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Kiwis in Europe: The New Zealand trio suffering a tough start to the new PRO14 season

By Campbell Burnes

Trending on RugbyPass

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Glasgow’s Kiwi contingent of TJ Ioane, Aki Seiuli and Fotu Lokotui have endured a tough start to the PRO14 with the Warriors.

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The trio were involved in the Warriors’ 27-13 defeat to Munster on a wet old night at Scotstoun. That gives Glasgow just one win from its first six games of the season.

No 8 Ioane himself was in the thick of the action in what was a niggly contest.

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Lokotui, who entered the fray as a sub, was due to come back for the Mitre 10 Cup season with Counties Manukau, but was unable to enter New Zealand due to border control regulations governing non-Kiwi nationals. He carries a Tongan passport and has played for the Ikale Tahi.

Ioane and loosehead prop Seiuli would have been disappointed to see their old Otago province go down to Northland in last Friday’s Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinal.

Munster’ reserve hooker Rhys Marshall, formerly of the Chiefs and Taranaki, was a second stanza sub for the victors.

Elsewhere in the PRO14, which has just 12 teams, Ma’afu Fia’s Ospreys edged Treviso 24-22. Hame Faiva and the back three of Jayden Hayward, Monty Ioane and Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara all turned out for the Italians.

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Dominic Robertson-McCoy’s Connacht team flogged Zebre 47-12. Junior Laloifi and Josh Renton played for the latter.

Michael Bent’s Leinster was also too strong for Cardiff, 40-5.

Sam Lousi was a late scratching due to Covid-19 protocols for Scarlets in their 24-26 defeat to Ulster. The Irish team fielded Matt Faddes, who was yellow carded, and Alby Mathewson, while flanker Sean Reidy scored an important try.

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In the opening round of the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership, Denny Solomona’s Sale beat Northampton 32-23. The Saints fielded five players with Kiwi connections: former Blues five-eighths Piers Francis scored a try, while Teimana Harrison, Matt Proctor, Ahsee Tuala and Owen Franks all featured.

Former Manu Samoa and Hawke’s Bay prop Logovi’i Mulipola enjoyed newly promoted Newcastle Falcons’ 19-12 win at Bath.

Former Hurricanes right wing Kobus van Wyk made a solid start to his new career at Leicester, scoring a try in the Tigers’ 38-15 over Jason Woodward’s Gloucester.

Melani Nanai and Worcester edged, 11-10, a London Irish outfit that included forwards Motu Matu’u, Sekope Kepu and Blair Cowan.

At 37, Jimmy Gopperth is still doing the business for Wasps, slotting five key goals as his team beat Bristol 23-20. Lima Sopoaga was at fullback, while Jacob Umaga, who helped Auckland to the 2018 Premiership, was at 10. Jeff Toomaga-Allen and Brad Shields were in the Wasps’ pack.

Bristol fielded the evergreen John Afoa, now 37, Chris Vui, Jake Heenan, Alapati Leiua and Siale Piutau, who scored a try.

In the French Top 14, it was time for catch-up games after Covid-19 had played havoc with the schedule.

Joe Ravouvou and Mat Luamanu enjoyed Bayonne’s 35-39 win over Toulon, who fielded some old heads.

Ma’a Nonu, at 38, copped a yellow card, while former All Black Isaia Toeava, pushing 35, wore the No 10 jersey for the red and blacks, as he did for Auckland back in 2005. Also featuring were Tane Takalua and Brian Alainu’uese.

Ihaia West kicked all three goals in La Rochelle’s tryless 9-6 encounter with Racing-Metro, for whom Dominic Bird was at lock. Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Uini Atonio also played for les Rochelais.

Telusa Veainu’s Stade Francais beat Bordeaux-Begles 26-16, despite the best efforts of Ben Botica (four goals) and Ben Lam (a try to go with a yellow card). Ben Tameifuna anchored the Bordeaux scrum.

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Kiwis in Europe: The New Zealand trio suffering a tough start to the new PRO14 season

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