A young and inexperienced Bay of Plenty men's sevens team ravaged by injuries managed to limp to the Bowl semifinals at the TECT National Sevens.
They endured a torrid day of pool play at the Tauranga Domain on Saturday, during which little went their way.
In Pool D, they lost their opening match against Taranaki 10-0 before struggling to hold on to the ball in a 24-7 loss to Canterbury.
In the final round of pool play the Bay of Plenty men produced their best performance of the day, but still went down 21-17.
Finishing bottom of the pool meant they were resigned to playing for the Bowl on day two yesterday and they started the day with great intent, beating Northland 39-0 in the quarter-finals.
In the semifinal, Bay of Plenty led 21-5 at one point and looked to have a finals spot in the bag, but Auckland roared back in the second half to win 24-21 and knock the home side out of the tournament.
Bay of Plenty coach Sean Horan said, while better results would've been nice, it was very much a learning experience for his side.
"It's a new squad and they did a lot of learning, going through the disappointment of losing and not really playing to our potential. I think the game against Auckland today was a bit of a hangover from yesterday.
"Yesterday we sort of forgot to play rugby. When you look around at the teams that are doing well, they have a core group who have been together for quite a few years. But, the exposure and experience for these young players, it's a good indication that even if you think you're there, you might have a little bit more work to do. That's just life."
Horan said the team comprised "a good bunch of boys" who were all eager to learn.
"Once we started getting injuries, we lost our two co-captains which was a big loss. Not saying that the other guys were to blame, but when you lack a bit of experience you lose a lot.
"In sevens you have such a short amount of time and we were in such a tough pool but never really got blown out.
"We were cold against Taranaki, there was a bit of stage fright. Canterbury were up 14-0 after three minutes, so we were chasing the game and that's when you have to be pretty accurate.
"You have to give it to Auckland, they were accurate and they took those opportunities that we gave them. That's just sport and these boys will learn a lot moving forward."
Bay of Plenty men's results
Lost 10-0 v Taranaki
Lost 24-7 v Canterbury
Lost 21-17 v Hawke's Bay
Won 39-0 v Northland
Lost 24-21 v Auckland