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Thursday, July 27, 2017
Ngani Laumape hopes the newly-
scrawled target on his back can
make space for somebody else in the
One of the stars of the Super Rugby
season, Laumape is embracing the
chance to cut loose in hard, fast
conditions in Johannesburg when his
defending champion side play their
semi-final against the Lions.
The wrecking ball second five-eighth
has enjoyed a stellar season, starting
every game for the Hurricanes and
proving such a handful that he could not
be ignored by the All Blacks selectors.
His maiden test start was a compelling
performance in the drawn third test at
Eden Park, enhancing his reputation as
an attacking weapon.
With that has come extra attention.
Obser vers have noted the 24-year-
old is a defensive focus of opponents,
allotting extra numbers to the task of
halting his rumbles over the advantage
“I’ve been noticing that as well,”
Laumape said from Johannesburg. “But
if they ’re putting numbers there, then
the boys will call it. Whoever’s in the
space will call it.”
Laumape looks set to be rejoined by
regular midfield partner Vince Aso,
who has missed two games with a groin
The pair have sat on 14 tries each this
season for several weeks, tantalisingly
one shy of the competition record set by
Brumbies winger Joe Roff in 1997.
Laumape has enjoyed playing inside
Jordie Barrett in the interim but
understands why the latter will probably
be restored to fullback this week.
“Having Jordie added another
dimension to the midfield. Jordie’s
got good vision and also he’s a good
defender,” Laumape said.
“But we just know that Jordie’s got a
good boot on him so we’d be silly not to
use it (from fullback).”
Former Warriors back Laumape admits
he is still adjusting to the gruelling
requirements of playing matches at high
altitude in South Africa.
He shone in the defeat of the Bulls in
Pretoria two months ago and reckons
he can thrive on a hard track in an
afternoon match at Ellis Park, lungs
Winning the physical battle with the
Lions will be crucial, he predicts.
PICTURE: Janna Sherman
Wests merger celebrates 25th
Third generation Excelsior Rugby Football Club player Francis Gugich, left, with a photo of his father’s team in 1928, and former
St Mary’s Old Boys Rugby Football Club player Bernie Lee, with the last team photo before the two clubs merged in 1992 to create
Wests. Mr Lee is now president of Wests, which itself is an acronym of Westland, Excelsior, St Mary’s. This weekend the Hokitika
club will celebrate 25 years since the merger, as part of the club’s annual senior rugby dinner and prizegiving. Today, Wests has more
than 120 players across all grades.
The Chiefs are bracing for a
battle when they take on the
Crusaders for a place in the Super
Rugby final in Christchurch on
The Hamilton-based side only
arrived home on Tuesday after
their 17-11 victory over the
Stormers in Cape Town, and
now must find a way to overcome
the seven- time champions from
They were in the same position
last year, returning from South
Africa before their 25-9 defeat to
the Hurricanes in the semi final.
Rennie said his team was up for
“ We have come back from
Africa seven times in the last
six years and won six of them,
and the one we didn’t get right
was against a pretty good side,”
Rennie said yesterday.
“No doubt we can adjust more
effectively this time around, so
we’ve looked at everything and
ticked a lot of boxes.”
The Chiefs have a good record
against the Crusaders, having
won eight of their last 12 match-
ups, including three in a row in
Rennie was aware history
would count for little. He also
promised his troops would shake
up their tactics after watching
the red-and-blacks suffocate the
Highlanders 17-0 last weekend.
“ We’ve had success down
there in the past but we know
we’re playing a really good side
who has been the form team in
the competition,” Rennie said.
“They ’re a sharp outfit and they ’ll
study us, and we want to be able
to shock them with a couple of
“ We love playing them and
there’s no bigger challenge than
facing the Crusaders at home, so
we’re pretty excited,” co-captain
Sam Cane said.
The seven-time champions
were impressive dismantling the
Highlanders last weekend, and
Cane expected another battle up
front against a Cantabrian side
stacked with test talent.
Joe Moody, Wyatt Crockett,
Codie Taylor, O wen Franks,
Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano
and Scott Barrett all play for the
“Like all finals matches, it’s
about taking your opportunities,”
Cane said. “ They’ve got a very
sharp for ward pack but we have
some guys who are not too far
off international level, so it’s
about who turns up on the day.
