Above: Manawatu women's team and supporters after winning the cup final. Photo: Dave Lintott / lintottphoto.co.nz
Round-up and results by Club Rugby correspondents.
Waikato (men’s) and Manawatu (women’s) are the 2018 National Sevens champions.
Waikato beat South Island champions Tasman 21-17 in the men’s Cup final and Manawatu defeated Waikato 17-15 in the women’s Cup final.
Bay of Plenty won the men’s Plate final, while Auckland finished third in the women’s tournament.
Waikato players won both Player of the Tournament accolades. Jordan Bunce was presented with the Joe Tauiwi Memorial Trophy for the men’s MVP and Tenika Willison won the women’s equivalent, the Anna Richards Trophy.
Round-ups of the tournament are below.
Waikato emerged as deserved champions, winning all their matches, culminating in their 21-17 win over Tasman in the final.
The workmanlike Tasman side dominated possession for long periods in the final, but Waikato’s ability to win turnovers and turn them into points proved telling.
Tasman scored first through captain James Lash, before two turnovers in the tackle resulted in tries for Waikato, to Fijian flyer Sevu Reece and to Tyler Campbell, and a resulting 14-5 halftime lead.
Tasman hit back early in the second spell through a try in the corner to Glen Ballam, converted from the sideline by Lash, and it was game on at 14-12. But Jordan Bunce seized the next kick-off and darted 70 metres up the short side to set up the try that won them the match.
Tone Ng Shiu crossed for Tasman to close the gap after a desperate period on attack. With only seconds remaining, Tasman opted to forgo the conversion. They very nearly claimed the re-start, but the Mooloo men held on and kicked it out to start celebrating.
Earlier in the day, Wellington scored a minor upset in the first of the Cup quarter-finals in beating one of the pool winners from day one in North Harbour 15-12. The capital side opened the scoring through Ryan Setefano before finding themselves trailing two tries either side of half-time, but the bench provided an impact with Nash Fiso-Vaelai firstly scoring in the left-hand corner before Losi Filipo somehow evaded tacklers on the right to score the winner.
Taranaki pipped home side Bay of Plenty 24-17 in another close quarter-final, despite a hat-trick to Teddy Stanaway for the Steamers. Taranaki led 19-5 at halftime with Declan O’Donnell scoring two tries, before withstanding a late burst.
In the other two quarterfinals, Tasman beat Manawatu 24-12 and Waikato set the tone for their successful sevens Sunday accounted for Auckland 35-0.
The two men’s semi-finals were contrasting encounters, with Wellington stunning Waikato in the opening 20 seconds, Esi Komaisavai and Dan Schrijvers combining for the opening try. Waikato regrouped, first with big defence that included a try-saving tackle over the line on Levi Harmon and then more relentless tackling and strong finishing. Waikato scored the next four tries and went on to win 22-5.
The second semi-final was a last play thriller, with Tasman breaking through to score in the 15th minute through Tone Ng Shiu and captain James Lash carrying on the movement to score to see them edge Taranaki 17-12.
Taranaki had established a 12-10 lead just after halftime through a classy individual try by captain Warwick Lahmert, the blond raider breaking a tackle and selling a big dummy. Taranaki almost scored again through schoolboy star Kini Naholo but a yellow card cost them dearly as Tasman broke out. Tasman had led 10-7 at halftime.
Host union Bay of Plenty claimed the men’s Plate silverware with a comprehensive 31-12 win over Auckland in the final. BoP scored three tries and led 17-7 at the interval and then crossed twice more early in the second seven-minute period. Two of their tries came from kick and chases and two more were scored by Teddy Stanaway.
Northland strolled past Southland in the top versus bottom clash to win the Shield final 31-19.
Counties Manukau beat Canterbury 26-5 to win the men’s Bowl final, Canterbury crossing for a consolation try on fulltime.
Manawatu won the title by winning two cliff-hangers in their respective semi-final and final games, edging Auckland 14-12 in their semi-final and then pipping Waikato 17-15 in the final.
They beat Waikato with a late try to Lauren Balsilie after a booming break by Black Ferns skipper Sarah Goss from inside her own half that was carried on by speedster Selica Winiata. Winiata was cut down inside the 22 but a quick recycle saw the ball moved across to Balisilie and she ran in the winner.
Waikato had scored back-to-back tries in the second half through Chyna Hohepa and Ariana Bayler to put them in front 15-12 with time counting down. Manawatu had led 12-5 at halftime through tries to Rhianna Ferris and Janna Vaughan to one scored by Stacey Waaka.
Manawatu rocked Auckland with a try on fulltime to win their semi-final. Auckland had all the possession for most of the first half and scored two tries to take a 12-0 lead. Winiata was the hero for the Cyclones, first scuttling 70 metres to score to close the gap to 7-12 and then was perfect position in support to score under the poles and convert her own try to see them win.
Like the men’s semi-finals, the two women’s Cup semi-finals were contrasting affairs. Waikato, like their men’s team, laid on four tries in beating defending champions Counties-Manukau 24-0.
The women’s Cup quarter-finals at the start of the day saw Waikato beating Canterbury 26-0, Auckland blanking Otago 33-0, Manawatu defeating Wellington 22-14 and Counties Manukau ousting BoP 22-21.
Bay of Plenty and Wellington progressed to the women’s Plate final, BoP beating Canterbury 29-10 in their semi-final and Wellington defeating Otago 33-0.
