Northern United (Men’s) and Old Boys University (Women’s) won today’s re-booted opening leg of the WRFU American Ambassador’s Sevens series in fine, cool conditions at Onepoto Park.
In the Men’s Cup final, defending series and national club champions Norths blanked the Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles 39-0.
Aotea College school-leaver Ropati So’oalo scored a hat-trick in the final and also set up one of two tries to playmaker Esi Komaisavai. Norths scored three first half tries and led 17-0 at halftime. The Eagles pressed early in the second seven minute spell but turnovers proved costly and Norths capitalised.
In the Women’s Cup final, Old Boys University beat Norths 29-12. With the help of Ories players Fa’asua Makisi and Bernadette Robertson, OBU opened the final playing into a moderate wind by scoring three tries. Makisi finished off a sweeping move early in the second half to put OBU up 22-0, before Norths struck twice through Harmony Ioane and Kolora Lomani. Thamsyn Newton raced away to seal the final at the death.
HOBM won an abbreviated Colts tournament, beating Avalon 17-7 in the final, to make it three wins for three clubs on the day.
The Men’s Cup semi-finals had seen HOBM beat the Norths second team 34-10 and Norths beat Ories 24-17.
In the Women’s Cup semi-finals, OBU beat Petone 38-12 and Norths pulled clear to beat HOBM after leading three tries to one at halftime.
Ories won the Men’s Plate final that wasn’t played, while Tawa pipped Old Boys University 21-19 in the Bowl final, after Tawa had beaten Poneke 31-5 in one Bowl semi-final and OBU had defeated Wellington 31-7. The Axemen went on to beat Poneke 21-17 to win the Shield.
The day started off cloudy and still, but the rugby quickly heated up.
With no Upper Hutt Rams, Paremata-Plimmerton, Petone, Avalon and, surprisingly, Marist St Pat’s presence already confirmed prior to the tournament, the tournament was further reduced with the late withdrawal of Wainuiomata. A nine-team (eight club) Men’s tournament kicked off in two pools.
HOBM won Pool A, with wins over OBU 26-12, Tawa 24-7 and tournament winners Norths 1 24-19.
Ories, with Alex Fidow in their line-up, alongside Petone’s Tupou Sopoaga, scored 21 tries in winning all four Pool B games. Ories beat Johnsonville 27-7, Norths 2 32-7, Poneke 27-0 and Wellington 33-14.
Women’s tournament winners OBU won their three Pool games, beating HOBM 27-0, Marist St Pat’s 45-5 and Petone 24-15.
The tournament was well-run by the WRFU and, as always, well officiated by the WRRA referees.
The second and deciding leg is at the same venue next Saturday. It is hoped more clubs will be involved. The American Ambassador’s Trophy (Men’s) and Eleanor Roosevelt Trophy (Women’s) silverware will be presented.