Papamoa Tavern Bay of Plenty reached the semifinals of the men's Cup competition of the Bay of Plenty Provincial Sevens tournament held at Blake Park on Saturday before running into a Northland kauri tree.
Wins over Poverty Bay, Wanganui and a loss to Waikato saw the Bay through to a showdown with the impressive Northland outfit led by outstanding Fijian Waisea Lawebuka. Northland jumped out to a 17-0 lead as the tiring Bay players fell off tackles and they cruised through to the final with Taranaki by 29-14.
For Bay coach Peter Woods there were positives from the day's play but also much to work on ahead of this weekend's Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua.
"This is where you learn. The mistakes like missed tackles, not rolling away at the ruck, 50/50 passes, holding on to the ball and keeping that possession are things these boys need to learn. You don't need to score from first or second phase; it could be by fourth or fifth phase so it is about keeping that composure," Woods said.
"But good to get some of the experienced boys coming back into the fold who need that match play like Teddy [Stanaway], Isaac [Te Aute], Matt Clutterbuck and Akira Mako. Today's tournament would have been good because they haven't played a lot of sevens.
"Today was the first time these guys have played together and I have seen the improvement. We wanted to improve on our last performance at the Northern Regions and making it hard to make that final squad for the nationals. As a coach you want a bit of a headache when it comes to selection with two to three guys fighting for one position, which we have only in a couple of positions."
The mistakes like missed tackles, not rolling away at the ruck, 50/50 passes, holding on to the ball and keeping that possession are things these boys need to learn.
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Injuries may well dictate the final squad for the nationals, with fitness tests needed on Matty Axtens (cut eye) and Rewita Biddle (ankle), who suffered injuries in the opening game against Poverty Bay that kept them out of the rest of the day's play. Also in the frame for selection is former All Blacks Sevens player Zar Lawrence, who did not play on Saturday with a slight Achilles injury.
In Saturday's men's cup final, Taranaki eventually overcame Northland after trailing 17-0 at halftime. The second spell was all one-way traffic as Taranaki ran away with the game 31-17. Northland's Lawebuka was named tournament MVP.
In the women's cup final it was a much closer affair between Manawatu and Wellington, with Wellington ahead 12-7 at the break. Manawatu capitalised on their opportunities and held Wellington scoreless in the second half to claim the title with a 19-12 win. Manawatu's Kristen Duffil was named tournament MVP.
- For results visit: www.boprugby.co.nz