According to Bay of Plenty men's sevens coach Sean Horan, it can be "a ruthless sport".

Today his side play for pool placement at the National Sevens in the Northern Region qualification tournament in Cambridge and Horan knows all too well that his team need to be on their game.

All six teams in the men's qualifying tournament go through to nationals, but today's results will decide their pool placement, which could be crucial.

In January, the Bay men finished fifth overall at the National Sevens and will be eager to improve on that. But, first they have to get there and with plenty of new faces in what is a young squad, it may be an exciting process.


"This is a great opportunity for some of these young men to step up on the national stage. There are a lot of little things we want to see. It can be a ruthless game, you play often play in a dark space where you think you can't do it, but you just have to," Horan says.

"It's about making smart decisions under fatigue and playing what's in front of you. You can get caught up with the technical and tactical aspects, but at the end of the day, when decisions have to be made on the field, we want to see them make the right ones."

The team has been working hard in training during the last few weeks and have played pre-season tournaments in Counties Manukau and Thames Valley. Horan said the biggest thing he had learned about his young side in that time was how committed they were.

"There are some players really giving it a crack and really buying into the way we want to play. We've enjoyed their commitment to turn up and want to get better, it's pretty cool really.

"They're a good bunch of guys who are prepared to go and play the game a little differently to how we have in the past and we're excited about that."

He said the team learned as much from the games they lost during the pre-season tournament as they did from the games they won.

With plenty of rain forecast today, the most beneficial of those pre-season games may turn out to be a loss to North Harbour in wet conditions.

"The preseason tournaments have taught us a lot about our thoughts as a team, what style would suit us and what the opposition will bring. All the players have brought us a lot to think about regarding selection and who will best fit those roles. They have really put their hands up.


"There are teams like Counties and Waikato who are really strong and experienced, but it was pleasing to see this group come together and put in some good performances.

"We learned a lot from the performances that we didn't do to well in. You're gearing up for one national tournament, it's all about preparing well and getting it right once you're there."

Bay of Plenty Men's Sevens Side
Carlos Price, Elijah Nicholas, Etonia Waqa, Hunter Mokomoko, Isaac Te Aute (captain), Jayjay Seumai, Jordy Stone, Josh Honey, Rewita Biddle, Taniela Filemone, Te Wahi Wright, William Ngatai.

Bay of Plenty Men's Schedule
What: Regional qualifying tournament
Where: Memorial Park Cambridge
When: December 1
10.40am v Auckland
11.40am v North Harbour
1.20pm v Northland
2.20pm v Counties Manukau
4.40pm v Waikato