The Jubilee Cup is the most prized trophy in Wellington club rugby, and Marist St Pats has claimed it 14 times in the club’s 42-year history. Since a new finals format was adopted in 1993, MSP has claimed nine cups, one every two years.
Following is the story of MSP's Jubilee Cup successes from the time the club was formed in 1971 to the last Cup final at Athletic Park in 1999. It is taken from Tim Donoghue’s book, Athletic Park: A Lost Football Ground (1999)
Wellington's Catholic Irish community became a united force in 1971 with the amalgamation of the old St Pats and Marist clubs into Marist St Pats.
MSP's first hand on the Jubilee Cup came seven years after the club's formation. Captain Kevin Horan's team found itself in the rare position in the 1978 club final of having two sets of opposition spectators, from the Wellington and Athletic clubs, barracking vociferously against it.
Had Athletic defeated MSP in this final, Graham William's axemen would have won the trophy outright. For much of the game, Tony Meachen's Athletic team looked like it would achieve victory. It took an unorthodox try-scoring move, finished by the twinkle-toed flyhalf Tu Wyllie, to win this match.
For Kevin Horan, the victory was an especially proud moment. He had been part of a winning Ranfurly Shield team and a member of the Wellington line-up which defeated England. Getting a share of the Jubilee Cup with the Wellington club meant he had equalled the performance of his brother Mick, by leading a team to a Jubilee Cup win. This match also marked Wellington captain Graham Williams' Jubilee Cup swansong after a record 174 games for the province and 16 years of senior A club rugby.
Kevin Horan's MSP side made its contribution to the WRFU's centenary celebrations in 1979 by winning the Swindale Shield and retaining the Jubilee Cup with a clean sweep of 20 matches. The Brian Coulter-coached team performed at a level associated with the very best Petone and University club sides who had set the benchmark for club rugby in earlier times.
The 1979 Jubilee Cup winners, captained by Kevin Horan and coached by Brian Coulter.
Among the members of this team were Maurice Standish, Mike O'Leary, John Wootton, Gerard Wilkinson, John Fleming, Steve Hinds, Tony Duffin, Brian McGrattan, Phil Wanden, Bill Collins, Henry Huriwai, Keith Hawea, Cliff Rona, Paul Quinn, Dominic Fa'anoi, Bernie Wanden, James Carlson, Vince O'Loughlin, Phil O'Keefe, Angus Douglas, Tony Walsh, Tu Wyllie, Kevin Horan, Murray Tocker and Colin Jackson.
In 1980 Horan was appointed Wellington captain, "Bones" Fleming was an All Black, McGrattan and Wyllie were soon to become All Blacks, and Quinn would become a New Zealand Maori and Wellington provincial captain. In 1979, with five forwards in Ian Upston's playing through NPC-winning rep team (Horan, Fleming, Quinn, Wootton and Standish), MSP would have beaten most provincial sides in New Zealand.
MSP won further championships outright in 1981, 1984 and 1988.
The 1994 Jubilee Cup winners, captained by Iain Potter and coached by Kevin Horan - the first person at MSP to both captain and coach a cup-winning side.
A string of wins came in 1994-95, 1997 and 1999. The 1994 Jubilee Cup win was a particularly significant victory for coach Horan. It was the first time in the comparatively short history of MSP that one man had both captained and coached a Jubilee Cup winning team. The 1994-95 MSP captain Iain Potter became the second MSP man to achieve this feat when he coached the 1997 Jubilee Cup winning team.
Members of that 1997 side were: Trevor Neal, Kevin Rumble, Sean Horan, John Pothan, Richard Higgs, N.Callahan, Kas Lealamanua, Andrew Munn, D.Finau, Ashley Drake, Mike Lealamanua, Chad Smith, Jeremy Coulter, Dominic Fa'anoi-Feaunati, Reece Poutawera, Derek Stone, Matt Christie, Andrew Gallagher, J.McBeth, M.Cockburn, Nic Fitisemanu, Dave McGuinnness, Issac Feaunati, Phil Gray, Matt Calvert (captain), and Kelly Rolleston.
MSP had the distinction of winning the last Jubilee Cup final played on Athletic Park - in 1999 against Poneke. The members were captain Kas Lealamanua, Sean Horan, John Pothan, Lome Fa'atau, Trent Eagle, Norm Broughton, James McHardy, Richard Webster, Sam Brown, Rhys Johnston, Daniel Scanlon, Nic Giera, Nic Focas, Mike Lealamanua, Jeremy Coulter, Dominic Fa'anoi-Feaunati, Reece Poutawera, Derek Stone, Nic Fitisemanu.
(A match report from the 2008 Cup final)
MSP have shared the 2008 Jubilee Cup after a 10-all draw in the final on 9 August in bitterly cold conditions at the Westpac Stadium.
