The Wellington Centurions RFC are again sending an under 85kg team to contest the NZ Barbarians Middleweight Cup this weekend (14th and 15th September) in a tournament against the official Auckland, North Harbour, and Waikato Rugby Union under 85kg sides.
The Centurions sent a team for the first time last year which was dominated by the unbeaten 2012 MSP Blues under 85kg side and won the competition without conceding a try.
Blues and Centurions captain David Rice and lock Pat Houghton made the tournament XV while mid-fielder Jared Hammington made the tournament 22.
Representing this year from the 2013 champion MSP Blues are Ryan Bowater (who will captain the side), Mark Houghton, Christopher Tait, Aaron Shepherd, & James Patterson.
Also selected from the Blues but unavailable to play were David Rice, Pat Houghton, Jared Hammington, Jamie Clarke, Todd Young (who all played last year) and winger Zak Nichols.
Several other Blues players can consider themselves unlucky but the Centurions policy of again selecting players from senior grades who are not necessarily better than players in the grade or the best under 85kg players outside the grade and means a number of good players were ignored.
The tournament is played on the artificial surface at College Rifles RFC in Auckland (perfect to showcase the fast and skilful style of rugby played in the grade) with the matches for the tournament being two 20 minute halves.
It is good the Centurions RFC are sending a team away but hopefully the WRFU will eventually sort out an official Wellington representative team for the grade like the other major unions (and has been done in the past by the WRFU) to promote the great players and rugby played in the Wellington Under 85kg grade.
Thanks to MSP Blues coach Andrew Robinson for this article.