No-one could have predicted day one of the National Rugby
Sevens in Queenstown as two hot favourites bowed out of the
competition early and the minnows stood their ground.
Tomorrow Waikato and Canterbury will battle in a match that
means nothing for the championship, but plenty for the rugby
Canterbury lost all three of its pool D matches leaving New
Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens equally surprised on the
"There were a few upsets for sure, but that is a real credit
to the smaller unions putting in some real effort to this
"Canterbury were down to nine players at one stage and
unfortunately they're not in the championship tomorrow."
Tietjens was most impressed with the minnow squads such as
Northland, who began well by ruining Waikato's day 17-7
before losing to Manawatu 20-5 and beating Southland 26-12.
Other surprises were Southland's run to the playoffs through
beating Manawatu 12-5 and Waikato 31-21 before going down to
Tietjens said he was equally impressed with the southernmost
side and the way Otago had played in front of their home
"Otago always play well here...they play well as a team."
He said although Auckland's day had started slowly, the
scoreboard showed a well-trained side that will be tough to
Tietjens attributes the days upsets to "sevens rugby."
"Sometimes it's the way the ball bounces, a few rough calls
or a few injuries."
"That can put pressure on the favourites and work in the
favour of the sides playing against them."
From the South Island Otago looked sharp throughout day one
with strong campaigns coming from Matt Faddes, Kieran Moffat
and Gareth Evans who dominated at breakdown.
Faddes showed speed and determination both in close and out
wide and would have been sure to have turned the NZ coach's
Otago finished at the top of their pool B and will play an
underdone Wellington side tomorrow.
While they pipped Wairarapa Bush 49-0 and North Harbour
21-12, the home side was unlucky not to make it three from
three when Hawkes Bay were able to score in overtime to draw
Other teams to make day two's playoffs were Auckland, who
will face arch rivals North Harbour, the Bay of Plenty, who
will play Southland and Northland who will play an in form
Meanwhile, the introduction of the women to the national
tournament proved popular and Auckland look impressive at
this point after beating Tasman 31-0, Taranaki 54-0 before
losing it against Waikato 7-15.
A in order: Auckland, Wellington, Tasman, South Canterbury.
B: Otago, North Harbour, Hawke's Bay, Wairapa Bush.
C: Northland, Southland, Waikato, Manawatu.
D: Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Counties Manakau, Canterbury