The Bay of Plenty men's sevens team, full of youth and playing a unique brand of footy, have finished third at the Northern Region Sevens in Cambridge.

They finished with two wins, two losses and a draw to qualify for the TECT National Sevens in Tauranga on December 15-16.

Leading up to the tournament, head coach Sean Horan said his side "do things a little differently". Saturday's tournament was an opportunity to showcase that.

When on attack, the Bay of Plenty men play similarly to a touch rugby team. They slow the game down to walking pace, backing away from the opposition as they analyse the defensive formation. Then, in the blink of an eye, they strike. The ball runner always has multiple players in support ready for an offload or an overlap.


It is a style that bucks the trend and while the side had mixed results on Saturday, there were plenty of positives.

"We're trying to work on certain aspects of our game that we think we can improve on. We can all historically go to rucks like everyone else, but we believe if we can get our game going it works," Horan said.

In their opening match, despite being down to six players at one stage due to a yellow card, Bay of Plenty produced a hard-fought 24-19 win over Auckland.

Their second match, against North Harbour, was a thriller. Bay of Plenty led 19-14 with less than a minute left on the clock. A desperate North Harbour side managed to break out of their own half and score to tie things up at 19-all.

Bay of Plenty's Elijah Nicholas makes a break against Northland. Photo / Supplied
Bay of Plenty's Elijah Nicholas makes a break against Northland. Photo / Supplied

Bay of Plenty's Hunter Mokomoko never gave up in defence, forcing the North Harbour try scorer to dot down in the corner rather than under the posts. That effort paid off as the try was not converted and the game finished as a draw.

In game three Bay of Plenty scored six tries on their way to a 36-14 win over Northland, elusive winger Josh Honey scored a double.

Games four and five did not quite go to plan. After leading 10-0 at halftime against Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty lost 19-10. Then in their final match they were taught a sevens lesson by defending national champions Waikato, going down 47-7.

Horan said overall, the tournament was a good opportunity for his young side to gain experience.


"Like anything in life, inexperience often brings inconsistency, so we've been open-minded about learning and how to get better - working on some combinations and giving the guys as many opportunities as possible to step forward and go to nationals.

"I think when we get it right we look pretty good, we just have to be a little bit smarter about when things don't go our way and how to pull that momentum back."

He said some players stood up and made a good case for themselves.

"I thought Will Ngatai played exceptionally well in the forwards and the kick-offs he was taking under duress. He played the most minutes out of any player. Elijah Nicholas is starting to get some of his old form back too.

"It's just about getting those lungs back and making the right decisions. There are aspects of the day that have gone really well."

Bay of Plenty Men's Results
Bay of Plenty 36-14 Northland
Bay of Plenty 24-19 Auckland
Bay of Plenty 19-19 North Harbour
Bay of Plenty 10-19 Counties Manukau
Bay of Plenty 7-47 Waikato

Northern Regional Sevens Placings
1. Counties Manukau
2. Waikato
3. Bay of Plenty
4. Auckland
5. North Harbour
6. Northland