Otago University will attempt to wrestle the Middlesex Cup
back to the South as the tournament goes upscale this
The Middlesex Cup, which was once the trophy played for among
clubs in New Zealand for supremacy in sevens, has been
largely confined to clubs in the South Island and Otago in
particular in recent years.
It was first played for in Dunedin in 1952 and, although
North Island clubs initially contested the event, it has been
won by South Island clubs for the past 34 years. It died out
for 10 years before being rejuvenated in 2006, when the
tournament was played in February in Dunedin as a prelude to
the club season.
The Burnham club won the tournament in 2011, and decided to
put the event on a much bigger scale. No tournament was
played last year.
The tradition is for the winning club to host the tournament
and Burnham has decided to turn the competition into a
national event. Games are to be played at the Burnham Army
Camp this Saturday.
The Burnham side is joined by club teams from Auckland,
Wellington, Tasman, West Coast, eight club sides from around
the Canterbury area as well as Otago University.
The tournament will have 16 teams and the winning side will
be invited to the Fiji Coral Coast sevens champion of
champions' tournament in November.
The Otago University side has been drawn in the same pool as
three Canterbury sides: Burnham, Marist-Albion and Lincoln
The University side is yet to be selected with the
availability of Otago sevens representatives Paul Grant and
Matt Faddes still unclear.
One of the tournament organisers, Nick Jordan, said it was
hoped with more promotion and sponsorship the event would
become truly national.
Many clubs from around the country were keen but the late
notice meant they could not afford to travel to Burnham.