Sevens invasion

Waihi under-13 player Lachie Harper is tackled by Taieri Blue player Jacob Day during last year's Taieri Sevens. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Waihi under-13 player Lachie Harper is tackled by Taieri Blue player Jacob Day during last year's Taieri Sevens. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
High-powered referees will be in action at the Taieri Sevens on Sunday as several Highlanders and a lot of Eels take the whistles.

The semifinals and finals will be controlled by Otago Rugby Union regular referees.

About 1000 players are expected to play in the 53rd annual Taieri Sevens competition at Peter Johnstone Park on Sunday.

''Last year, we had 93 10-player squads and we are expecting to have at least the same this year,'' member of the Taieri club's organising committee Vince Horsewood told the Taieri Times.

This includes teams from the country districts in Otago from Queenstown and Wanaka to South Otago.

There are seven age groups - from 7 to 13 - and about 160 games will be played. Play starts at 10am and ends at 2.30pm with the presentations.

Each team gets at least three round-robin games. The leading teams then go into a semifinal and final in each age group.

Round-robin games have seven-minute spells and there are 10-minute spells for the semifinals and finals.

Horsewood explained why the tournament had been so successful and lasted such a long time.

''It is the only sevens tournament held for kids around Dunedin,'' he said.

''We do it for the younger kids and I think this is why it is so popular.''

The tournament is not only about playing rugby but also about eating.

The organisers expect 600 pies to be consumed, 300 patties and even more sausages.

''The sausages are the most popular,'' Horsewood said.

''More of them are consumed than anything else.''

There are big support crews with all the teams.

Add on parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and there will be about 1500 adults on the sidelines watching the games.

The Taieri club has the biggest and most successful children's club in Otago and has 19 teams competing in this year's schoolboy Metropolitan competitions.

''We have 275 players in junior rugby in the club,'' Horsewood said.

Planning for this year's event started six weeks out for the 12-strong committee.

Work begins at 6.30am on the day, when marquees and barbecues are set up.

''We make the call by 7.30am if the tournament is to be called off and delayed until the reserve day, on Monday,'' Horsewood said.

 


Stocking up
Feeding hungry sevens players:

• 600 pies.

• 300 patties.

• Untold more sausages.