Rotoiti take sevens title

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Tauranga Sports' player Laura Hardy carried the ball in the game against Waikato University. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Tauranga Sports' player Laura Hardy carried the ball in the game against Waikato University. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

Women's Sevens
Olympics sevens stars Ruby Tui and Kelly Brazier helped Rotoiti to win the inaugural Tauranga Sports Women's Sevens tournament at Arataki on Saturday.

A 24-12 final win over Hamilton Marist saw them lift the trophy.

Rotoiti booked their place in the final by beating Rangiuru while Hamilton Marist overcame Navy.

Coached by Victoria Grant, who is also the Bay of Plenty Women's sevens coach, the presence of Sevens Black Ferns Tui and Brazier was telling.

''I'm really pleased with the win, pleased with how the whole day went really," said Grant.

''There was a great vibe in our team and it was great to have the New Zealand girls playing for us - it really lifted the girls and gave them confidence. They were pretty inspired actually."

Wearing her provincial coach's hat, Grant said the club tournament can only help the development of the women's game.

'' Just having this tournament was awesome and this is a great time and a great place to have all the Bay girls playing and playing for their clubs, which is what it's all about at this time of the season. The stronger we can make the clubs, the stronger the Bay provincial team will be.

''Rangiuru came third, and a lot of the previous Bay girls were in that team, Rangataua having a team this year, Tauranga Sports having a team this year - already that's two extra teams from last year and that just shows you that the game is growing."

Bay of Plenty women's rugby development officer Hayley Kerrison was equally positive about the tournament.

''It's been a fantastic day, we've been really lucky with the weather and the fields just held up, everything has been played in a really good spirit. The teams have been at different levels, but everyone has come off the field smiling and just taking away their own development perspectives from what is early in the season for sevens."

She said at the end of the tournament, the cream had risen to the top.

''Hamilton Marist were really, really strong and looked strong and played some nice rugby and Rotoiti, they played really good rugby for a team that's not been together very long. And they had some super stars in there, which is fantastic to see at community level for the spectators."

She hoped the tournament would become an annual event.

''Already we've had a few teams hoping to have this as a regular thing and have shown they are prepared to make the trip to the Bay of Plenty.

''They have embraced the idea of a sevens season, that's something we've never had at community level for those ladies that don't go on to play representative sevens. We've had a lot of players here for who this might be their first season or even their first tournament at sevens and so it's really given them an idea of what it's about."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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