Just when the final whistle seemed to have blown on Waiheke’s 2023 rugby season, perhaps the most exciting senior games of the year will be played at Onetangi Sports Park this Saturday 16 September. 

The Waiheke Rugby Club will host the Northern Regions Representatives U85s finals for the Brian Craies Cup when Waikato faces North Harbour in a curtain-raiser battle for third and fourth place at 1pm. Auckland will then tussle with Counties Manukau for top honours, kicking off at 2.35pm.

Waiheke Pirates U85 players Mason Hughes and captain James McKelvie both made it into the Auckland U85kg Gulls team for the representative rugby competition, which started in August. 

Both island players made a big impact when they came off the bench in the second half in their 39-7 victory over Counties Manukau on Saturday 2 September. James came close to crossing the chalk and had plenty of influence on the pitch, while Mason scored a fantastic try after cleaning up a cross-field kick. He set up another in the final play of the game after making a clear break from the midfield before offloading to a teammate who went in under the sticks. • Sarah Gloyer

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