Sevens players will be looking to impress this weekend with National honours and professional contracts on the line at the Bayleys National Sevens tournament in Rotorua.
16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will compete in the two-day tournament which kicks off at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday 13 January.
All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw and Black Ferns Sevens coach Allan Bunting will be on hand with an eye to finalising their contracted squads for the year. Both teams are preparing for a busy 2018, which includes the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“Every year the National Sevens event uncovers brilliant new talented women and men and it’s an opportunity for players to represent their Unions and put their hands up for higher honours.
“It’s a massive year for sevens kicking off in Rotorua this weekend followed closely by the sell-out HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton in a few weeks’ time,” said New Zealand Rugby’s General Manager of Rugby, Neil Sorensen.
Pools and draw confirmed
Regional qualifying tournaments were completed in December across the country to confirm teams and seeding places.
In the men’s draw defending champions Counties Manukau is the top seed and leads a tough pool A that also features last year’s beaten finalists, Waikato.
Hosts Bay of Plenty are second seeds and top pool B, while central and southern region winners Wellington and Tasman top pool C. Manawatu are fourth seeds at the head of pool D.
On the women’s side of the draw, northern winner Waikato is seeded first and heads pool A, Manawatu tops pool B and Auckland leads pool C. Defending champions Counties Manukau join neighbours Auckland in pool C.
Organisers of the National Sevens are encouraging Bay of Plenty locals and summer visitors to take advantage of the chance to see some of the best sevens players in the country in action.
Bay of Plenty Rugby Chief Executive Mike Rogers said the Union is excited to host the Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua this weekend.
“We are looking forward to once again hosting this prestigious tournament and providing our local community with an abundance of quality rugby sevens action. The speed, skill and excitement of the sevens game, combined with provincial rivalries, ensures it’s a notable weekend for rugby fans. Plus the entertainment for kids means it is the perfect excuse for the whānau to be a part of.
“The Bayleys National Sevens is a fantastic event to be involved with and we are exceptionally grateful for the valuable support we receive from our partners, Bayleys, Rotorua Lakes Council and NZCT to ensure the tournament is a success,” said Rogers.
Key information: Bayleys National Sevens
Pool A: Counties Manukau, Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui
Pool B: Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Canterbury, Mid Canterbury
Pool C: Wellington, Tasman, Northland, Southland
Pool D: Manawatu, North Harbour, Hawke’s Bay, Otago
Pool A: Waikato, Canterbury, Otago, Poverty Bay
Pool B: Manawatu, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, North Harbour
Pool C: Auckland, Counties Manukau, Hawke’s Bay, Southland