Haugh brothers to take playmaking roles

It will be tough work for the Otago and Southland men's teams at the regional qualifiers in Timaru tomorrow.

With North Otago not fielding a team, the tournament will now take the shape of a straight round robin with six teams competing for the five qualifying spots available to go through to the national tournament in Tauranga in two weeks.

When there were seven teams, the tournament was spilt into pools and then went to semifinals and a final to find the top side.

But the pools are gone and every game will now count rather than a team being able to peak for the finals at the end of the day.

Otago coach Roy Hawker has fielded a solid all-round side with the likes of Ben Miller, Charles Elton and Josh Casey sure to be keys.

Mackenzie and Taylor Haugh have both made the team and Hawker said the brothers were looking forward to playing together.

They had good speed, good hands and were quick on their feet. The duo would take up playmaking roles and look to create space for others.

Taylor, the younger of the pair, was picked in a national sevens development side earlier this month that played in Fiji.

Hawker said Otago had gone away from having a big, physical side and was working on getting clarity into its game. It had a good understanding of what it had to do and the players were looking forward to playing together.

Its first game is against Canterbury followed by Southland, South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and Tasman.

Five games in one day was tough and endurance and fitness would be important, Hawker said.

The side will be captained by veteran Kori Rupene although he will start most games on the bench and Ben Miller will captain the team at the start of the game.

The side will be without winger Gavin Stark who is playing for an invitational team in Dubai. University first five-eighth Roman Blackman is out of the tournament because of injury.

Hawker said he had not heard anything about the availability of national sevens representative Vilimoni Koroi.

Koroi is not with the national side which is playing in Dubai this weekend. The national team includes Otago winger Jona Nareki.

Southland can look to skipper Lewis Ormond to guide its side as he has played sevens for the national side.

Aleki Morris and Tauasosi Tuimavave will also look to play their part.

The higher up a team finishes in Timaru tomorrow, the better ranking it gets for the national tournament.

 - Otago Boy's High School, St Peter's College, of Gore, and Southland Girls' High School will be the southern representatives at the national Condor sevens tournament in Auckland this weekend.


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