Tough task for Otago men’s, women’s teams

Both Otago teams are confident despite facing tough pools at this year’s national sevens tournament.

The tournament begins in Tauranga today, although both the men’s and women’s Otago teams will need to be on their game to feature in the top eight tomorrow.

With Canterbury and Waikato in their pool, the women have a huge task, although they should account for Poverty Bay.

Meanwhile, the men look to be in an even pool with Manawatu, North Harbour and Hawke’s Bay.

Men’s coach Kane Jury said the team had trained well and he was hopeful of a strong performance.

"The boys have been working pretty hard," he said.

"We had a really good session last Monday. That was our last session before selection.

"So they were all right into it and there was a bit of quality there.

"But the boys have all come back in pretty good shape and they’ve worked hard over that break time, so really happy with that."

He said the team would look to utilise the powerful runners in its forwards, to disorganise the defences.

Cutting down on errors was also key. It made eight against Canterbury at the regional tournament late last year.

It had "learnt some pretty harsh lessons" around ball retention the past couple of years at the national tournament.

Alongside its strong runners, the team also had some X-factor in Josh Buchan and Taylor Haugh coming into the team.

The side had not yet talked about its goal placing-wise, although Jury felt it was a top-eight quality team.

Meanwhile, the women were hoping to improve on last year’s top eight finish and break into the top six.

They had a huge task ahead of them to do that, facing two powers in Canterbury and Waikato.

However, co-coach David Latta said the team had trained well and would look to play to its strengths.

"We won’t be the biggest team up there, but hopefully we’ll have some intelligence and we’ll have some speed," he said.

"So that’s the way we’re going to play it — at pace, hopefully."

The team included local New Zealand development team player Sam Hollows, as well as Black Fern Angie Sisifa.

It had also picked up two Tasman players — Jess Drummond and Risi Pouri-Lane — both of whom are in the national development team as well.

Both had to go to the tournament, being with the national squad, but as Tasman did not qualify, they would bolster Otago.

 

National sevens tournament
Tauranga, today (finals tomorrow)

Otago Men

Draw: 12.05pm v Manawatu, 2.55pm v North Harbour, 5.15pm v Hawke’s Bay.

Team: Joketani Koroi, Ben Tuiomanufili, Mika Mafi, Ben Whale, Charles Elton, Ewan Brumwell, James Te Pairi, Taylor Haugh, Josh Buchan, Jerome Harimate, Layne Opetaia, Rory Ward.

Otago Women

Draw: 11.45am v Canterbury, 2.35pm v Waikato, 5.35pm v Poverty Bay.

Team: Sheree Hume, Kiana Wereta, Zoey Flockton, Julia Gorinski, Celine Timoko, Kilistina Moata’ane, Soraya Umaga-Jensen, Mikayla Latta, Sam Hollows, Angie Sisifa, Jess Drummond, Risi Pouri-Lane.

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