Rugby sevens players who were unlucky enough not to score
during the tournament had to do what is becoming a
traditional underwear streak to halfway. Photo by Olivia
For 10 years you have entertained us, thrilled us, left
us with sunburned shoulders and kept some of us out late at
night. This weekend, after 10 years, Queenstown will farewell
the National Rugby Sevens, which is heading to Rotorua. But
before the curtain comes down, Queenstown still has one more
weekend of fun.
Pool A: Auckland, Wellington, Tasman, South Canterbury
Pool B: Otago, Hawkes Bay, North Harbour, Wairarapa
Pool C: Waikato, Manawatu, Southland, Northland
Pool D: Canterbury, Taranaki, Counties-Manukau, Bay of Plenty
Everything is running in Otago's favour this year. The team
has more motivation than any other side to win the tournament
as it plays host for the last time for at least two years and
will seek redemption after bowing out just one short of
becoming 2012 champion.
The team will also be brimming with confidence after winning
last year's regional qualifying tournament in Timaru.
Boys in blue and gold to watch are New Zealand sevens squad
member Kieran Moffat, Dunedin club rugby standout Peter
Breen, captain Paul Grant and provincial newcomer and former
Wakatipu High School pupil Michael Collins. Last year's
player of the tournament, Buxton Popoali'i, will be sorely
Defending champion Auckland, sevens stalwart Waikato and the
ever-cool Canterbury will not fail to entertain and are
almost guaranteed to make the playoffs. Other contenders
include Hawkes Bay, North Harbour and, of course, Otago.
My pick, Waikato. The team has only three returning from last
year's side, but under coach Roger Randle won the hardest of
the three qualifying tournaments in the northern region and
will be looking to continue that form into tomorrow, with
several of its key players seeking national selection.
What better way to send off a great tournament than to get
women on to the playing field too? The addition of six
women's teams - Auckland, Tasman, Taranaki, Canterbury,
Waikato and Manawatu - has meant parts of the tournament will
be played in Arrowtown on Saturday and the tournament will
run a little later, to 6.30pm, on Sunday.
I watched the South Island qualifying tournament with much
interest and, as much as I hate to say it, Canterbury looks
For a full preview of the weekend's tournament, see today's
Otago Daily Times.