Jock Hobbs Under-19 rugby tournament begins today

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IN FORM: Wellington will again start as favourites at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament beginning today in Taupo. PHOTO: photosport
IN FORM: Wellington will again start as favourites at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament beginning today in Taupo. PHOTO: photosport

The best of New Zealand's young provincial talent is in action in Taupo as the annual Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament gets under way today (BOP v North Harbour, 1.40pm).

Sixteen teams from around New Zealand will compete for the Michael Jones Trophy (Championship) and the Graham Mourie Cup (Premiership) - both to be presented on finals day next week.

More than 400 players will be in action as the September 14-21 tournament returns to Taupo for the third year since its inception including a team selected from Heartland Championship provinces.

In the Premiership, Canterbury will be looking to make it back-to-back titles after beating Waikato 41-35 in the final last year. The Championship saw Counties Manukau take out a last gasp 32-28 win over Tasman to claim the Michael Jones Trophy.

This year's tournament will feature a member of the women's referees squad for the first time with Rebecca Mahoney on the roster.

She takes charge of the Heartland v Tasman match today, kick-off at 3.20pm (to be televised).

The tournament is played across three match days (Thursday 15, Sunday 18 and Wednesday 21 September) with eight matches on each match day.

With eight teams in either division, the winner of the first round matches move into the semi-finals of the Graham Mourie Cup and Michael Jones Trophy respectively. The losing sides move into play-offs for 5-8th place in either division.

The format makes the first round of the tournament crucial with a semi-final spot awaiting the winner of each clash on day one.

Graham Mourie Cup (Premiership): Auckland A, Auckland B, Waikato, Taranaki, Wellington, Manawatu, Canterbury, Otago

Michael Jones Trophy (Championship): North Harbour, Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Heartland, Tasman, Southland

Bay of Plenty Under 19 Squad:

Jessie Williams capt, Sami Veikoso, David Puchart, Leini Hakaumotu, Jesse Mason-Grant, Cheyenne Dalley, Bailey Ransom, John (Jack) Lee Xander Crockart, Angus McDonald, Ned Fitzgerald, Mitch Holton, Kaydin Budd, Paea Lavaka, Jacob Abel, Mana Howe, Tana Tuhakaraina, Reece MacDonald, Brad Armstrong, Leethan Rawiri, Alex Pohla, Devin Te Tai, Hunter Mokomoko, Josh Honey, Samuel Nathan.
Head Coach: Cory Sweeney, Assistant Coach: Mike Rogers, Manager: Kyle McLean

- Bay of Plenty Times

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