Thirty years after the club won its first Jubilee Cup - which was also shared, with the Wellington club - Marist St Pats will have its name engraved on the trophy for the 12th time as the capital's top rugby club. Winners' medals for the players are just reward for an outstanding season in which the premiers have been undefeated for 19 games since a loss in the season opener on 29 March.
The final was played at 5pm in icy conditions with a strong southerly and squally showers. According to the radio commentators, the wind chill factor gave a ground-level temperature of minus 3 degrees. With a good crowd despite the cold, both teams missed early penalties before first-five Fa'atonu Fili - the top points' scorer in Wellington club rugby - nailed a three-pointer after Norths were penalised for a lineout infringement.
With the southerly at their backs, Norths had the territorial advantage but the MSP forwards were piling into their work and the defensive line held up well.
A decisive moment came right on half-time when lock Marcus Slade broke clear from a ruck 30 metres in front of the Norths posts. Just short of the line he offloaded to halfback Peter Sciascia who slithered over to score in the tackle, Fa'atonu's conversion giving MSP a 10-0 halftime lead.
With the wind dying away in the second half, MSP had the better of the early exchanges. Norths looked shaky under the high ball, and Chris Slade nearly went over after 10 minutes. However, the dangerous Norths side were the next to score, a long-range try started from broken play seeing their winger go over in the corner.
This lifted the Porirua-based team, and they scored again after MSP were unable to withstand a series of forward drives. Neither try was converted, and the tense final few minutes were played out before the full-time whistle went. With no provision for extra time, the trophy is shared.
It is a credit to both clubs that, although each has missed six or more top players through representative commitments for the past three weeks, they nevertheless had enough depth to win their way through to the final.
For MSP, the Jubilee Cup can sit alongside the Swindale Shield for winning the first round, the Bill Brien Cup for winning all interclub challenges, and the Andy Leslie Trophy for winning the second round. For coach Murray Tocker, the result capped off a great Cup record - a shared Cup in his first year with MSP as a player in 1978, an outright Cup win in his final year as a player in 1988, and a shared win in his first year as premier coach.
MSP Premier Team 2008
THIRD ROW: Stephen Jensen (gear manager), Julian Tupai, Wim Baars, Margus Slade, Charlie Graham, Nick Passi, Chris Slade, Sean Cockburn, Craig Simeon, Sio Tuituia, Michael Sood (assistant manager)
SECOND ROW: Bryce Tietjens (manager, club captain), Jope Nabou, Sean Hay, Jamie Parkinson, Jonathan Hopgood, Saina Mekaio, Glen Ward (physio), Marc Le, Jackson Martin, Kieran Upton, Anthony Bradshaw, Michelle Smyth (masseuse)
FRONT ROW: Murray Tocker (coach), Peter Sciascia, Jon Paul Tocker, Victor Vito, Ged Robinson (captain), Dan Scanlon, Fa’atonu Fili, Arden David, Liu Taituave, Kevin Horan (assistant coach)
ABSENT: Bernie Upton, Reece Poutawera, Jurrell Te Kahu, Alex Tulou, Brendan Watt, Thomas Ati’ialaoa, Dan Kauraka, Rocky Leofo
Played 20, won 17, drew 2, lost 1. Winners: Jubilee Cup, Swindale Shield, Andy LeslieTrophy, Jack Lamason Cup, Fr Cleary Memorial Shield, Bill Brien Challenge Cup,Viv Haigh Memorial Cup, Joe Aspell Cup.
"This time it's all yours, MSP"
(Dominion Post headline, 10 August 2009)
(A match report from the 2009 Cup final)
MSP claimed their 13th Jubilee Cup on 9 August on the back of a tenacious forward effort against a bigger pack that shut Norths out of the game and allowed goal-kicking maestro Chris Slade to land seven out of eight penalty attempts for a 21-16 win.
On a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at the Westpac Trust Stadium, the game started ominously for MSP, with Norths scoring a fine try after five minutes. They moved the ball well from a lineout, giving their winger an overlap and a clear run to the line. Two penalties quickly followed so that after 15 minutes MSP were down 11-0.
However, this team has a lot of heart and a lot of finals experience, and they set about clawing their way back into the match. When Norths infringed on their own 22, centre Chris Slade stepped up to land the first of his penalties and he soon banged over two more to close it to 11-9. No 8 Alex Tulou and first-five Anthony Bradshaw then featured in some driving play that took them to within metres of the posts and when Norths infringed again, Chris Slade had one of his easier kicks to put the reds in front 12-11.
