Saturday, January 13, 2018
Day One of the Bayleys National Sevens entertained as promised with plenty of side steps, tries and surprise results.
Defending men’s champions Counties Manukau, playing in a pool of death, will not get a chance to defend their title on Day Two after losses to Waikato and Taranaki.
Nothing could separate northern champions Waikato and Taranaki when they met early in the day, battling for a 12 all draw. Waikato will go through as top qualifier in Pool A courtesy of a superior points difference.
They both face tough challenges in the quarterfinals, up against Auckland and Bay of Plenty respectively.
The home team, Bay of Plenty, looked strong on Day One, averaging 28 points a match – the most of any of the men’s teams. Auckland also go through from Pool B, their only loss against the Bay of Plenty men.
Bolstered by the inclusion of All Blacks Sevens players Tone Ng Shiu and Trael Joass, Tasman topped Pool C. The Mako men came into Nationals as the southern region champions and a 22-7 win over central winners Wellington secures a quarterfinal match up against Manawatu.
North Harbour were the dominant team in Pool D with three wins from three. Manawatu kept their hopes alive for Day Two glory, while finishing on equal points with Hawke’s Bay and Otago their point difference was the better of the three.
In the women’s competition the seedings played out as per the script with Waikato, Manawatu and Auckland all topping their pools.
Manawatu were forced to work for it though, losing their last pool match 12-19 to Bay of Plenty. The home team earlier suffered a shock loss to Wellington, the women from the Capital qualifying for the quarterfinals as best third-place team.
Defending champions Counties Manukau recorded two big wins before falling 38-5 to Auckland. Both teams go through to the quarterfinals, with Auckland no doubt having a target on their back with the best attack and defensive records on Day One.
Quaterfinals kick off tomorrow from 10.05am, broadcast live on SKY Sports.
See full results and Day Two fixtures here