Bayleys National Sevens - Pool placings

Men
Pool A: 1st Waikato, 2nd Taranaki, 3rd Counties Manukau, 4th Wanganui
Pool B: 1st Bay of Plenty, 2nd Auckland, 3rd Canterbury, 4th Mid Canterbury
Pool C: 1st Tasman, 2nd Wellington, 3rd Northland, 4th Southland
Pool D: 1st North Harbour, 2nd Manawatu, 3rd Hawke's Bay, 4th Otago

Women
Pool A: 1st Waikato, 2nd Canterbury, 3rd Otago, 4th Poverty Bay
Pool B: 1st Manawatu, 2nd Bay of Plenty, 3rd Wellington, 4th North Harbour
Pool C: 1st Auckland, 2nd Counties Manukau, 3rd Hawke's Bay, 4th Southland

6pm In men's Pool C, Tasman finished top after making it three wins from three on day one with a 22-5 victory over Wellington. They will be joined by Wellington, who finished second in the pool.

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In men's Pool D North Harbour remained unbeaten after a 33-5 win over Manawatu. Manawatu will join North Harbour in the Cup playoffs, having finished second in the pool on points difference.

In women's Pool A it is Waikato and Canterbury who will play in the Cup quarter-finals, after topping their pool. Waikato finished top after beating Canterbury 17-0 in their final match of the day.

Auckland and defending champions Counties Manukau finished first and second respectively in women's Pool C. Auckland beat Counties 38-5 in their last match of the day.

5.30pm The Bay of Plenty women's team have finished day one on a high, with a come from behind 19-12 win over Manawatu in Pool B booking their spot in the Cup playoffs - by a whisker.

Wellington beating North Harbour 45-0 in the final game of Pool B meant they, Manawatu and Bay of Plenty had two wins each. However, Bay of Plenty's superior points difference over Wellington saw them qualify for Cup quarter-finals second behind Manawatu.

In their final game against Manawatu, Bay of Plenty started slowly and were trailing 12-0 after the first five minutes. But, a break away try from Rebecca Kersten got them back in the game.

Step up World Sevens Player of the Year Michaela Blyde. Twice in the second half the Bay of Plenty Star received the ball deep inside her own half and showed blistering speed to gas her defender on the outside and score under the posts, giving Bay of Plenty a crucial win.

4.30pm The Bay of Plenty men's team have topped Pool B and booked a spot in the Cup playoffs with a 24-14 win over Auckland.

Auckland scored the first try of the match, but Bay of Plenty hit back when Ngahori McGarvey-Black hit a gap deep inside his own half and raced away to score. Captain Te Aihe Toma scored from a quick tap to give Bay of Plenty a 12-7 lead at halftime.

Auckland were again the first to score in the second half, but Bay of Plenty hit back with tries to Luke Masirewa and Joshua Coward to seal the win. They will be joined in the quarter-finals by Auckland who finished second in the pool.

Bay of Plenty's Teddy Stanaway looks to break a tackle against Auckland. Photo / Ben Fraser
Bay of Plenty's Teddy Stanaway looks to break a tackle against Auckland. Photo / Ben Fraser

3.50pm

For the first time in three years the winners of the men's Cup will be someone other than Counties Manukau as the two-time defending champions crashed out in pool play. Having beaten Wanganui and lost to Waikato they needed to beat Taranaki in their third game, but lost 19-12.

Taranaki looked the hungrier side and scored two converted tries, to lead 14-0 at halftime. In the second half Counties hit back with two tries to Epeli Lotawa, but Taranaki sealed the win with a try to Michael Loft on fulltime.

In the same pool, Waikato cruised to a 45-5 victory over Wanganui to book a spot alongside Taranaki in the Cup playoffs.

In the second round of women's Pool A games, Waikato's former competitive hurdler Leanna Ryan proved she can hurdle tackles on the rugby field as she scored two quick tries, the first within 30 seconds of the kick off, against Otago. Waikato continued to pile on the points, winning 31-0 to make it two wins from two.