We know in a game like this that
we’re going have to be at our very
Meanwhile, Chiefs fullback
Damian McKenzie has played a
straight bat to reports of interest
from UK Premiership club
Leicester Tigers post-2018.
The 22-year-old livewire is off
contract at the end of 2018 and
may be heading to England,
having been overlooked for
the British and Irish Lions test
series in favour of Hurricanes ace
He was later drafted in as injury
cover for Ben Smith.
With Smith taking a sabbatical
later this year, McKenzie feels he
has plenty to play for, including
Rugby Championship test caps.
“ It ’s just about playing consistent
footy and controlling what
you can control, which is your
performance in the weekend,”
McKenzie said his immediate
focus was on Saturday night ’s
semi-final in Christchurch.
The Chiefs were encouraged
by their last clash with the New
Zealand Conference winners in
May, when they lost a close Suva
tussle 31-24, but were on red
alert for the Cantabrians’ rush
“That was a tight game and now
it’s the play-offs, which is one
match at a time, and obviously
they ’ve been the benchmark,” the
two-test McKenzie said.
“This game will be another step
up. We need to do the simple
things right by exploiting the
opportunities they present to us,
so we just need to adapt to their
line speed.” — NZN
in Chiefs derby
All Blacks vice captain Ben
Smith has confirmed next
month’s two Bledisloe Cup tests
will be his last rugby matches of
World-class fullback Smith
said, through his agent, that he
is taking up a sabbatical clause in
his contract following the second
Rugby Championship test
against Australia in home town
Dunedin on August 26.
In a move which had been
widely forecast, Smith wants a
break to help him best prepare
physically and mentally for the
2019 World Cup, when he will
His agent, Warren Alcock,
revealed the 63-test veteran
had originally intended to take
the rest of the year off after
Super Rugby. However, injury
had reduced his 2017 workload
considerably, leaving him keen to
face the Australians.
meant Smith played nine of
the Highlanders’ 16 Super
Rugby matches, including last
week’s quarter-final loss to the
He captained the All Blacks
in their season-opening defeat
of Samoa but was forced out of
the series against the British and
Irish Lions just 27 minutes into
the first test after falling heavily.
What was originally thought to
be a concussion-related issue was
later diagnosed as vertigo.
similar breaks negotiated by
previous key All Blacks players
such as Richie McCaw, Dan
Carter and Conrad Smith.
Smith’s unavailability for the
last eight tests of 2017 opens the
door for 20-year-old Hurricane
Jordie Barrett to stake a long-
Other fullback contenders
are Chiefs livewire Damian
McKenzie and Crusaders veteran
Israel Dagg. — NZ N
Smith’s sabbatical confirmed
The Lions’ motivation levels to win a
Super Rugby title will override their lack
of exposure to New Zealand teams this
That ’s the view of Hurricanes assistant
coach John Plumtree ahead of a semi-
final in Johannesburg which pits the
teams who contested last year’s decider.
While the defending champion
Hurricanes are disadvantaged by travel
and playing at altitude at a hostile Ellis
Park, commentators believe the Lions
may come unstuck through the nature of
the conference draw.
The South African side have not faced
a team from the power-packed New
Zealand conference this year.
In 2016, the Stormers looked
impressive during a New Zealand-free
campaign before succumbing by 39
points when confronted by the greater
intensity of the Chiefs in the quarter-
Plumtree believes the Lions will be
prepared for the step-up and will be
highly motivated for a host of reasons.
They will want to avenge the 20-3
result in last year’s final in Wellington,
in the process setting up a home final
next week where they could become the
second South African team after the
Bulls to be crowned champions.
Ackerman is leaving for Gloucester next
year, having transformed the perennial
Lastly, playing on their minds will be
the patchy nature of their last-ditch 23-
21 quarter-final defeat of the Sharks last
“It’ll motivate the Lions to play better
in the next one, which they know they ’ll
need to because we’re probably a better
side than the Sharks,” Plumtree said.
“But they ’ve played us enough that
they’ll know what to expect from us.
They ’ve got a massive support base here
and they ’re very motivated around the
fact their coach is leaving.”
Plumtree says the Hurricanes were
also disappointed by their quarter-final
effort, taking half a game to find their
rhythm before beating the Brumbies 35-
16 in Canberra.
Playing on a hard surface in forecast
warm conditions on Sunday morning
has the potential to play into the hands
of an attack-minded Hurricanes side.
