Around the Grounds - March 31st

Mutz brings up his ton
Bombay and Steelers veteran Matiaha Martin brought his 100 games for his beloved club in appropriate style last weekend.
Bombay – the reigning McNamara Cup champions from 2019 – hammered newcomers Weymouth 86-0 at Bombay Domain as the lock celebrated his century.
Martin has been a key figure as Bombay has claimed five of the past six titles.

Women’s Super Rugby?
Some welcome news for the leading female players in the Counties Manukau region with confirmation of a one-off game between a Blues and Chiefs women’s XVs in May.
The game, to be played at Eden Park, will see the best female players in each region square-off with a number of Heat players expected to be involved.
It has been revealed that New Zealand Rugby is in the early stages of establishing a women’s Super Rugby competition that could start as early as next year.
“We would like to have a competition like that, be it at a professional or semi-professional level, but that is contingent on the resources that we have available to us,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

Weekend off a welcome relief
The timing of Easter this year hasn’t helped club footy with the holiday weekend falling one week into the McNamara Cup season.
The schedule needs to work backwards from the Mitre 10 Cup to ensure rep players are available for finals but while it means a week off after the opening round at least one Premier coach was grateful for the disruption.
“I wasn’t sure about it but it is good now because we have a few bruised bodies,” Patumahoe coach Reon Graham said after his side’s win at Colin Lawrie Field.
“It will be good to give the boys a little bit of time to recover from that – those are always big battles and Pukekohe stood up and gave it to us so I think we will enjoy the break.”

Recognition for long-serving physio
A big congratulations are in order for well-known and long-serving physiotherapist Malcolm Hood, who was made a life member of the Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union at the AGM on Sunday.
Nominated by the Waiuku club, Hood’s service to game dates back to the late 1960s and saw him pioneer many of the modern practices we see commonly used today.

Counties Manukau headline Chiefs Development success
Steelers coach Tai Lavea, trainer Jed Knox, physio Jarrod Stevenson and five Steelers players helped the Chiefs Development side beat their Blues counterparts last weekend.
Lavea was head coach of the side.

New coach for Heat
The Counties Manukau Heat will have a new coach in 2021 with Chad Shepherd stepping down from the role to focus solely on his work in the academy space.
Shepherd took over running the Steelers Academy last year and will look to bring through the new crop of Steelers and Heat players rather than coaching.
The search for a coach will start shortly.

Introducing ‘Rahul’ Shepherd
Speaking of Shepherd – he’s been given the nickname “Rahul” around the CMRFU office.
Named after great Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid, who was renowned for occupying the crease and his work ethic in test matches, Chad’s been burning the candle at both ends doing everything across both academies and the HP team have likened his effort to a marathon stint at the crease Rahul “The Wall” Dravid would be proud of.

So long Vuga
The popular Vuga Tagicakibau has decided to leave his post as Rugby Development Officer at CMRFU this week to head overseas. He’s known as the kava king, a great man for team culture and will be missed not only here but also at Waiuku where he was going to be playing Premier rugby all season.
Safe travels Vuga. 

Stay tuned for some news on Vuga’s replacement. Or should we say replacements. We hear it’s quite the coup for the Union.