With temperatures rising, so is the expectation for the Bay of Plenty men's and women's sevens teams this weekend.
They will be in action at the Northern Regional Sevens in Cambridge tomorrow
What all the fuss is about is seeding for the Bayleys National Sevens to be hosted by Bay of Plenty Rugby at Rotorua International Stadium on January 13-14.
With Bay of Plenty men's coach Paul Tietjens away with the Samoan team in South Africa it is a chance for assistant coach Euan Mackintosh to step up.
"First and foremost we are going there to do the best we can and get the best seeding positions for the nationals come January but at the same time we still have a lot of positions up for grabs. We are definitely still using these tournaments as an opportunity to finalise those selections," Mackintosh said.
"This is a chance for guys to put their hand up and say they should be in the team. There are boys who have missed out this weekend who will be extremely disappointed but they are by no means out of the picture."
Bay of Plenty women's coach Victoria Grant says the seedings are all important to give her team the best opportunity on day one of the nationals to progress into the cup stage on day two.
"Northern region is a tough region in terms of all the provinces in New Zealand. The top four from here were in the top five last year at nationals. It is good for us though as we always have good competition," she said.
"We have plenty of development in our women's programme. We are always up for the challenge from the strong unions in sevens. Counties is one of the better ones on paper but Waikato are also very strong and so are Auckland."
The momentum following BOP Volcanix winning the Farah Palmer Cup Championship in 15s has carried on into the sevens programme.
"In women's the sevens and 15s try to work together so for the girls it is one big programme rather than being separate," Grant said.
"It was great the Volcanix winning the final and the sevens went straight off the 15s. In other seasons there has been quite a bit of a gap. It has been a challenge around that because sevens is a different game so we have been trying to get that transition in the last three weeks."
The extra depth in the Bay of Plenty women's squad will be tested in Cambridge with six front line players out with injury including three New Zealand squad players.
"We have a lot of injuries at the moment so it is lucky we have got good development because the girls coming through underneath have a chance to shine this weekend," Grant said.
What: Northern Regional Sevens
Where: Memorial Park, Cambridge
When: Saturday, 10am, gold coin entry
At stake: Seeding positions for Bayleys National Sevens, Rotorua, January 13-14.
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