Above: The American Ambassador's Trophy is on the line over the next few weeks. The Wellingtn club rugby sevens series gets underway at Maoribank Park, Upper Hutt.
It’s a transition day this Saturday between the two rugby formats, with the final double-header afternoon of 15s rugby at Porirua Park, the first of the three official WRFU sevens tournaments at Maoribank Park and the Hurricanes secondary schools sevens tournament in Masterton.
The first leg of the WRFU American Ambassador’s Wellington club rugby sevens tournament takes place all day at Maoribank Park in Upper Hutt.
Draw: Confirmed teams and draw will be posted on the WRFU website and social media channels on Friday.
The men’s side of the American Ambassador’s sevens draw for the opening leg looks to be full, with most if not all clubs expected to be represented at Maoribank Park in the 16-team field.
Last year the American Ambassador’s sevens was revamped as a multi-tournament format, which continues this year with the second leg of the series slated for Onepoto Park on 27 October and the third and final tournament at Mary Crowther Park on 3 November.
The Upper Hutt Rams are the defending champions, winning a three-peat of titles in 2017. The Rams won the first tournament last year at Lyndhurst Park but Northern United won the second two. However an administrative error saw Norths stripped of points after the second tournament which they won on the field and the Rams pulled through.
The women’s Eleanor Roosevelt Trophy will also be up for grabs, which was won by Marist St Pat’s last year and by St Mary’s College in 2016, who went on to win the national school Condor 7s in Auckland.
The Rams and Norths appear to be amongst the favourites for this year’s series. The two sides contested the final of last weekend’s Tawa Invitational 7s series, which Norths won 19-10.
This tournament also featured two MSP entries, the home club Tawa and sides from Old Boys University, the Wellington Axemen and Johnsonville.
Other clubs sure to be in the mix for the American Ambassador’s title include perennial contenders Oriental-Rongotai, Hutt Old Boys Marist and Wainuiomata.
Across the hill in Masterton, the fifth annual Hurricanes Youth Council Sevens tournament takes place at Memorial Park.
Two new champions will be found for 2018, with defending champions Hastings Boys’ High School (boys) and Manukura (girls) not entering teams into this year’s Tournament.
A 10-team Boys Division and a 4-team Girls Division will take the field on Saturday, representing secondary schools from the Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington Provincial Unions.
The boys teams are split into two pools of five. Pool A sees Mana College, Wellington College, a Wairarapa College Barbarians side, St Pat’s Silverstream and Napier Boys’ High School Blue. Pool B sees Rongotai College, St Pat’s Town, Makoura College, Manawatu College and Napier Boys’ High School White involved.
The four girls schools are Feilding High School, Manawatu College, Hawke’s Bay’s Nga Wahine Toa and Wellington's Queen Margaret College who are entering the sevens fray.
The first Tournament matches kick-off at 10.00am, with the Girls Division Final at 3.20pm and the Boys Division Final at 3.40pm.
In 15s representative matches on Saturday, the Wellington Pride host North Harbour in a Women’s NPC semi-final at 12.00pm and the Wellington Development team hosts Auckland B at 2.00pm.