Clear run to inaugural title


Black Fern Shakira Baker was a prominent part of the Manawatu sevens women's rugby squad which made no race of the 2012 central regions tournament in Palmerston North on Saturday.

Baker, a member of the Eketahuna club, won the inaugural women's title with a 24-0 beating of Taranaki in the grand final played at the Massey University Sport and Rugby Institute.

Manawatu opened the tourney with a big 38-0 win against Taranaki and then repeated the scoreline in their next assignment against Wellington.

Manawatu conceded their first points of the tourney in the last of their pool games but they still scored a comfortable 29-12 victory over Hawke's Bay.

By making the final Manawatu and Taranaki qualified for the national sevens championships in Queenstown in mid-January, where they will be joined by the five top teams in the men's section at Saturday's event: Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa-Bush and Wellington.

Wairarapa-Bush pulled off what had to be the biggest upset of the tournament in pool play by beating Wellington 26-17 and also defeated Horowhenua-Kapiti 17-12 (read more about Wairarapa-Bush's efforts on The only losses suffered by Wairarapa-Bush were to Taranaki, by 43-7 in pool play and 29-0 in the play-off for third and fourth.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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