The Northern United Men’s and Women’s teams and the Scots College U15s were singing in the rain this afternoon after winning their respective sevens tournaments.
The Norths Men’s and Women’s sides both took the honours at Onepoto Park in the second leg of three of the WRFU American Ambassador’s tournament.
In persistent rain that set in around lunchtime, the American Ambassador’s afternoon session was curtailed early. Norths beat the Upper Hutt Rams in their Men’s Cup semi-final and then backed up 10 minutes later by playing and winning the Cup final against the Johnsonville Hawks.
Norths were clinical on the counterattack all day, scoring a number of runaway tries, easing past the Rams in the semi-final and then racing to a four tries to nil halftime lead over Johnsonville and eventually winning six tries to two.
Norths had won their three pool matches, 26-0 over Poneke, 27-0 over the second Upper Hutt Rams team and 36-0 over Wainuiomata.
Petone won pool B, a 19-12 win over MSP in their first match of the day a key result for them, the Upper Hutt Rams top team didn’t concede a point in beating Wellington, OBU and Avalon in winning Pool C, while Johnsonville convincingly won Pool D with big wins over the HOBM Eagles, Paremata-Plimmerton and the Norths second team.
The North’s Women’s side beat Marist St Pat’s in what proved to be the decider, after racing to a four tries to nil at halftime. Both sides won the two pools in the seven-team women’s competition.
Having both won the first leg a fortnight ago, the Norths Men’s and Women’s teams have doubled their series points tallies to 40 points and the series is theirs to lose when it wraps up at Mary Crowther Park next Saturday.
The tournament was played in cloudy cool conditions throughout the morning, before the northerly wind picked up for a time and steady rain kicked in. The barbecue sizzled through it all.
Despite this, the standard of play was high with a number of well-known players turning out for the 23 teams that took part. Young and old was represented, such as St Pat’s Town captain Keelan Whitman debuting for Marist St Pat’s and Jet Togia playing for Tawa two years after retiring after winning the Jubilee Cup final.
At Naenae College, Scots College successfully defended the Wellington U15 sevens title, defeating St Pats Town 28-17 in the final.
Scots joined their senior team as local champions and dedicated their triumph to Year 9 student Joenah Iona who is presently fighting cancer.
In rapidly deteriorating conditions, Scots essentially settled the contest by halftime scoring three quick tries to lead 19-0 at the turn.
Kueva Samoa was a standout for Scots scoring three tries in the semi-final against St Pat’s Silverstream and twice in the last pool game. When Samoa finished a long range breakout involving multiple handlers, halftime couldn’t come soon enough for the Catholics.
Dominic Leota Johnson revived hopes of a Town resurgence by crossing first in the second spell, but when Muri Stewart outpaced several chasers, Scots were in a comfortable position. For Town, Christian Stenhouse and James Tuck scored the last two tries of proceedings.
Scots breezed through pool play amassing over 100 points in three games. Jonty Bird (a half brother of Wellington Lion Alex Fidow) and Ietitaia Campbell (Wellington U13 second-five) were among the standouts with the later celebrating two doubles.
With only seven teams, every school qualified automatically for the quarter finals - Scots advancing directly to the semi-finals by virtue of topping Pool A which featured four teams.
Bailee Laurenson-Tupai scored the first two tries of the day. Laurenson-Tupai from Wellington College is a McEvedy Shield U14 sprint champion.
Later Wellington College would beat Taita College 24-19 in the Plate Final with Joshua Williams breaking a stalemate on the buzzer.
Coby Wood (Wainuiomata High School) showed his soccer skills by finishing a dribbling movement against Rongotai College. Wood scored later in the same match, but Wainuiomata would finish without any wins, unless the two former pupils on the Scots team count.
Rongotai was involved in the most exciting encounter of the day pipping Taita College 24-19 in extra time in the quarter-final. Taita led 19-5, but three tries by John Samuelu helped close the gap to 19-17 on full-time. Against the breeze Enesi Tailaepa converted brilliantly from the touch and then scored the winner in the additional period.
Xavier Print (Rongotai College), Daniel Tafili (St Pats Wellington), Junior Misa (Taita College) and Peter Lakai (St Pats Silverstream) were just some of the other eye-catching talents on display in the last College Sport Wellington rugby event of 2018.