked up 2 bonus points.
This puts Manawatu at the hands of fate. They need to win their remaining games against Otago and Hawkes Bay and also need Wellington to lose a match as the Pride are currently second on the table based on points.

Wellington Pride. 28
Manawatu Cyclones 31

Game 2.

Tasman Mako v Otago Spirit
Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Not televised or livestreamed.

This game looked like a whitewash for Otago as they went in for ??? tries. Otago secured their second win of the season and now sit in fourth place with still a chance for a play off spot.

Tasman Mako 24
Otago Spirit. 67

Game 3.

North Harbour Hibiscus v Auckland Storm
North Harbour Stadium, Albany

This game was meant to be played at Kumeu Rugby Clubs but due to Auckland still being in Love 2 lockdown was moved to North Harbour Stadium for controlled entry.
Auckland ran away with this game will look to next weekends match against the Bay of Plenty Volcanix as the challenge of the season. You can check out the photos on the Facebook page under albums.

North Harbour Hibiscus. 0
Auckland Storm 72

Thanks to Dennis Mansfield for the photos

Game 4.

Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Taranaki Whio
Blake Park, Mt Maunganui

Bay of Plenty where too good for the fresh new Taranaki Whio and ran away with this game 73 – 17.
I think the younger teams (Taranaki and Northland) will need to bring their fitness up to compete well against some of the bigger name teams (Canterbury I’m looking at you).

Bay of Plenty Volcanix. 73
Taranaki Whio 17

Game 5.

Hawkes Bay Tuis v Canterbury
McLean Park, Napier

This game was very entertaining with what we all like to call champagne rugby. Canterbury ran out an unstoppable lead at halftime and didn’t take their foot of the gas until the final whistle.
This game had the hallmarks of being competitive but Canterbury were in a class of their own.

Hawkes Bay Tui. 15
Canterbury 72

Game 6

Counties Manukau Heat v Northland Kauri
Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe

Well, what can I say! Northland Kauri have pulled off the upset of the season by beating the Heat 32 – 20. The second half alone saw the Kauri stack on 22 unanswered points with star back Portia Woodman helping out in the try department. This game was meant to be a walk in the park for Counties but no-one told the Kauri. They played their hearts and bodies out of this game and came away with the spoils.
This puts Counties in 3rd place in the Northern League and they will need to win all their upcoming games to to qualify for playoffs.
**Link to full game forthcoming**.

Counties Manukau Heat. 20
Northland Kauri 32

That’s it from me for round 4.
I hope everyone can go and have a read of the rant I had about NZR and Sky Sport not playing the women’s game.
Please, if you can, contact your local union and tell them you want to see more women’s rugby at the grounds and on tv.

Thanks for reading this far, you’re awesome and have a great week.

Special thanks to Paul over at New Zealand Sport Radio for all the interviews with the players you see on the Facebook page. He’s a legend! Go give him a follow on his sports page NZ Sport Radio

Also, my interview with Alice Soper, Wellington forward and social media influencer will be up on the website and also the Facebook page tomorrow. Woo!

Week 3 Review

What a weekend of rugby! Am I right?!

This weeks games started on Saturday afternoon with 4 back to back games being played. My weekend was all but sorted!

Game 1:
Wellington Pride v Hawkes Bay Tui
Livestream here: Wel v HB
Thanks to Wellington Rugby for the livestream

Our first game of the round saw the Pride play against the Tui in at Petone Recreation Centre in the Hutt Valley. Wellington easily put Hawkes Bay away with an empathetic win of 67 – 17. The Tuis played well but were unable to capitalise on their chances and the Pride ran away with the game.

You can watch a replay of the game at the above link thanks to Wellington Rugby FB page.
Photos from the game can be found here. Thanks to Chainsawphotos for the link to the pictures.

Game 2:
Canterbury v Otago Spirit
Live on Sky Sport
Highlights here
Thanks to Sky Sport and Black Ferns FB Page for this.

