As a first receiver and sweeper Trent Hape knows there's no hiding in sevens rugby when he takes the field for the Hawke's Bay men in Levin today.
"In sevens it's whoever turns up on the day so you can't pick and choose [who will be tough] but if I have to pick anyone it'll have to be Wellington," says Hape of the Maurice Trapp Group-sponsored Bay side who are the No 4 seeds at the Central Region Horowhenua 7s regional qualifying tournament.
The 20-year-old teacher aide at Mayfair School in Hastings is part of the campaign to help make the top four for the national sevens at Tauranga on December 15-16.
"The team does the work for you and you have to create something out of nothing," he says of his playmaking role.
The Ellery Wilson-coached Bay are in a pool with top seeds Wellington and No 5 Whanganui, after Poverty Bay withdrew.
The other pool comprises No 2 Taranaki, No 3 Manawatu, No 6 Wairarapa Bush and No 7 Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Hape is fresh back with fellow Bay contenders Tyrone Dodd-Edwards and Danny Toala, both 19, at the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 after missing out in Auckland this week.
"You win some, you lose some," says the former Hastings Boys' High School first XV player who now plays for the Havelock North premier men's rugby team in winter.
Isla Norman-Bell, Mererangi Paul, Kalyn Takitimu-Cook, William Warbrick, Chay Fihaki and Jacob Kneepkens were picked from 96 hopefuls in four days that culminated in a one-day tourney at Trusts Arena, Waitakere.
The exercise was to offer berths at the 2019 All Blacks and Black Ferns sevens national development camp.
The contenders from their Power team had build a rapport via phones in the first two days.
"By the third day we all got to know each other and it felt like we had known each other for months," says Hape, pleased to fit into a new environment at short notice by identifying and understanding what makes others tick.
However, he sees the Bay men as another vehicle to continue his journey for higher honours.
"Just to qualify, I think, will be our main goal," he says. "Ellery has been putting in a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get us going."
Hape says in the beginning not many players were "showing up" but in the past month that attitude has changed.
■ Hawke's Bay team: Teihana Brown (c), Kalin Paewai, Damien Scott, Trent Hape, Hayden Hann, Siosaia Paese, Tamati Samuels, Sebastian Visinia, Zachary Donaldson, Tom Iosefo, Tyrone Dodd-Edwards, Danny Toala.
Coach: Ellery Wilson.
Manager: Tim Jones.
Trainer: Kilian Bibby.