Urgency and intensity levels must increase if the Hawke's Bay men are to be more competitive at the national sevens tournament in future.
Hawke's Bay coach Ellery Wilson agreed as he reflected on his side's two wins and three losses at the Bayleys National Sevens which finished in Rotorua yesterday. His team's campaign ended with a 40-5 Bowl semifinal loss to last year's Championship winners Counties-Manukau.
Earlier yesterday Hawke's Bay beat Southland 31-0 in their Bowl quarter-final and in pool play on Saturday Hawke's Bay lost 19-12 to North Harbour and 32-5 to Manawatu before beating Otago 20-14.
"We had nine guys new to this level who were pretty green. Some of them stepped up ... others need improvement," Wilson said.
"A lot of our guys can do unbelievable things. But it's the basics like cleanouts at rucks and supporting which needs more attention but it did improve over the two days."
Wilson agreed promising forward Ricky Hayes impressed particularly with the physicality he delivered in the win against Otago, a match in which he made four consecutive tackles. Another to get a huge tick in the stepping-up department from Wilson was first receiver Ausage Fomai.
Winger Al Momoisea had some memorable moments out wide and Wilson was happy with the defensive workrates of his grafters - captain Teihana Brown, Chris Johnston and Damien Scott.
"Our guys just need to play more tournaments to get more sevens experience. With next summer's nationals scheduled for December, a week after the regionals it is going to be exciting. It means we will get players straight out of Mitre 10 Cup when that is done and dusted."
The Hawke's Bay women also recorded two wins and three losses and ended the weekend with a 17-0 win against Poverty Bay in yesterday's playoff for 11th to avoid last place. Earlier yesterday they lost 26-12 to North Harbour and in pool play on Saturday Hawke's Bay lost 50-7 to defending champions Counties-Manukau and 39-0 to Auckland before they beat Southland 28-12.
"It was good, we improved on last year's last placing and while our talent is getting better we are still two or three levels below where we should be," Hawke's Bay co-coach Joe Heather said.
Former Aotearoa Maori Sevens rep Julie Ferguson, 40, was the best of the Bay contingent.
"It's good that our youngsters can feed off Julie and build for the future," Heather said.
Forwards Niamh Jefferson and Laurae Blake and promising speedster Felicity Powdrell were competitive in patches. Heather agreed the timing of next summer's nationals will suit his troops better as they should be fitter coming out of the Tuis Farah Palmer Cup campaign.