Counties Manukau 7s teams finish runners up in Whangamata

Counties Manukau 7s teams finish runners up in Whangamata

Counties Manukau have finished runners-up to Bay of Plenty in both the men’s and women’s competition at the Thames Valley Sevens tournament in Whangamata.

The Counties Manukau men enjoyed a strong tournament, winning all three of their pool games to advance to the semi-finals unbeaten.

Their wins included a 33-17 win over Bay of Plenty, a 29-12 victory over Thames Valley and a 31-5 pasting of Waikato.

Thames Valley proved no match for Jeremy Clark’s side in the semi-finals as they won that game 24-5.

But they went down to Bay of Plenty 24-17 in the final.

The Counties Manukau women lost their opening pool game 34-12 to Bay of Plenty but bounced back to beat both Thames Valley (53-0) and Waikato (27-10) to make the semi-finals.

They accounted for Thames Valley in the semi-finals – winning 31-5 – to advance to the decider.

Bay of Plenty proved too good in the final as they took a narrow 19-12 victory.

Women's coach Hazel Tubic was proud of the performance her team put out with it being a young side and nearly half never having played a game of sevens before. 

"The growth we showed as each game went on was amazing," said Tubic. "Not just in their ability to play but also their confidence and body language.

"I've never seen a team so committed to chasing down the opposition on a breakaway try, those plays were highlights of the day.

"The purpose of this programme is to develop depth in the women's programme here in Counties and already we have found some golden gems who are still at school so hopefully we will see them playing for the Heat in the coming years.

"Proud of our few experienced players who lead well which allowed Trinity Glassie and Ffion Penny to connect up in the middles, keeping the defence on their toes all day. The young Sariyah Paitai also showed great strength and speed down the sidelines dotting down for 10 tries in her debut tournament."

The teams will continue with the Counties Manukau Sevens at Navigation Homes Stadium next weekend.