In the same pool, Canterbury remain unbeaten after two games, beating Poverty Bay 27-0.

Tasman are the team to beat in men's Pool C, winning their second game 24-0 over Southland.

In men's Pool D, North Harbour have one two from two, after beating Otago 40-7, and Manawatu bounced back from defeat to Otago with a 32-5 win over Hawke's Bay.


2.10pm The Bay of Plenty men have made it two wins from two in Pool B with a hard fought 19-10 victory over Canterbury. Bay of Plenty opened the scoring through Paea Lavaka, before Canterbury's Jesse Houston hit back with a try of his own. Bailey Simonsson gave the Bay a 12-5 lead at halftime when he showed pure pace to race away and score from inside his own half.

Canterbury reduced the deficit to 12-10 early in the second half and began to pile on the pressure. The Bay of Plenty defence held strong, Luke Masirewa made a try saving tackle which forced a turnover. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black scooped up the ball and sprinted 100m before passing inside to Luke Campbell for the try. Campbell converted to make it 19-10.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black breaks away for the Bay of Plenty men's team. Photo / Ben Fraser
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black breaks away for the Bay of Plenty men's team. Photo / Ben Fraser

Meanwhile, having lost their first game, the Bay of Plenty women faced a do-or-die clash in Pool B against North Harbour and they got the job done with a 38-5 win.

Bay of Plenty were under the pump early but absorbed the pressure, before working their way up field. Mahina Paul ran onto a beautiful inside ball to open the scoring under the posts. Lesley Elder added a second try for Bay of Plenty when teammate Tania-Rose Raharuhi stood in the tackle and offloaded 5m from the line. Michaela Blyde showed great strength to score a third and Bay of Plenty led 19-0 at halftime.

North Harbour got themselves back in the game in the second half, through a try to Laishon Jones, to reduce the deficit to 19-5. However, Bay of Plenty hit straight back as Blyde broke away from inside her own half, turned the last defender inside out with a big step and scored under the posts. Bay of Plenty added two more tries through Autumn-Rain Daly-Stephens and Kelly Brazier for a big win.

In the other women's Pool B game Sarah Goss' Manawatu smashed Wellington 38-5 for their second win of the tournament.

Counties Manukau and Auckland have dominated women's Pool C, both sitting on two wins from two. Auckland beat Hawke's Bay 39-0 and Counties Manukau beat Southland 36-5 in their second games.

In men's Pool B Auckland are unbeaten after two games, beating Mid Canterbury 39-10. Wellington are also unbeaten, in Pool C, after beating North Harbour 20-5.

12.50pm In men's Pool C, Tasman trailed early on against Northland before finding their feet and taking a 12-5 lead into halftime. They kept it up in the second half, including a double to co-captain James Lash, securing a 24-5 victory. In the same pool, Wellington started their tournament with a 24-5 win over Southland.

In women's Pool A, Waikato defeated Poverty Bay 25-5 and Canterbury ground out a 17-7 win over Otago after leading 7-5 at halftime.

In the first men's Pool D game of the day, Otago fought off a Manawatu comeback to win 26-19. Otago flew out of the blocks, with playmaker Taylor Haugh involved in everything, to lead 19-0 at halftime. Manawatu hit back with two tries to make it 19-14 at one point, but Otago scored another and held on for the win.

In the other men's Pool D game North Harbour and Hawke's Bay went blow for blow for 14 minutes, but it was North Harbour who took the win, 19-12.

In a clash between two of the men's tournament favourites, in Pool A, Waikato beat Counties Manukau 19-12 to move to the top of the pool with one game to play.

11.50am The Bay of Plenty men's and women's teams had mixed fortunes in their opening games.

The men started with a bang, thumping Mid Canterbury 43-0. Both sides started the game slowly and struggled to hold onto the ball, until Bay of Plenty's Luke Masirewa pounced on a loose ball near halfway and raced away to score. They added six more tries in a convincing win, including a double to captain Te Aihe Toma.

