The Bay of Plenty women's sevens team bounced back from the disappointment of losing their Cup quarter-final to win the Plate and finish fifth overall at the Bayleys National Sevens.

They started the tournament slowly, losing 15-12 to Wellington in the first game of pool play, but beat North Harbour 38-5 before winning a do-or-die clash with Manawatu 19-12 to qualify for a Cup quarter-final against defending champions Counties-Manukau.

At the end of day one coach Victoria Grant said the team was well aware they had been knocked out in the quarter-finals last year and were determined for redemption this year.

They shot out to a 21-0 lead but Counties fought back to win 22-21. That loss consigned Bay of Plenty to the Plate competition, which they won in 2017.


In the Plate semifinal they were back to their dominant best, beating Canterbury 29-10 to book a spot in the final.

Bay of Plenty finished the tournament on a high, defeating the only team that beat them in pool play, Wellington, 36-7 in the Plate final.

In the final Michaela Blyde proved, as she has done all weekend, that if you give her too much space on the left edge she will outrun you.

She scored Bay of Plenty's first within the first two minutes for a 7-0 lead. Straight from the resulting kick-off Bay of Plenty broke down the right-hand side and Rebecca Kersten scored in the corner.

Dhys Faleafaga hit back with a try for Wellington before Bay of Plenty's Lavinia Gould threw a beautiful inside ball to Blyde who was once again too fast, scoring under the posts. Bay of Plenty led 19-7 at halftime.

After the break Kororia Heyblom added another try for Bay of Plenty, slicing straight through a gap to put the game out of reach for Wellington. Autumn-Rain Daly-Stephens showed great pace to add Bay of Plenty's fifth try.

The Bay of Plenty women were
The Bay of Plenty women were "bitterly disappointed" to be knocked out of the Cup quarter-finals by Counties Manukau. Photo / Ben Fraser

Blyde put the cherry on top with her side's sixth try, her third of the game, to top off what was a fantastic tournament for the World Women's Sevens Player of the Year.

Grant said her players were bitterly disappointed to lose the Cup quarter-final, but she was pleased with the way they picked themselves up.


"The feeling was pretty horrible after losing that quarter-final, the girls came out with a huge first half. We talked about keeping the ball in the ball in the second half but we just didn't do that. That's sevens, you have to play for the full 14 minutes.

"It's all about the bounce back and I was really proud of how the girls played against Canterbury and then against Wellington, they really showcased what they can do," Grant said.

Bay of Plenty captain Rebecca Kersten said "all the girls were pretty down" after the quarter-final.

"Just because we've worked so hard throughout the season, we started training back in November and put in a lot of work over those couple of months, so it was disappointing.

"To get up in the last game was awesome. I think we really grew as a team [throughout the tournament]," Kersten said.

The national champions in the women's competition were Manawatu, led by New Zealand representative Sarah Goss, who came from behind in the Cup final to beat Waikato 17-15.