Canterbury came out of the gate with all guns blazing and showed why they are the team to beat in this competition. With their second concise victory in a row it will be hard to them this year. Otago put in a brave effort but were outclassed in every area.

Game 3:
Taranaki Whio v North Harbour Hibiscus
Livestream here
Thanks to Taranaki Rugby for the livestream.

Taranaki won their first game of the season and show why they were included in the FPC last year. They determination and spirit were on display as they won 32 -29 over North Harbour in the dying minutes of the game. We look forward to their progression. North Harbour played well and could have easily won the game but I think home advantage for the Whio helped at the end of the day.

Game 4:
Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Waikato
Highlights here
Thanks to Sky Sport and Black Ferns FB Page for this.

This game between the Volcanix and Waikato (still don’t have a nickname) showed that the Bay have come a long way in growing and could have easily won against Waikato. Unfortunately for them Waikato held onto the win and this game was more even than the score line suggests.

Game 5:
Manawatu Cyclones v Tasman Mako
Highlights here
Thanks to Sky Sport and Black Ferns FB Page for this.

The Cyclones came out roaring and the score line blew out to 88 – 0 in this lopsided game against the Tasman Mako.
Manawatu were dominate in the forward pack with the first scrum being a tighthead and the back line were on fire thanks to Captain Fantastic Selica Winiata.
The Cyclones are going to be the team to beat in the Southern League.

Game 6:
Auckland Storm v Counties Manukau Heat
Livestream here
Thanks to Auckland Rugby for the livestream

The game of the round saw Auckland host Counties with a clash of the titans game on. Counties were a bit shaky to start but got into gear halfway through the first half. Auckland looked like they could have put more points on the board if they hadn’t let the ball go to start with. Counties came away with a convincing 36 – 22 win and a bonus point.

After 3 rounds of the FPC we have seen some fairly lopsided games due to the division of a Northern and Southern League due to Corona-19. The Northern league has shown who the main contenders are in Waikato and Counties with Auckland sitting in the middle of them due to bonus points.
The Southern League are showing that Canterbury are the team to beat but Wellington could give them a run for their money in Week 5 when the JJ Stewart Trophy goes on the line as well.

That’s it from us this weekend. Have an awesome week ahead.

Week 2 Review

Hey fam! Week 2 of the FPC has been and gone and it was a slightly lopsided weekend with (I was hoping) a few good turns. It was a full on weekend with six games in total being played all over the country. Counties Manukau Heat had the bye this weekend.

Thanks to Manawatu Rugby, Tasman Rugby and Otago Spirit for live-streaming their games on Facebook.

Game 1 of the weekend had North Harbour Hibiscus host Bay of Plenty Volcanix at North Harbour Stadium on a chill Friday afternoon.
The Hibiscus started out well and then fizzled off as the game wore on. The Volcanix showed with their flair and running game why they will be contenders this year with a dazzling 67 -17 win over the Hibiscus.

Game 2 of the round had Waikato (still no nickname – and we are not saying the ridiculously long Universities whatever name they have) play the Taranaki Whio (solid name) at FMG Stadium on Saturday morning-ish. The Whio came out strong in the first 10 – 15 minutes of the game then faded like a flower as the match wore on. Fitness levels need to be brought up by all teams as this looks like a reoccurring theme throughout this weekends games.
Waikato (I christen you “The Dubs”) won the match convincingly with a 76-14 dominate display of athleticism.

Waikato’s Carla Hohepa makes a strong run during the round 2 Farah Palmer Cup match between Waikato and Taranaki in Hamilton on Saturday.

Game 3 had the Manawatu Cyclones host Canterbury at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North. The Cyclones lead early in the first half and only trailed 15 – 10 to Canterbury at the break. Canterbury must have got a talking to at halftime because they managed to take the game 36-10 with 16 unanswered points being scored in the second half. Kendra Cocksedge also showed why she is the best rugby player in New Zealand with her command of the forward pack and aim with the boot.
The Cyclones can come away from this game with a sense of accomplishment as the scoreline did not reflect that actually game as it was anyones game up until the closing whistle.

