Around the Grounds - 23 June

Steelers named in All Blacks
The confirmation this week that three contracted Steelers – Dalton Papalii, Hoskins Sotutu and Nepo Laulala – have made the All Blacks could be good news for some club players.
If the trio are also confirmed for The Rugby Championship squad announced next month, expect Steelers coach Tai Lavea to go local as he looks to lock in some replacements.

And in international teams
On the rep front congratulations to Sila Puafisi, Duke Nginingini, Nikolai Foliaki, Kali Hala and Viliami Taulani for making the Tongan side as well as Sam Slade, Alamanda Motuga and Kalolo Tuiloma for making the Samoan national team.

Bad Comms
Our apologies to PIC Steelers halfback Jonathan Taumateine, who we listed as being in the Tongan side in a story last week. That was a communication error on our part – Taumateine is Samoan and was unavailable for selection this time around.
A sincere apology to JT for the confusion it caused.

Raise a glass to Beachlands Maraetai
Beachlands Maraetai have saved their best until last – winning their final match of the U85kg grade last weekend.
Their 13-6 win over Waiuku would have tasted sweet after running some teams close all season.
The way the draw has played out sees Beachlands Maraetai finish the round robin with a pair of byes.

Keen onlookers at Women’s final
Jeremy Clark and a number of the Manurewa men’s side were in attendance as their Manurewa Women won the Auckland Premier club final at Western Springs last weekend.
The men’s Premier side had the bye and so Clark and others were able to make the trek into the city to watch their side earn an emotional victory.

Good news for Tubic
Speaking of the Manurewa Women’s team and in more positive news for the Union, Black Ferns star Hazel Tubic, who was recently named Chiefs Women’s Player of the Year, has had her hours increased.
After initially joining the CMRFU as a part-time women’s RDO, the Te Kauwhata resident has done such a good job her hours have now been bumped up to 32 per week. This will give her more opportunity to help drive the women’s game in our community while also juggling her Black Ferns commitments. 
Rumour has it her old man told Union CEO Aaron Lawton a pay rise wouldn’t go amiss when the pair bumped into one another at last Saturday’s final in Auckland.

More action at Navigation Homes Stadium
We are hearing Navigation Homes Stadium could soon be busier than ever. The Union has been proactive in wanting the venue to be used by the community and the rumour is other sports might soon be played there from time to time.
We are also hearing talks are far advanced on a potential Rugby World Cup qualifier being played there later this year. Watch this space.

Happy trails
Farewell to the unnamed long-time Ardmore Marist reserve lock that retired on the weekend. The modest fella is one of those highly regarded players who hammers away in the reserves with his mates.
He thinks it is time to concentrate on his business and family and we all wish him well with that. 
Word is he’s lining up a coaching gig for when his son starts to walk.

New jacket coming
Who is the generous former Steeler who is about to be gifted with a new CMRFU jacket this week?
The sponsor of the academy cops a lot of grief from mates about wearing a jacket he got in the early 1990s when walking around town and the word is his wife has told him it’s got to go.
The Union heard about his plight and will make sure he’s kitted out in the coming weeks with the new CCC-sponsored kit set to land in Pukekohe.

Oh ref
There’s been a lot of talk of late about the treatment of local referees and you can’t say the Union isn’t putting their money where their mouth is. Rugby & Operations Manager Dale Tucker has been refereeing secondary school games for several weeks now while Commercial Manager Scott Penney and Chairman Craig Carter have also put their hands up to run the line to ensure our club games go ahead.