Above: Dan Schrijvers - second-half hat-trick in the Cup final for the Upper Hutt Rams against Tawa.
First blood to the Upper Hutt Rams.
The defending champions got their sevens show on the road today at Lyndhurst Park by winning the first leg of three WRFU American Ambassador’s Sevens tournaments.
The Rams ran away in the second half to beat home club Tawa 38-5 in the Cup final in fading light this evening.
The Schrijvers brothers, Hayden and Dan, scored four second-half tries between them in the final.
Tawa scored the game’s opening try, but the Rams came back to score two well-constructed tries to lead 12-5 at halftime.
Early in the second spell, Dan Schrijvers kicked ahead and regathered to score to increase the lead to 19-5. Brother Hayden punished an overthrown Tawa defensive lineout before Dan scored two more tries in quick succession to wrap it up.
Both the Cup semi-finals were tight and could have gone either way.
In the first semi-final, Tawa and Hutt Old Boys Marist were locked up at 12-12 at fulltime. Instead of extra time, Tawa went through as they scored the game’s first try, the only scoring play in the first half.
The second Cup semi-final saw Marist St Pat’s A take a 7-5 halftime lead when Ryan Setefano cut through to score under the uprights on the siren. The Rams came back to score the only try of the second spell, Owen Karati scoring both the Rams’ tries in this one.
Northern United, with livewire playmaker Esi Komaisavai and Japan international Leon Ellison for much of the day, won the Plate. Norths beat the Wellington Axemen’s A side 19-17 in the final.
Jordan Mellars-Rose scored both first-half tries for Norths as they led Wellington 12-5 at halftime. The Axemen hit back to close the gap to 12-10, but Norths scored a good team try to extend their lead. The Axemen narrowed the score with a consolation try on fulltime.
The Plate semi-finals were contrasting affairs. Norths eased past Old Boys University 41-12 in the first match, but Wellington beat Oriental-Rongotai 17-15 in an eventful match. The Axemen took an early lead, but then blew a second try with a knock on over the try-line. Paulo Aukuso then went the length of the field to score for Ories, but the conversion was missed from in front. Wellington led 12-10 at halftime, before both sides crossed once more in the second seven-minute period.
Johnsonville won the Bowl final, beating Paremata-Plimmerton 33-10. Fijian flair and the electric Jacob Walmsley carried Johnsonville through to the Bowl title. In the final, the Hawks scored two unanswered converted tries in the first seven minutes, before pulling clear in the second half to claim the Bowl win.
Paremata-Plimmerton had defeated Wellington B 21-14 in the first Bowl semi-final – scoring the only try of the second half after it was 14-14 at halftime, while Johnsonville had run through Petone 36-0 in a six tries to nil win. Petone had lost three players to injury after their opening win of the day over OBU B.
The four sides to miss out on the afternoon playoff rounds were last year’s runners-up Wainuiomata, Poneke, OBU B and MSP B.
Pool play from 9am through to mid-afternoon was generally competitive with several tight finishes and exciting matches.
HOBM won Pool A, which included an 8-5 win over Wellington Axemen (the lowest win of the day) and a 22-17 win over Norths in the final pool encounter. With scores locked at 17-17 on the cusp of fulltime and with Norths in the box seat to qualify first as they had scored the game’s first try, Norths kicked the ball back to HOBM instead of to touch and Lui Luamanu scored in the corner to win it for the Eagles.
Tawa edged OBU A to win Pool B. In fact, Tawa and OBU had drawn 14-14 in their match early in the day. Wainuiomata lost all three games, including being beaten by Paremata-Plimmerton first up.
MSP A won Pool C with a tight 14-10 win over Johnsonville followed by a 33-5 win over Poneke and a 33-7 win over Wellington B. Poneke lost all three games, including going down 17-33 to Wellington B.
The Upper Hutt Rams had few troubles in winning Pool D. They defeated Ories 22-5, Petone 43-5 and OBU B 27-0.
There are two more legs remaining in the American Ambassador’s tournament before the men’s winner is crowned. The next tournament is at Mary Crowther Park in Wainuiomata in a fortnight, followed by the decider at Ngati Toa Domain on 4 November.