NZ Barbarians (Live Sport Radio) Middleweight Rugby Tournament 2012.


Another fantastic Middleweight Rugby Tournament was held at College Rifles on September 15th and 16th at College Rifles RFC. Five separate Unions were involved in the Tournament.

A newly named sponsor, ” LIVE SPORT RADIO” was involved in the tournament and gave a massive boost for our Middleweight brand. Also, and very importantly for the U85kg Rugby Public, they now know that LIVE SPORT RADIO is interested in being part of the “Middleweight Family”. From the players point of view, Live Sport Radio” has now become the Middleweight rugby station. Apparently, more than 60% of the players are now tuned into Richard Loe during the week.

The Tournament committee with Mr Bryan Craies at the helm, our President Mr Mike Mills, Vice President, Mr Neil Cullimore, Auckland Rugby officials of Dave Syms, Cody Neilson, John Gillies, all did a great job. This was very apparent when players and management, at the end of the tournament, wanted to know when the next one was going to be held. We would also like to acknowledge Tony Hargood and Ahmed Khalil of College Rifles for their assistance and the use of their facilities as well as the fantastic food at the end of each day.

With the success of the Wellington Centurions in the Tournament we think this will have a major influence in changing the way Wellington Rugby Union may look at the importance of “Middleweight rugby”. The Centurions win was probably the best thing for the Centurions, having travelled so far and for the outcome of the tournament. They ” will have to come back to defend their title”. Wellington (Centurions), went through unbeaten scoring: 20- 3 over Auckland, 20-3 over Waikato, 20 nil over Thames Valley, 29-6 over North Harbour in the Final. Points for 89 and against 12.

The new look Thames Valley Development team that played, took their games very seriously and for the first time in the tournament’s history, had their first win over Waikato. The Valley boys also took Auckland and North Harbour to the sword but were very competitive right to the bitter end.

Although Waikato struggled to win games, because they were not able to field their best team but the players are very keen to continue playing in the tournament and have now got sponsors interested in supporting them.

Auckland and Harbour continued their battle with Harbour winning 12- 7 in a titanic struggle which was great for Harbour Middleweight rugby. North Harbour went through pool play unbeaten until they meet their Wellington Centurions counterparts. This game set a very high standard for the tournament.

The Final Tournament standings were as follows – Wellington Centurions 1st, North Harbour 2nd, Auckland 3rd, Thames Valley 4th, Waikato 5th .

The Middleweight Tournament competed with the NZ Secondary Schools final at Saint Kentigern’s college on the same weekend which, unfortunately attracted a number of the NZ Barbarian Club supporters, who were not able to support both events. This was a shame as both events were outstanding for spectators. Having said that, however, this was another very well organised tournament, with rugby of a very high standard.

At the end of the LIVE SPORT RADIO NZ Barbarians Middleweight Rugby Tournament – Gary Cunningham,and Wayne Underhay selected and named a 22 player tournament team. This team was read out by our Middleweight Convener Mr Bryan Craies –
The team is as follows:

Auckland – Colin Faulkner, Ben Claxton, Steve Kitchener, Bobby Taivoni.

North Harbour – Cam Larnder, Jesse Muir, Peter Stirrat, Texas Ngarongo- Porima, Hezekiah Bowlin.

Thames Valley – Curtis Hall, Cam Taylor.

Waikato – Ben Speake, Simon Rea, Richard Burns, Jason Young.

Wellington Centurions- Mike Wilson, Tony Natoli, Jared Hammington, David Rice, Corey Draper, Bill Drummond, Pat Houghton.

Thanks to The NZ Barbarians’ Rugby Football Club for sponsoring this tournament again and for the help given to the Thames Valley and Waikato teams.

The tournament highlighted why the Barbarians brand is so special. Promotion of Middleweight rugby (the game for players of all ages but within a restricted weight limit and great rugby to watch), helping communities keep players and administrators involved in the game and helping our young players fulfil their dreams.

Dean Allnutt.
NZ Barbarians Middleweight Rugby