The Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles (Men’s) and Old Boys University (Women’s) are the 2019 American Ambassador’s WRFU club sevens champions, following the second and final leg of the series in blustery and at times wet conditions at Onepoto Park on Saturday.
The HOBM Eagles backed up their runner-up finish last week by beating Oriental-Rongotai 24-7 in the Men’s Cup final, while the OBU Impalas won back-to-back tournament victories by beating Petone 24-7 (the same score as the men’s) in the Women’s Cup final.
HOBM were presented with the American Ambassador’s Cup for the first time since 2014, while OBU won the Eleanor Roosevelt Cup for the first time.
The Final series points and standings are below:
The Men’s side of the draw wasn’t without incident in the Cup semi-finals.
In one semi-final, Ories beat the Wellington Axemen 22-5, after leading 12-0 at halftime with the wind at their backs and then scoring twice more after the turnaround.
In the other semi-final, which was a replay of last week’s final that had been won by Norths, the HOBM Eagles turned the tables with a 19-17 win. However there was much confusion at the end as to the final score and the winner, which also had ramifications to the overall series points as it proved to be the series deciding match.
In this semi-final, Norths outscored HOBM two tries to one in the first half and converted one of these tries to lead 12-5. Both sides scored once each again and Norths kept their noses in front. HOBM then scored their third try to even the tries up, but no one could agree on the correct conversions tally and HOBM were subsequently awarded victory by the margin of an extra conversion.
The nature of the semi-final loss aside, Norths were perhaps left to rue losing to Ories 19-5 in the very first match of the day, a defeat which meant they would have at least avoided HOBM in the semi-finals.
The Men’s Cup Final was also close initially, with Ories withstanding pressure and conceding a player to the sin-bin by scoring the first try and HOBM coming back to level at 7-7. HOBM scored from the next kick-off to make it 12-7 at halftime.
HOBM maintained a territorial advantage, and Lise Soloa eventually broke through to score to put them ahead 19-7. They scored again at the end to seal victory.
The Eagles line-up contained players such as Lise an Fereti Soloa and returning players Chase Tiatia and Sheridan Rangihuna, while Upper Hutt Rams player Josh Brown added value to their side.
Norths finished third, winning the Plate final over the Wellington Axemen by default.
Tawa won the Bowl final, beating Petone 29-5, after scoring two tries to one in the first half and pulling clear in the second spell. Tawa had beaten the second Norths side 22-17 in one Bowl semi-final, while Petone beat MSP by default in the other.
OBU’s win in the final over Petone in the final was well-deserved. They were able to absorb plenty of pressure defensively, and counter-attacked well.
The first half was even and hard-fought, OBU scoring the only try of the opening seven minutes to lead 7-0. Petone went close to equalising on halftime when a breakout and interchange of passing between Milly Mackey and Emma Brown resulted in a forward pass.
OBU struck with a decisive try immediately after the halftime whistle, Thamsyn Newton sprinting away to put them up 12-0. OBU then scored a third try from an attacking scrum to put them ahead 17-0. Petone replied with their only score of the final, before OBU clinched it with a riposte late in proceedings.
OBU had beaten an under-strength Oriental-Rongotai 17-5 in one Women’s Cup semi-final, while Petone had defeated Norths 17-12.
Norths won the Women’s Plate by default over Ories, while MSP beat HOBM 24-19 to capture the Women’s Bowl final.
The opening stanza of the day was played in windy conditions, under cloudy skies that turned to light rain for an hour or so late morning.
The Men’s tournament was played in two even pools. After beating Norths in the opening match of the day (see above), Ories went on to finish top of Pool A. Ories and Norths were equal on 20 points. HOBM were clear-cut Pool B winners, beating the second Norths team 31-0, Wellington 22-10, Johnsonville 26-0 and MSP 28-7.
Other Men’s pool play notable results included Petone’s 12-5 win over Ories, Tawa and Petone’s 12-12 draw, which included a knock-on over the line at the death and Wellington’s 61-5 slaying of Johnsonville. At approximately 12.15pm, the Axemen’s tent also blew over.
There were uneven teams in the Women’s competition, meaning cross-pool games. OBU kick-started their tournament with a win by default over Norths, who were late arrivals, lost to Petone 19-20 (later beating them in the final) and beating MSP 31-0.
Petone topped the other Women’s pool with four wins, including their win over OBU and a 41-0 toppling of Paremata-Plimmerton.
The next tournament in the 2019-20 summer of sevens is the annual Weepu 7s at Wise Park, Wainuiomata next Saturday.