Waikato, Counties Manukau take out National Sevens

By Te Ao - Māori News

Waikato are the new national men’s Sevens champions after a dominant final win over Auckland at the Tauranga Domain today. Earlier, Counties Manukau took out the women’s title in a tight encounter against Waikato.

The Counties women found themselves up 5-0 at halftime of their game and probably deserved more, but some committed Waikato defence and a string of handling errors meant that the solitary try was all they had to show for in what was a lung-busting test after a full two days of play.

Waikato hit back through Montessa Tairakena with a well taken try just after the break, which went unconverted and tied the game up.

However, with two minutes to go, a Hanna Brough try under the posts gave Counties the final decisive score that gave them a 12-5 victory.

In the men’s final, former All Blacks Sevens rep Declan O’Donnell bulldozed his way to the line after a couple of minutes to give Waikato a 7-0 lead.

Jordan Bunce doubled the lead for Waikato soon after, before Luke Masirewa crossed just before halftime.

By now, Auckland had barely touched the ball, and had their first attacking opportunity off the last play of that half when Waikato’s kick off failed to go 10 metres. However, they were just wishing it had gone out when Synarvat Syriawat scooped up a loose ball and ran it back the other way to make the score a commanding 24-0.

Carlos Donnell-Brown finally got Auckland on the board with a well-taken try in the second half, but it was always going to be a tough ask for them to haul back Waikato’s lead.

While they dominated possession for the rest of the game, Waikato’s defence held strong to maintain the lead, and Josh Young crossed for one more try on the hooter to make the final score 31-5.

In other men’s results, Tasman won the Plate final over Hawkes Bay by 33-19 and Counties Manukau took out the Bowl final with a 24-19 win over Otago. Manuwatu won the Shield final 26-14 over South Canterbury.