The Bay of Plenty women were left to a rue a slow start as an inability to receive kick-offs cleanly saw them trailing 15-0 shortly after halftime. They found their feet late in the game, Kelly Brazier scored a try off the back of a great offload from Lavinia Gould. Michaela Blyde added a second try with a fantastic solo effort down the left wing, which was converted to make it 15-12 to Wellington, but it was too little too late for Bay of Plenty.

Tynealle Fitzgerald looks to offload during Bay of Plenty women's first game against Wellington. Photo / Ben Fraser
Tynealle Fitzgerald looks to offload during Bay of Plenty women's first game against Wellington. Photo / Ben Fraser

In other matches, the defending champion Counties Manukau women cracked a half-century in their opening match against Hawke's Bay in Pool C. Counties led 22-7 at halftime before cruising to a 50-7 victory. In Pool B, Manawatu started their campaign with a 38-0 win over North Harbour.

Meanwhile in men's Pool A, Taranaki trailed 12-5 against Waikato with seconds left on the clock but scored a converted try to finish tied at 12-all. In Pool B Auckland beat Canterbury 19-0.

Luke Masirewa races away to score Bay of Plenty's first try of the Bayleys National Sevens. Photo / Ben Fraser
Luke Masirewa races away to score Bay of Plenty's first try of the Bayleys National Sevens. Photo / Ben Fraser

10.35am

Counties Manukau men have started their hunt for a third successive national sevens title with a 45-12 hammering of Wanganui in the opening game of the tournament. Wanganui were the first to cross the try line but Counties showed their class as they took a 17-5 lead into halftime. They continued to pile on the points in the second half, including a hatrick to Peni Buakula.

Meanwhile, In the opening game of the women's tournament, Auckland won their Pool C clash against Southland, 22-0.

The crowd are getting into it and the Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser
The crowd are getting into it and the Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser

EARLIER

Rotorua is set for two days of non-stop sevens action when the 2018 Bayleys National Sevens kicks off.

New Zealand's top 16 men's teams and top 12 women's teams face off in the tournament at Rotorua International Stadium, with games split between two pitches today and tomorrow.

The first men's pool match kicks off at 10.05am today with defending champions Counties Manukau taking on Wanganui on field one, in Pool A. Meanwhile, in the women's draw, Auckland play Southland, in Pool C, at the same time on field two.

Bay of Plenty men's team, coached by Paul Tietjens, get their pool play underway at 10.45am on field one against Mid Canterbury, in Pool B.

And the women's team, coached by Victoria Grant, kick off theirs at 11.05am against Wellington on field two, in Pool B.

The official welcome and opening ceremony, which will include all the teams, will start at 2.05pm on field one.

New Zealand Rugby president Maurice Trapp said, in his welcoming statement, it was great to be back in Rotorua "for this fantastic tournament in what is such a big year for sevens internationally".

"We have the Commonwealth Games coming up in April, as well as the HSBC World Sevens Series for both our All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women's Sevens sides, all of which require our teams to be at their very best.

"The regional sevens tournaments highlight the impressive standard of sevens in New Zealand. It's great to see so many players, coaches and referees making the most of their opportunities and representing their provinces with pride.

"I expect the bar to be raised again this weekend as the teams compete for national honours. We are also sure to discover some future sevens stars making their mark," Trapp said.

Bayleys National Sevens - Pools

Men
Pool A: Counties Manukau, Taranaki, Waikato, Whanganui
Pool B: Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Canterbury, Mid Canterbury
Pool C: Wellington, Tasman, Northland, Southland
Pool D: Manawatu, North Harbour, Hawke's Bay, Otago

Women
Pool A: Waikato, Canterbury, Otago, Poverty Bay
Pool B: Manawatu, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, North Harbour
Pool C: Auckland, Counties Manukau, Hawke's Bay, Southland