The 2016 National Club Sevens tournament will be played in the Hutt Valley.
Wainuiomata to be precise, after they defeated rivals Hutt Old Boys Marist 24-7 in the Cup final of the New Zealand Club Sevens Championship in Tauranga this evening.
Reversing defeats in last winter’s Jubilee Cup Wellington fifteens rugby final and November’s American Ambassador’s Wellington club Sevens championship final, Wainuiomata scampered out to a 19-0 lead by halftime.
Both teams scored a try apiece after the interval as Wainuiomata held on to win.
Wainuiomata won the Middlesex County Wavell Wakefield Cup, becoming just the second Wellington club after Petone in 1973 to win this title.
After losing to defending champions and host club Rangataua 26-19 in their one and only pool match of the morning, Wainuiomata dug deep to beat Waikato champions Hamilton Marist 14-7 in their Cup quarterfinal.
They then smoked Auckland champions the Manukau Rovers 27-0 in their Cup semi-final.
On the other side of the draw, Hutt Old Boys Marist had ensured an all-Wellington clubs Cup final by beating the third Wellington club at the tournament and last year’s beaten semi-finalists, the Upper Hutt Rams, 12-7. There was nothing in this Cup semi-final, with Ope Peleseuma scoring the winning try in extra time.
HOBM had edged out Mt Maunganui 17-12 in their Cup quarterfinal
The Upper Hutt Rams enjoyed the tournament’s biggest win of the day, beating Auckland runners-up Ponsonby 43-0. The Rams then went down to Hamilton Marist 26-5 in their other pool game.
Both Wainuiomata and Rangataua played one fewer pool games than the other teams (against each other) owing to Palmerston North club Kia Toa being a late withdrawal with their coach suffering a heart attack.
2015 champions Wainuiomata were led by player-coach and Samoans Seven legend Uale Mai, with Steven Crilly the assistant coach and Nick Domonkos the manager.
Crilly said this win was a real team effort and is the culmination of a lot of hard work and twice weekly trainings since October.
“All the guys stepped up for us today, there was no one individual that stood out,” he said.
“In both the semi-final and final wins we controlled the pace of the game and were able to take our chances to score our tries and defend really well and run the opposition out of options, which won both these two games.”
Crilly said calm heads prevailed following Wainuiomata’s opening loss to Rangataua.
“We only lost that game four tries to three. Most of their tries were off our silly errors and the ones we scored we constructed ourselves – it was just one of those jittery first-up games.
“Then beating Hamilton Marist in the quarter-final was a big result for us. They were a star-studded side. We won that 14-7, but it should’ve been 14-0 after we let in a try at the end.”
On behalf of the Wellington teams, Crilly also thanked host club Rangataua for a well-run tournament.
The Wainuiomata squad that played throughout the day was: Greg Lealofi (captain), Marvin Karawana, John Monu, Eden Monu, Matty Jacobs, Uale Mai, Erich Tuisila, Dion Lealofi, Tau Mamea, Friedrich Keil, Teru Time, Bevan Clark
Ardmore Marist 10 – 07 Mt Maunganui
Hutt Old Boys Marist 19 – 14 Te Puna
Hamilton Marist 10 – 07 Ponsonby
Ardmore Marist 19 – 12 Awanui
Hutt Old Boys Marist 12 – 05 Manukau Rovers
Upper Hutt Rams 43 – 00 Ponsonby
Rangataua 26 – 19 Wainuiomata
Mt Maunganui 19 – 17 Awanui
Manukau Rovers 17 – 14 Te Puna
Hamilton Marist 26 – 05 Upper Hutt Rams
Cup quarterfinal: Hutt Old Boys Marist 17 – 12 Mt Maunganui
Cup quarterfinal: Upper Hutt Rams 24 – 19 Rangataua
Cup quarterfinal: Wainuiomata 14 – 07 Hamilton Marist
Cup quarterfinal: Manukau Rovers 17 – 14 Ardmore Marist
Bowl Semi-final: Te Puna 24 – 22 Awanui
Plate semi-final: Rangataua 34 – 05 Mt Maunganui
Plate semi-final: Hamilton Marist 26 – 19 Ardmore Marist
Cup semi-final: Hutt Old Boys Marist 12 – 07 Upper Hutt Rams
Cup semi-final: Wainuiomata 27 – 00 Manukau Rovers
Bowl final: Ponsonby 33 – 15 Te Puna
Plate final: Rangataua 24 – 10 Hamilton Marist
Cup final: Wainuiomata 24 – 07 Hutt Old Boys Marist