The Wellington Men and the Manawatu Women defended their Central Region Provincial 7s titles at a hot Playford Park in Levin today.
The Wellington Men won their third consecutive Central 7s title, while the Manwatu Cyclones maintained their grip on this tournament with their eighth consecutive win in their division.
The two teams will head to Nationals in Mt Maunganui on 14 and 15 December as the top seeds from the provincial sides in the Hurricanes region plus Taranaki.
Wellington beat Taranaki 26-5 in the Men’s Cup final, while Manawatu defeated the Hawke’s Bay Tuis 24-7 in the Women’s Cup final.
Wellington had defeated Hawke’s Bay 24-7 in one Men’s Cup semi-final and Taranaki had beaten Manawatu 26-0 in the other Men’s Cup semi-final.
The four Men’s semi-finalists – Wellington, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu qualified for Nationals, along with Wairarapa-Bush who held on to beat Poverty Bay in the crucial 5th v 6th playoff fixture. Wairarapa-Bush won this game 22-19, after leading 12-10 at halftime and later 22-12 but the entertaining Gisborne side hit back with a late try but ultimately ran out of time.
In the Women’s tournament, Manawatu had beaten Wellington 34-7 in their semi-final and Hawke’s Bay had overcome Taranaki 31-5.
Wellington went on to beat Taranaki 39-0 in the 3rd versus 4th contest.
Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay and beaten semi-finalists Wellington and Taranaki are the four Women’s sides representing the Central region at Nationals.
There was a fifth versus sixth Women’s fixture that didn’t have anything riding on it, but saw the Poverty Bay and Horowhenua-Kapiti sides go to extra time after it was 10-10 at fulltime. The home side missed a try in the corner that would have given them victory, but Poverty Bay scored the first try in extra time to take the win.
East Coast were the seventh side in the Women’s draw but their tournament challenge ended at the end of the round-robin play.
The day started off in fine, warm conditions that grew hotter as the day unfolded.
Pool play was fast and furious on both fields, with some eye-catching sevens rugby.
Men’s tournament winners Wellington eased to a 21-7 win over Wairarapa Bush in their first game, before hitting their straps in game two with a 36-0 win over Manawatu. They beat Poverty Bay 31-7 in their other pool game.
Taranaki beating Hawke’s Bay 19-14 was a key result from Men’s pool play.
In the Women’s side of the draw, Manawatu found their top gear from the opening whistle, winning their first game 48-0 over Taranaki. They also had a 62-0 win over Poverty Bay.
Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Women drew their opener 19-19, with Wellington scoring at the end but failing to score close enough to the posts to kick the conversion.
The Men’s semi-finals saw Wellington race to a 17-0 halftime lead over Hawke’s Bay and go on to win from that point, while Taranaki opened with two tries in the first half and then scored two more in the second in their win over Manawatu.
Both Women’s semi-finals followed similar patterns. Manawatu scored two early tries to go up 12-0 over Wellington. Wellington scored in reply but a second try to Chrystal Mayes put them up 19-7 at the break. Manawatu scored the first try of the second half after 60 seconds in possession, followed by the winner to Rhiarna Ferris.
Taranaki leapt to an early two-try lead against Hawke’s Bay and went on to win six tries to one.
The Women’s Cup final saw Manawatu strike with three tries and lead Hawke’s Bay 19-7 at halftime, extending their advantage in the second seven minutes.
Taranaki crossed for the first try of the Men’s Cup final, after a penalty and assault inside the 22. Wellington then won the game with a withering three-try burst in the lead-up to halftime.
Willie Fine struck from a lineout steal, Adam Simpson scored after motoring up the right hand touch with Sheridan Rangihuna converting from the sideline and Fine scored his double after winning possession from the next kick-off and storming through traffic.
Esi Komaisavai steamed up the right hand lane to score Wellington’s try early in the second spell, sealing their win.
Results at a glance:
G1 Women: Manawatu 48 v Taranaki 0
G2 Women: Horowhenua Kapiti 24 v East Coast 12
G3 Women: Hawke’s Bay 19 v Wellington 19
G1 Men: Manawatu 28 v Poverty Bay 12
G2 Men: Wellington 21 v Wairarapa Bush 7
G3 Men: Taranaki 45 v Horowhenua Kapiti 0
G4 Men: Hawkes Bay 36 v Wanganui 0
G4 Women: Taranaki 28 v Poverty Bay 7
G5 Women Wellington 24 v Horowhenua Kapiti 0
G6 Women East Coast 0 v Hawke’s Bay 38
G5 Men: Manawatu 0 v Wellington 36
G6 Men: Wairarapa Bush 21 v Poverty Bay 7
G7 Men: Horowhenua Kapiti v Wanganui
G8 Men: Taranaki 19 v Hawkes Bay 14
G7 Women: Manawatu 62 v Poverty Bay 0
G8 Women: Horowhenua Kapiti 14 v Hawke’s Bay 43
G9 Women: Wellington 34 v East Coast 0
G9 Men: Poverty Bay 7 v Wellington 31
G10 Men: Wairarapa Bush 7 v Manawatu 49
G11 Men: Hawkes Bay 40 v Horowhenua Kapiti 5
G12 Men: Taranaki 45 v Wanganui 0
Women’s Semi Finals
G13 Women: Manawatu 34 v Wellington 7
G14 Women: Hawkes Bay 31 v Taranaki 5
G15 Poverty Bay 17 v Horowhenua Kapiti 10
Mens Playoff 5th – 8th Place
G16 Wairarapa Bush 31 v Horowhenua Kapiti 19
G17 Poverty Bay 19 v Wanganui 17
Men’s Semi Finals
G18 Wellington 24 v Hawke’s Bay 7
G19 Taranaki 26 v Manawatu 0
Womens 3rd/4th – G20 Taranaki 0 v Wellington 39
Womens Final – G21 Manawatu 24 v Hawkes Bay 12
Mens 5th/6th – Wairarapa Bush 22 v Poverty Bay 19
Mens 3rd/4th – Manawatu 26 v Hawkes Bay 26
Mens Final – Wellington 26 v Taranaki 5