Monday, January 16, 2017
Counties Manukau are national champions.
In a stunning double effort, Counties Manukau have been crowned with both the men's and women's championship titles at the 2017 Bayleys National Sevens at Rotorua International Stadium today.
It’s a back-to-back championship win for the men who held off a determined Waikato but in the end held on for a 14-7 win.
The Counties Manukau women won their first ever title beating defending title holders Manawatu 24-17.
The Women’s Cup Final was an intense encounter between the two sides who had strong form in the pool stages of the tournament. Counties Manukau struck early with points in the first half thanks to two tries from Portia Woodman and one from Renee Wickliffe. Counties Manukau led 19-0 at the break.
Woodman dotted down for her third try early in the second half before Manawatu started a come-back led by Sarah Goss and Kristina Sue who scored two tries. Desperation and ill-discipline seeped into the final minutes of the game, with both teams copping yellow cards – at one stage with Manawatu playing with six and Counties Manukau playing with five players.
The men’s Final was a close-fought battle with both teams heading into the half time with a try apiece for a 7-7 half time score.
Showing how close the teams were, Counties Manukau only managed to get ahead thanks to a converted try with two minutes on the clock.
The two-day National Sevens tournament was the season finale with a total 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams qualifying from regional tournaments held last year.