Wellington’s men’s and women’s sevens teams have qualified for the 2018 Bayleys National Sevens following the Central Regions nationals qualifying tournament in Levin on Saturday.
The Sam Rasch-coached Wellington men’s team defended their Central Zone title with a 17-7 win over Manawatu in the final to secure a strong seeding at the nationals.
The Wellington men were especially impressive as they went through the tournament undefeated with big wins over Horowhenua-Kapiti, Manawatu, and Poverty Bay in pool play before beating Hawke’s Bay 35-5 in the semifinal and Manawatu for the second time in the final.
Rasch’s men conceded just three tries during the tournament as their superior fitness and strong structures shone through.
The women’s team were also impressive through pool play with wins over Poverty Bay, and Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki, before back to back losses to eventual champions Manawatu.
The women’s draw saw Wellington and Manawatu advance to the final after an extended round robin and, despite score lines of 5-22 and 5-26, the matches between the two provincial neighbours were highly competitive affairs.
Wellington’s men’s team joined four other teams from the Central Zone qualifier in qualifying for the nationals, while four of the five women’s team’s also earned a place in Rotorua from January 11-15 next year.
The Wellington men’s squad was: 1 Dale Sabbagh, 2 Hayden Schrijvers, 3 Daniel Schrijvers, 4 Esi Komaisavai, 5 Leon Ellison, 6 Losi Filipo, 7 Levi Harmon, 8 Paddy Hughes, 9 Ryan Setafano, 10 Ratu (Varani) Komaisavai, 11 Romu Senileba, 12 Sione Ma’u.
Results: Bt Horowhenua-Kapiti 33-5; Bt Manawatu 26-0; Bt Poverty Bay 41-0; SF: Bt Hawkes Bay 35-5; Final Bt Manawatu 17-7.
The Wellington women’s squad was: 9 Acacia Te Iwimate, 6 Aimee Sutorius, 12 Grace Surridge, 1 Jane Bryce, 4 Joanah Ngan-Woo, 15 Kat Simpkins, 10 Marcelle Parkes, 13 Monica Tagoai, 11 Rejieli Uluinayau, 14 Renee Savai’inaea, 8 Tina Vaaua-Hamlin, 3 Tyler Bentley
Results: Bt Poverty Bay 27-0; Bt Hawke’s Bay 22-5; Bt Taranaki 28-0; Lost Manawatu 5-22; Final: Lost Manawatu 5-26.