Norths build on strong foun­da­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - JARED NI­COLL

There’s grow­ing talk of vy­ing for a spot in Welling­ton club rugby’s Ju­bilee Cup af­ter a strong start to the rugby sea­son for the Norths.

Cap­tained by 80-game vet­eran Fala Tuala, the North­ern United Rugby Foot­ball Club premier team won their first four games in round 1 of the 2017 Swin­dale Shield com­pe­ti­tion, putting them first-equal at the top of the ta­ble with Old Boys-Uni­ver­sity as of early April.

Be­fore the week­end’s match, when they lost to Tawa 24-17, man­ager Mike Parker said the team was aim­ing to build a strong foun­da­tion with depth in the ranks, ‘‘to give us the best pos­si­ble chances for suc­cess in the later rounds of the Swin­dale Shield, and hope­fully into the Ju­bilee Cup’’.

‘‘This has been a great start to the sea­son, how­ever there is still a long way to go with a fur­ther nine games re­main­ing in round one,’’ Parker said.

‘‘The premier team’s goal is to se­cure a place in the Ju­bilee Cup round, and we are tak­ing each game week by week and on its mer­its.’’

Though the team had lost a cou­ple of key play­ers, such as Jack­son Gar­den-Ba­chop to the Mel­bourne Rebels and Daniel Reuelu Buchanan to work in Auck­land, the team has brought in promis­ing new blood with premier debu­tants such as Quaid Martin-Lau­ma­tia, Tana Salz­mann, Sa­gato Nafa­tali and Esi Ko­maisavai.

Norths have also ac­quired open­side flanker Antony Fox from Waikanae RFC, who was last year part of the Horowhenua Kapiti Heart­land Rep side.

Parker said there were ex­cit­ing prospects from the likes of Cal­lum Watt-Poin­ter from Welling­ton Col­lege and Parke Wil­liams from Porirua Col­lege along with Norm Fa­tialofa and Milli Nafa­tali from Ron­go­tai Col­lege who are play­ing for the Colts or Premier Re­serve Grades.

From Ja­pan; full­back Take­hiro Nakazawa of the Black Rams is with the team for round 1 ‘‘and of course we are de­lighted to see the re­turn of Leon El­li­son, back home to Norths, af­ter sev­eral sea­sons in Ja­pan and most re­cently play­ing for the Ja­pan 7s side’’.

Mean­while, Chris Mid­dle­ton will add an ‘‘enor­mous amount of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ex­pe­ri­ence to the for­wards’’ af­ter re­turn­ing from Aus­tralia where he has been com­pet­ing in an in­ter­na­tional surf boat se­ries for Ti­tahi Bay.

ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIR­FAX NZ.

Norths’ Perry Hay­man tries to break through with Welling­ton player Cal­lum Harkin on him.

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