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Northern United win third leg but Upper Hutt Rams clinch series

Sevens Rugby | 04 November 2017 | Steven White

Northern United win third leg but Upper Hutt Rams clinch series

The Schrijvers brothers, Dan with ball in hand and Hayden far left, were both outstanding players today and throughout the three-round Ambassador's Sevens series for the Upper Hutt Rams.

Northern United won the third tournament of the American Ambassador’s Sevens, but the Upper Hutt Rams wrapped up the overall series victory at a windswept and dusty Ngatitoa Domain this afternoon.

Northern United won their second successive tournament but were too far back in the series standings to win the silverware after losing all their points last weekend by fielding an ineligible player. Defending champions and opening tournament winners the Upper Hutt Rams won the series by making the Cup semi-finals. Final series points will be confirmed by the WRFU on Monday.

The Rams went down to the ever-improving Wellington Axemen side 12-21 in the second of this afternoon’s Cup semi-finals. For the Axemen, livewire Matt Day scored the game’s first try and the game’s best individual try from a chip-and-chase and regather.

Norths defeated a vastly improved Wainuiomata side 34-7 in the other Cup semi-final, the Uale Mai-led Wainuiomata finding themselves down 0-17 and with a player in the sinbin late in the first half. Norths extended their lead early in the second seven minutes and booked their place in the final.

RLM

The Cup final saw playmaker Esi Komaisavai open the scoring for Norths, but the Axemen replied soon after to make it 7-7, but a Luke Bowden hat-trick either side of halftime sealed the win. Bowden scored his first to make it 12-7, before he finished off a break by Porirua College’s Eli Moatata’a to put Norths 19-12 up at the turnaround. The Axemen went close to crossing, but scrambling defence held them up over the line. Norths regrouped and Bowden scored a long-range try, which Komaisavai converted from the sideline. Norths scored twice more to make the final score 38-12.

Marist St Pat’s won the Eleanor Roosevelt Trophy for winning the women’s title, beating Northern United in the final. Last year, St Mary’s College won this title, but in this year’s final it was two SMC players on opposing sides that were key players. Cheyne Copeland on the winning side was full of running all day, while Dhys Faleafaga scored one try and set up two more for Norths in the final.

The run of play in the women’s final saw MSP score twice to take a 12-0 lead, before Norths came back to score two themselves and trail 10-12 at halftime. Norths made another bust and scored first after the interval to lead 15-12, but superior teamwork saw MSP score twice more to win 24-15.

Poneke won the Shield final and home club Paremata-Plimmerton took the Bowl final out.

The MSP men’s side were also dominant in winning the Plate final against Oriental-Rongotai. MSP raced in to score four tries in the first stanza and they led 24-0 at the break. Now with the wind and dust at their backs, MSP scored twice more to lead 36-0. Ories got on the board, but MSP scored again at the end and they won 43-7.

Ories had beaten Petone 31-21 in a seesaw battle in one Plate semi-final, while MSP had come from behind to beat Tawa 35-24 in the other. Tawa had scored three tries and led 19-0 at one point and then 24-7 at halftime. MSP turned around and laid on four converted tries to win.

Tawa had also been unlucky not to progress to the Cup round, having won all their Pool B matches and also beaten winners Norths 15-12 in a crossover contest. But the Wellington Axemen qualified first from the pool as they also won all their games and finished on 20 points to Tawa’s 19 in the Pool B standings.

Pool A saw Norths finish top, with three good wins over Ories, MSP B and OBU B. The Upper Hutt Rams comfortably won Pool C, while Wainuiomata lost 0-36 to the Rams in their first [crossover] game before beating MSP A (20-12), Johnsonville (21-19) and Wellington B (33-17).

Johnsonville had beaten OBU’s top team 19-12 in the first game of the day, but OBU were down on numbers with some players sitting university exams. OBU also lost one of their pool matches 14-17 to MSP A despite red and yellow card doled out to MSP players.

In the Women’s pool, both finalists had comfortable wins in round-robin play. MSP and Norths met in the final round-robin fixture having both already qualified for the straight final. This match was called off early following a serious injury to a Norths player.

The Wellington representative sevens teams are expected to be named over the next couple of days, with the men playing in next weekend’s Tawa 7s tournament in their first hit-out of the representative sevens season.

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