The Bay of Plenty men's and women's sevens teams are reflecting on uneven performances at the regional qualifiers for the 2015 Bayleys National Sevens at Waikato Stadium.
The men's side began with a narrow loss to Waikato before easily accounting for Thames Valley 34-5.
The 5-20 loss to Northland in the final pool game was the biggest disappointment, leading to a consolation 19-14 win over North Harbour in the playoff for fifth.
The relative lack of depth in the women's game was shown by the record and ranking of the Bay women's team.
Losses to Counties Manukau (10-17), Waikato (5-27) and Auckland (0-21) led to a showdown with North Harbour for qualification for next month's nationals in Rotorua.
The final round victory (22-14) was enough to book a place at the national showpiece and a chance to play off for third.
The improvement in the side's play was shown by the reversal of fortunes against Counties, with a 12-10 win good enough to claim third place behind winners Waikato and runners-up Auckland.
Bay of Plenty men's coach Peter Woods said the fifth-placed finish would give the side a tough draw at the nationals, but he was more concerned about a serious injury to All Blacks Sevens contracted player Joe Tupe.
The flanker, who had worked himself into the best shape of his career in recent months, tore his ACL just a matter of metres from his coach to send shockwaves through the squad.
"We had a massive blow," Woods began, before describing how he had heard a crack and saw Tupe crumble while trying to chop inside off his left foot.
"He was getting fitter and he had that X-factor to him that you could just see. He had been training the house down and you could see the effect he had on the boys around him."
Woods said it was unlikely the squad would be bolstered by any of the young Rotorua Boys' High School sevens players.
Key players from the champion Rotorua Boys' side had opted instead to attend high performance trainings with the Steamers.