Now that is a don’t argue!!

Dean Mumm delivers the ultimate ‘Don’t Argue’ in the Waratahs match vs Sharks on 24th March.

Man that would hurt.

Varsity A vs Yellows as it happened

First up season games are an absorbing struggle as teams find out how much fitness work they did in the off season. Go Varsity!
— MasseyUniRFC (@MasseyUniRFC) March 24, 2012

Varsity leading 6 – 3 almost half time.GoVarsity #club #rugby twitpic.com/90ezd8
— MasseyUniRFC (@MasseyUniRFC) March 24, 2012

20120324_VAvsFY

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Tran moves to Kia Toa after 9 Years with Varsity

Willie Tran to play for Kia Toa in 2012

There appear to be more high-quality hookers in Manawatu club rugby this season than in Karangahape Rd.

Many of them are probably chasing one spot in the Manawatu Turbos with Rob Foreman looking secure in the No2 jersey after 69 games.

Kia Toa’s Bryn Templeman was his back-up last year but he has had two knee operations since then and has been advised to stay out of action until late in the club season at the earliest.

So for much of it, Willie Tran will take over that spot at Kias after nine years at Varsity. He and Foreman had been vying for the hooker’s spot there, but with the Turbos available for the entire club competition, the Manawatu coaches did not want Foreman playing half of his games on the side of the scrum.

Another hooking contender is the Canterbury man at Te Kawau, Michael Gardner, who is in camp all week with the New Zealand under-20 squad at Massey University and won’t be playing against Feilding Old Boys-Oroua at Rongotea tomorrow.

A swag of Whanganui players from their Heartland team have migrated to Manawatu, obviously lured by the success of two of their expatriates, Michael FitzGerald and Asaeli Tikoirotuma, who are now Super Rugby players.

Another from Whanganui is Kaierau hooker Willie Harris who has joined College Old Boys. However, he is away for tomorrow’s first game against the redoubtable-looking Kia Toa lineup at Bill Brown Park.

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Varsity Hooker in Hurricanes Dev. XV

For a moment it appeared there had been a misprint when a list of Hurricanes development players was emailed from Wellington yesterday.

That’s because two Manawatu players – lock Fraser Stone and hooker Rob Foreman – were listed in the 22 to play Samoa A at Porirua last night.

It was a shock because until now, Manawatu players have been shunned by the Hurricanes and none had even been picked for their wider training group.

Manawatu fans have long maintained players like Foreman should have been in Super Rugby squads.

He came off the bench for the final 25 minutes last night with Southland’s David Hall the starting hooker.

The Hurricanes won 29-16 in atrocious, wet and windy conditions against a Samoan side which had played five previous games.

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Coaches tell very different match stories

There were no more contrasting emotions than those of the two coaches after Varsity beat Te Kawau 29-27 to retain the Hankins Shield in the cliffhanger final second of injury time on Saturday.

Varsity’s Geoff Thompson repeatedly stressed his team had been playing for 80 minutes, just as they did last year in the 11-10 final win over Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.

An emotional Bryan Matenga felt his Te Kawau team had been sawn off after referee Mark Long repeatedly penalised his Real Blokes at the wave of rucks in the final seconds. When Long was booed off the field, it was a sour and irrational reaction.

Te Kawau didn’t help themselves during the nail-biting climax when they allowed the students to rip back from 27-19 down with 10 minutes to play. With time almost up and Te Kawau ahead 27-22, Varsity sub Jackson Clince put in a kick to the corner, Te Kawau’s Vili Dakunimata hit the ball into touch and that was an obvious penalty.

“It’s not the ref’s fault,” Thompson said. “We kicked the ball and they slapped it out.”

Varsity’s forwards were a match for Te Kawau’s and they drove and drove as desperate Te Kawau defenders flopped and Long pinged them. Finally Varsity flanker Marty Stevenson dived over and Scott Davidson converted.

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Varsity in narrow win to take Hankins Shield

Varsity A with Hankins Shield

Varsity’s win in the Hankins Shield final was the 16th for the Massey University club.

It was their first in six seasons, the most recent in 2004 when Varsity beat High School Old Boys in what was the students’ 75th jubilee year.

The 2004 team was captained by flanker Josh Bradnock, who was helping the team on Saturday, and was coached by Steve Morris.

Morris, as the Manawatu Rugby Union chairman, happily handed over the Hankins Shield to captain Scott Lewis on Saturday.

Morris also coached Varsity to a Manawatu championship in his first year as coach, in 1982. The club also won in 1988-89 when Manawatu halfback Murray Kendrick was the player-coach.

Varsity lost last year’s final to Kia Toa and that was crucial as far as coach Geoff Thompson was concerned.

“This was good after last year’s disappointment,” he said. “I think you’ve got to lose one to win one.”

That should be the incentive for Feilding Old Boys-Oroua, who lost the final 11-10 in only their second season as a united club. They drew surprisingly large numbers of supporters decked out in red, white and blue.

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Students end COB’s Hankins Shield hopes

Isaac Thompson breaks the line

Turbos first five-eighth Isaac Thompson spelt the difference when the students knocked out College Old Boys from the Hankins Shield race at Arena Manawatu on Saturday.

With his forwards steaming, Thompson, son of Varsity coach Geoff, knocked over two penalties and a dropped goal in the last quarter to shut out the 2005, 2006 and 2007 champions.

But his low punting to the corners was the critical part of the semifinal, while hooker Bryn Templeman was the outstanding figure in Kia Toa’s more predictable, 35-17 win over Old Boys-Marist on FMG Stadium.

Ironically, had COB reached the final, they would’ve had star five-eighth Aaron Cruden. Had he played on Saturday, it might have been different. But to Varsity’s credit, their big forwards were on a rampage, clamped COB in their half for much of the second spell and tackled desperately.

The man who had the winning of the game was Turbos’ threequarter Andre Taylor who often cut through the Varsity line and, as time ticked by, a certain try beckoned, which would have won the semifinal.

The pass was slightly high, Taylor grassed it and that was it. But COB coach John Cruden said it probably wouldn’t have been justice because Varsity deserved the win. “At least we had an opportunity this year,” he said. “The better team won on the day.”

Again COB dipped out with the best record, just two losses all year. Varsity have lost six and Kia Toa three. For Geoff Thompson, Varsity’s game plan worked a treat. “The plan was to put the ball in behind and to play percentage rugby. It was who made the most errors.”

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