With thousands at Mount Maunganui for rest and relaxation over the holiday season, the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union will again showcase many of the best rugby Sevens players in the country.
The Bay Engineers Supplies Provincial Rugby Sevens tournament will be held for the seventh time at Blake Park, Mount Maunganui, tomorrow and has attracted 12 men's teams and eight women's teams.
Bay of Plenty rugby has a special affinity with Sevens.
In April 1992 a Bay of Plenty team entered the Melrose Sevens in Scotland. The tournament was then considered the pinnacle world event of the shortened version of the game. Coached by New Zealand Sevens maestro Gordon Tietjens, Bay of Plenty emerged triumphant, defeating Kelso 17-12 in the final.
In 2010 and 2011, the Bay of Plenty Sevens team ruled supreme at their home tournament. In 2010 the Bay side came from behind at the halftime break to beat Counties Manukau 38-26, while in 2011 they defeated archrivals Waikato 47-26.
Last year current Ranfurly Shield holders Taranaki started 2012 in style, when they annexed the first serious prize of the rugby year by taking out the Bay of Plenty Provincial Sevens title. After squeezing past Hawke's Bay 24-21 in the semifinals they ran over Canterbury 40-0 in the title decider.
While defending women's champions Auckland are missing from the 2013 entries, there is a quality field of six teams chasing the title.
Waikato are always strong in women's rugby and were beaten semifinalists in 2012, while the Bay of Plenty team should be able to count on plenty of local crowd support.
Bay Engineers Supplies Provincial 7's Tournament, Blake Park, 5 January 2013
Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Counties Manukau, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty 2, Manawatu, North Harbour, Northland, Taranaki, Waikato, Wellington.
Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, Manawatu, Taranaki, Wellington, Waikato.
Bay of Plenty teams
Men's One: Jason Hona, Matt Clutterbuck, Adam McGarvey, Alex Jessop, Elijah Nicholas, Nathaniel Walker, Curtis van der Heeyden, Ngatai Kingi, Dan Hollinshead, Zar Lawrence, Akira Mako, Mason Walker.
Men's Two: David Fraser, Nick Evemy, Josh Hall, Jamie Nutbrown, Nathan Harris, Te Aihe Toma, Nick Thompson, Sasu Wihapi, Vince Cooney, Steve Honey, Andy Devoy, Lance MacDonald, Phil Togotogorua.