MSP started the second half strongly, with locks Nick Passi and Marcus Slade - the only player to play every premier game this season - and young hooker Liu Taituave prominent. No 6 Saina Mekaio was tackling everything that moved, and Norths were making a lot of mistakes under the pressure. Chris Slade landed another penalty, before Norths capitalised on an MSP error to force a scrum five metres from the MSP line. They turned down a penalty and spun the ball wide to score, the conversion missing but they had their noses in front 16-15.
A powerful MSP scrum was now well on top, disrupting Norths ball and allowing halfback Peter Sciascia to harrass his opposition and kick well from the base of the scrum. Norths frustration was evident as two players were sinbinned, with Chris Slade landing another penalty to re-take the lead 18-16. Following a rampaging midfield break from Alex Tulou, Chris nailed another for a five-point lead.
Norths threw everything at it for the last five minutes, but the same superb defence that carried MSP to the finals held up. When the final whistle went, captain Nick Passi was able to hold up the Jubilee Cup, the 13th time the club has claimed the trophy in its 38-year history.
A champion team: MSP's team in the 2009 Jubilee Cup final was:
1 Jamie Parkinson. 2 Liu Taituave. 3 Arden David. 4 Marcus Slade. 5 Nick Passi (c). 6 Saina Mekaio. 7 Craig Simeon. 8 Alex Tulou. 9 Peter Sciascia. 10 Anthony Bradshaw. 11 Apoua Stewart. 12 Joe Wright. 13 Chris Slade. 14 Brendan Watt. 15 Michael Kingsbeer.
Replacements: Jeff Allen, Rocky Leofo, Charlie Graham, Joe Maiavo, Wim Baars, Jackson Martin, Jon Paul Tocker.
Coaches: Murray Tocker and Kevin Horan.
Managers: Bryce Tietjens, Stephen Jensen, Michael Sood.
Marist St Pats Premier Team 2012
Back row (from left): Ryan Setefano, Donald Brighouse, Thomas Veitch, Rocky Leofo, Isaia Petelo
Third row: Tevita Ah Wong, Hamish Shaw, Issac O’Connor, Ben Nansett, Paul Tuia, Andrew Wells, Aviata Silago, Nick Wanden
Second row: Zac Nichols (physio), Vanessa Beaumont (head physio), Steven Jensen (assistant manager), Michael Sood (assistant manager), Victor Vito, Sean Bridge, Lua Lokatui, Dan Turner, Charlie Graham, Jeff To’omaga-Allen, Solomona Sakalia, Matt Buck (manager), Neil Murphy (club captain), Terry Manion (President)
Front row: Clayton McMillan (coach), Liu Taituave, Fa’atonu Fili, Sio Tuia, Bernie Upton, Arden David-Perrot (captain), Kasiano Lealamanua (vice-captain), John Paul Tocker, Peter Sciascia, Murray Tocker (coach)
Absent: Leif Johansson, Declan McKeefry, Declan Hay, Johnny Gbenda-Charles, Ano Kapeli
Winners: Viv Haigh Cup, Bill Brien Challenge Cup, Jubilee Cup, Horan-Millar Trophy, Morrissey-Rona Cup
Marist St Pat's were crowned the 2012 Jubilee Cup champions after battling to a 14-8 win over eastern suburbs neighbours Oriental Rongotai on 12 August.
Rain poured down on a match in which MSP dominated possession and territory. On a sodden Hutt Rec which nevertheless held up well after the college final curtain raiser, they were in front for the whole game.
Fa'atonu Fili opened the scoring with a penalty after 13 minutes. Ories equalised after 22 minutes and several times looked dangerous when moving the ball, but another Fa'atonu penalty put MSP ahead 6-3 at the break.
MSP again dominated territory in the second half, and the decisive moment came 25 minutes in when two Ories front rowers including Hurricane Motu Matu'u were yellow carded for fighting. Minutes later MSP forced a five-metre scrum after a Fa'atonu drop-goal attempt was charged down. It was set under under 'no pushing' golden oldies rules and from that base, MSP hammered away against a six-man pack until captain Kas Lealamanua was driven over the line.
Ories kept attacking and in the 78th minute scored in the corner to close it to 11-8. However, they conceded a penalty when trying to run it out from the kick-off, Fa'atonu landing his third three-pointer as fulltime showed on the clock to become the highest points scorer in the Jubilee Cup round with 98.
The entire forward pack was outstanding. Prop Jeff To'omaga-Allen was named player of the final, and Kas, hooker Liu Taituave and lock Bernie Upton weren't far behind. Halfback Peter Sciascia made some great tackles in covering a leaky midfield, and Fa'atonu and fullback Andrew Wells did a good job in keeping the ball in front of their forwards.
The result caps off a fine season which saw the team Swindale Shield runners-up and Jubilee Cup champions for the 14th time.