The Settler's Honey Wanganui Club sevens have rebounded in numbers with eight teams contesting the title at Marton Park this afternoon.

In 2016, only six teams took part, with Border and home club Marton not quite able to raise the numbers, but both of those sides are on deck this year, with Marton looking to cap off a great season where they had an undefeated run to the senior club rugby title in July.

While Marist and Utiku are not providing teams this time around, Kaierau have stepped up to the plate by fielding two squads - A and B.

"They've got a very good team and a very young team," said WRFU club development officer Paul Kenny.


"That young team's got a few high school boys in it, but that's what it's all about, giving an opportunity."

Kaierau's commitment is likely in-line with the club's retired Steelform Wanganui legend Ace Malo taking over from Taihape's Tom Wells as the coach of the Wanganui representative sevens team, with fellow Kaierau man Darrell Robinson the team manager.

While the Border and Kaierau A squads are looking strong, the big question will be if anyone can stop Ngamatapouri from a championship three-peat.

After the tournament was created in 2014, with Kaierau the inaugural winners, Ngamatapouri joined the following season following their club's formation and have been undefeated in games since - besting Taihape both times in the final.

Those teams have been seeded at the top of the respective pools, with Taihape possibly being reinforced with some players from their fellow Northern sub-union clubs in Ruapehu and Utiku.

Kenny said he had heard Ngamatapouri had "hunted down a few" players to join them for the tournament, which for the team from South Taranaki bee country usually means some serious imported talent.

Stalwart Timoci Seruwalu was able to make a comeback off the bench with his broken hand for Wanganui in their Meads Cup victory over Horowhenua Kapiti a fortnight ago, while Samu Kubunavanua scored a try before coming off following a head knock.

After three games each, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals, which will be followed by a playoffs for third and fourth in pool, and then the grand final.

As well as the men's competition, Marton Park will also host the women's provincial invitational for a second year.

Four teams will face each other in one pool - down from the seven teams in two pools last year as Horowhenua Kapiti and Taranaki are not sending teams, while Wellington will have one squad instead of the two from 2016.

The Wellington and Hawke's Bay teams are likely to decide the title, although Manawatu are the defending champions.

The Wanganui team is coached by development officer Lesley McKenzie.

Both fields at Marton Park will be used for games, with the women's final starting at 1.40pm and the men at 2pm.

Action starts at 10am.

The teams are

Men's Club Pool A: Ngamatapouri, Pirates, Kaierau A, Marton.

Men's Club Pool B: Taihape, Border, Ratana, Kaierau B.

Women's Provincial: Wellington, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Wanganui.


Field 1 - 10am: Pirates v Marton; 10.20am: Ngamatapouri v Kaierau A; 10.40am: Wellington v Hawkes Bay; 11am: Taihape v Kaierau B; 11.20am: Border v Ratana; 11.40am: Hawkes Bay v Wanganui; 12pm: Ngamatapouri v Pirates; 12.20pm: Kaierau A v Marton; 12.40pm: Hawkes Bay v Manawatu; 1pm: Semifinal (1st Pool A v 2nd Pool B); 1.20pm: Playoff (3rd Pool A v 3rd Pool B); 1.40pm: Women's final; 2pm: Men's final.

Field 2 - 10am: Border v Kaierau B; 10.20am: Taihape v Ratana; 10.40am: Manawatu v Wanganui; 11am: Ngamatapouri v Marton; 11.20am: Pirates v Kaierau A; 11.40am: Manawatu v Wellington; 12pm: Taihape v Border; 12.20pm: Ratana v Kaierau B; 12.40pm: Wellington v Wanganui; 1pm: Semifinal (1st Pool B v 2nd Pool A); 1.20pm: Playoff (4th Pool A v 4th Pool B).