However, it is crucial they don’t forget
the basics, with the free-wheeling Lions
equally capable of pouncing on mistakes.
The teams have tallied a remarkable
177 tries between them this year.
“The basics of the game need to be
performed well before we can unleash
what we know we can do,” Plumtree
“ We’ve started slowly the last three
games. We have to make sure that we
apply early pressure and not have to
absorb so much. ” — NZN
Steven Adams was a New Zealander
who benefited from some help on the
way through to NBA stardom with
the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since his rookie season Steven
has been introducing a whole new
generation of New Zealand children
to the fun, athleticism and healthy
competitive spirit of basketball . . .
and this year he is looking to do it
with a game of golf !
The Steven Adams Invitational is a
celebrity-amateur event to be staged
at New Zealand’s exciting new
course, Windross Farm Golf Club in
Auckland on September 1.
It is at the same venue that will also
see Lydia Ko host the best female
golfers in the world a few weeks later.
The Steven Adams Invitational
is a charity tournament with the
aim of raising funds for the Sports
Pathways Trust to assist with its work
of promoting junior basketball in
New Zealand. Funds raised will help
with the trust ’s mission of developing
young student athletes in New
“I’m looking for ward to hosting my
own tournament at Windross Farm.
It ’s going to be great fun teeing it up
with some of New Zealand’s sporting
stars. I’ve asked Lydia for a few
tips with my swing so I’m ready on
September 1!” Adams said.
The sees Adams invite 18 celebrities
to participate in his tournament. The
celebrities will team up with some of
the New Zealand’s most generous
private and corporate golfers to help
get New Zealand children playing
the game that Steven loves.
Beauden Barrett, Israel Dagg, Trent
Boult, Tim Southee, Eric Murray,
Mahe Drysdale, Awen Guttenbeil
and Christian Cullen are among
those who have accepted Steven’s
invitation to play.
Canes’ Laumape now a marked man
Hurricanes Ngani Laumape beat the defence of Crusaders Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue and Wyatt
Crockett in their last encounter.
Adams to host celebrity golf tournament
Discover how you can shape a career as a registered
midwife guiding women through one of life’s most
meaningful events by studying a Bachelor of
Midwifery in Greymouth. At our free information
session we’ll explain the blended delivery model
that allows you to study and work in your own
community, including the support provided by a
midwifery lecturer based on the West Coast.
4pm-5.30pm, Tuesday 8 August
Room CB1, Tai Poutini Polytechnic.
KNOWLEDGE AT WORK
There’s good news for West Coasters
considering a career in midwifery;
it’s possible to study a degree in
midwifery anywhere in the region and
there are good local job opportunities
Ara Institute of Canterbury’s highly
regarded Bachelor of Midwifery
includes a satellite option that enables
students around the South Island to
do most of their study in their local
region, with the support of a locally-
Helen Turner graduated from Ara
with a Bachelor of Midwifery in 2016
and is now working as a case-loading
midwife with Buller Birthing Practice
a job she loves. “My family and I
really enjoy the community here,” she
says. “I work between 30 and 50 hours
a week and travel long distances in a
beautiful part of the country.”
Helen’s role comes naturally to
her, having always lived in rural
areas. She lived in the Nelson region
while studying her degree and had
no problem learning ‘off-campus’
with assistance from her local tutor.
She also attended several intensive
block courses at the City campus in
“ The intensive courses were a
great strengthening aspect of the
course,” Helen says. “ They encouraged
a sense of belonging within the
community of midwifery and they
developed our group participation
and communication skills.”
Helen also enjoyed the programme’s
“ They were such an essential aspect
of the programme. The whole third
and final year of the programme was
the highlight of the degree for me:
doing the job and immersing myself in
the communities of women and their
families across the country.”
Helen adds that her rural placement
experience prepared her well for her
“It gave me the confidence to work
in a rural area as a graduate, rather
than first gaining experience within a
Caroline Selwood, Ara Institute of
Canterbury’s West Coast midwifery
satellite kaiako/tutor says a career in
midwifery offers many opportunities.
“ There’s always a shortage of rural
West Coast graduates can practice
in their own region as a core midwife
or lead maternity carer, or they can
choose to work in other regions.”
For anyone interested in a career
in midwifery, Ara is holding a free
information session about its degree
programme in Greymouth on Tuesday
The session will be held in room CB1
at Tai Poutini Polytechnic from 4pm to
Midwifery degree available to West Coast students
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