Wider Auckland club comp begins Saturday

Wider Auckland club comp begins Saturday

Defending McNamara Cup champions Manurewa will host Auckland giants Grammar TEC in the opening game of the Wider Auckland Pre-Season Knock Out competition.

Jeremy Clark’s side will aim to add the John Spiers Trophy to their trophy cabinet over the next three weeks in the inaugural competition involving the best club sides in the wider Auckland region.

The two sides will meet at Mountfort Park on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Auckland’s Gallaher Shield champions Manukau will face McNamara Cup runners-up Patumahoe at Williams Park. Fresh off a title-winning season in 2023, Rovers have made a strong start to the year with some impressive pre-season form already while Patumahoe will still be smarting after winning every game on the way to the championship final only to fall over at the final hurdle last year.

Karaka, who lost in the McNamara Cup semi-finals last year, will play Pakuranga at Karaka Sports Complex. Both clubs are coached by wily old former Steelers with Craig Hill leading Karaka to a McNamara Cup title just two seasons ago while Grant “Boof” Henson was a Steelers centurion.

And North Shore celebrates its 150th anniversary by hosting Auckland guns Ponsonby at Takapuna Grammar. The two giants of Auckland club rugby boast 299 years between them with Ponsonby set for their 150th anniversary next year.

No club has produced more All Blacks than Ponsonby while North Shore has produced legends like Buck Shelford, Frano Botica and Brad Johnston.

In the BCITO Te Pukenga Pool 2 competition Pukekohe hosts Eden from Auckland at Colin Lawrie Fields. Both clubs have high expectations in 2023 and this first hit-out will give both sides an indication of where they are at.

Papakura from Counties Manukau and Papatoetoe from Auckland do battle at South Park in Papakura in a clash between two sides coached by former Steelers’ props. Jarrod Firth (Papakura) and Sam Aiono (Papatoetoe) have moved clubs this season and taken charge so the scrum battle should be worth the effort to go and watch alone.

Bombay meets North Harbour’s Kumeu at Bombay Domain in a battle between two clubs with new coaches this season. The backdrop from the Bombay Rugby Club would match that of any club in the world, with panoramic views around the Auckland region.