Wellington, missing star player Kat Whata-Simpkins and loan player Gayle Broughton to injuries ran out of puff against a well-drilled BoP team in the Plate final who ran in three tries in the first half to lead 19-7. BoP maintained the pressure and went on to win the Plate 36-7 with Michaela Blyde scoring a hat-trick.
Auckland finished their tournament on a high, beating Counties Manukau 24-0 in the playoff for third.
Otago beat Canterbury 10-5 in the women’s seventh-place playoff. Southland won the women’s Bowl (9th v 10th) beating North Harbour 25-0 in the Bowl final, while Hawke’s Bay defeated Poverty Bay 18-0 in the 11th v 12th decider.
Men's Cup Final:
Waikato 21 v Tasman 17
Men's Plate Final:
Bay of Plenty 31 v Auckland 12
Men's Bowl Final:
Counties Manukau 26 v Canterbury 5
Men's Shield Final:
Northland 31 v Southland 19
Men's Cup Semi-Finals:
Waikato 22 v Wellington 5
Tasman 17 v Taranaki 12
Men's Plate Semi-Finals:
Auckland 19 v North Harbour 14
Bay of Plenty 26 v Manawatu 7
Men's Bowl Semi-Finals:
Counties Manukau 40 v Hawke's Bay 5
Canterbury 22 v Otago 12
Men's Shield Semi-Finals:
Mid Canterbury 24 v Southland 32
Northland 38 v Wanganui 12
Men's Cup Quarter-Finals:
Waikato 35 v Auckland 0
North Harbour 12 v Wellington 15
Tasman 24 v Manawatu 12
Bay of Plenty 17 v Taranaki 24
Men's Bowl Quarter-Finals:
Counties Manukau 38 v Mid Canterbury 7
Hawke’s Bay 31 v Southland 0
Northland 0 v Otago 24
Canterbury 29 v Wanganui 10
Women's Cup Final:
Manawatu 17 v Waikato 15
3rd and 4th Play Off:
Auckland 24 v Counties Manukau 0
Women's Plate Final:
Bay of Plenty 36 v Wellington 7
Women's 7th and 8th Play Off:
Canterbury 5 v Otago 10
Women's Bowl Final:
Southland 25 v North Harbour 0
Women's 11th and 12th Play Off:
Hawke's Bay 17 v Poverty Bay 0
Women's Cup Semi-Finals:
Waikato 24 v Counties Manukau 0
Manawatu 14 v Auckland 12
Women's Plate Semi-Finals:
Bay of Plenty 29 v Canterbury 10
Otago 0 v Wellington 33
Women's Cup Quarter-Finals:
Waikato 26 v Canterbury 0
Bay of Plenty 21 v Counties Manukau 22
Auckland 33 v Otago 0
Manawatu 22 v Wellington 14
Women's Bowl Semi-Finals:
Hawke’s Bay 12 v North Harbour 26
Southland 15 v Poverty Bay 14
Pool A: 1st Waikato, 2nd Taranaki, 3rd Counties Manukau, 4th Wanganui
Pool B: 1st Bay of Plenty, 2nd Auckland, 3rd Canterbury, 4th Mid Canterbury
Pool C: 1st Tasman, 2nd Wellington, 3rd Northland, 4th Southland
Pool D: 1st North Harbour, 2nd Manawatu, 3rd Hawke's Bay, 4th Otago
Pool A: 1st Waikato, 2nd Canterbury, 3rd Otago, 4th Poverty Bay
Pool B: 1st Manawatu, 2nd Bay of Plenty, 3rd Wellington, 4th North Harbour
Pool C: 1st Auckland, 2nd Counties Manukau, 3rd Hawke's Bay, 4th Southland
Counties Manukau 45 v Wanganui 12
Taranaki 12 v Waikato 12
Bay of Plenty 43 v Mid Canterbury 0
Auckland 19 v Canterbury 0
Wellington 24 v Southland 5
Tasman 24 v Northland 5
Manawatu 19 v Otago 26
Counties Manukau 12 v Waikato 19
North Harbour 19 v Hawke's Bay 12
Taranaki 42 v Wanganui 5
Bay of Plenty 19 v Canterbury 10
Auckland 39 v Mid Canterbury 10
Wellington 26 v Northland 5
Tasman 24 v Southland 7
North Harbour 40 v Otago 7
Manawatu 32 v Hawke's Bay 5
Counties Manukau 12 v Taranaki 19
Waikato 45 v Wanganui 5
Bay of Plenty 24 v Auckland 14
Canterbury 22 v Mid Canterbury 12
Wellington 7 v Tasman 22
Northland 19 v Southland 17
Hawke's Bay 20 v Otago 14
Manawatu 5 v North Harbour 33
Auckland 22 v Southland 0
Counties Manukau 50 v Hawke's Bay 7
Manawatu 36 v North Harbour 0
Bay of Plenty 12 v Wellington 15
Waikato 25 v Poverty Bay 5
Canterbury 7 v Otago 17
Auckland 39 v Hawke's Bay 0
Counties Manukau 36 v Southland 5
Manawatu 38 v Wellington 5
Bay of Plenty 38 v North Harbour 5
Waikato 31 v Otago 0
Canterbury 27 v Poverty Bay 0
Auckland 38 v Counties Manukau 5
Hawke's Bay 22 v Southland 12
Manawatu 12 v Bay of Plenty 19
Wellington 45 v North Harbour 0
Waikato 17 v Canterbury 0
Otago 33 v Poverty Bay 0