Game 4 had Tasman Mako host Wellington Pride at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim on a ridiculously sunny and chill Saturday afternoon. Even through the Pride ran rampant around Blenheim with a 62 – 0 win over the Mako, Tasman can still hold their own against any opponent with better fitness.

Game 5 was probably the game of the round as the Northland Kauri hosted the Auckland Storm at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei. The Kauri took an early lead at 15-14 after 20 minutes. With superstar back Portia Woodward playing for them the Kauri had an impressive backline along with sevens’ player Tyler Nathan-Wong also in the mix. The Kauri had every opportunity to take this game away from the Storm but couldn’t quite do it. An impressive game from Aroha Savage at No.8 shows she is definitely a player to watch. Auckland eventually won 29-22 with 4 tries to 3.

The last game of the round had Otago Spirit host Hawkes Bay Tuis at Forysth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. The Spirit are showing once again why they will likely be in the playoffs this year with an empathetic win of 29 – 20. The Tui are also showing us how fair they’ve come along with a solid display of fitness and a forward pack to watch.

This weeks games has shown the clear front runners for this years title with only two weeks of play. The dark horse who may bolt look like the Northland Kauri and the Manawatu Cyclones.

I’ll catch everyone next week for round 3 where it looks like we’ll have a bumper of a weekend.

Week 1 Review – A bit late, but better late than never.

Hey fam!

Week 1 is done and dusted and it was a good one.

Our opening game of the season saw Waikato (no nickname) host the Northland Kauri at the Waikato University Rugby Clubs in Hamilton.
The game was played at pace and the final score had Waikato beat Northland 18-5 in a not that great performance.
This game showed that the mighty Kauri were well on their way to competing in this years FPC.

Our second game of the season had Counties Manukau Heat (cool nickname) host North Harbour Hibiscus at Navigation Stadium in Pukekohe.
The Heat ran circles around the Hibiscus with the final score sitting at 89-3. North Harbour need to keep their belief in themselves if they want to continue for the next few weeks.
The Heat have the bye next week so will be sitting pretty for week 3 regardless what happens in week 2.

Our last game of the weekend had the Taranaki Whio host the Auckland Storm in Inglewood. The score may have read 0-38 to the Storm but the Whio played a very good game and can come away from this with confidence against Waikato next week.

The first set of games were a bit predictable with Counties showing why they have made the playoffs 3 years running. The newcomers Northland Kauri and Taranaki Whio are showing vast improvements from their inaugural first years in the game and should go on to win at least one game each this season.

Next week is a busy one with all the teams – bar Counties – having a game to play. Week 2 preview will be up on Friday night.

Week 1 – Preview

The Farah Palmer Cup will kick off on Saturday 5th September with Waikato hosting Northland Taniwha with a venue yet to be determined.

Then Counties Manukau Heat have North Harbour Hibiscus at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe. This game is the being played before a Mitre 10 Cup game so it should be on Sky TV. We’ll keep you posted with more details to come.

The final game of the weekend see Taranaki Whio host Auckland Storm at TET Stadium & Events Centre in Inglewood, New Plymouth.

Bay of Plenty Volcanix get the bye this weekend.

New and Improved (I think)

Hey fam! Thanks for sticking with us through these tumultuous times. With Auckland in Lockdown Level 3 for the past few weeks things have been tough. But never the less, we persisted!

This year’s competition see our teams being split into two leagues with the Northern League made up of:

Northern League Southern League
Northland Taniwha Hawkes Bay Tui’s
North Harbour Hibiscus Manawatu Cyclones.
Auckland Storm Wellington Pride
Counties Maukau Heat Tasman Mako
Waikato Canterbury
Bay of Plenty Volcanix Otago Spirit
Taranaki Whio  

The two highest ranked teams of each League after the round robin will go on to play the semi-finals on the weekend of October 23-25 (venue dependant).

The finals will be played on the weekend of October 30th – November 1st.

You can check out all the latest news from the teams here.