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Tenacious Tasman take out Southern Regional Sevens for the first time

Tasman won the Southern Regional Sevens in Timaru for the first time with a gustsy 12-5 win over defending champions ...
STU PIDDINGTON/FAIRFAX NZ Tasman won the Southern Regional Sevens in Timaru for the first time with a gutsy 12-5 win over defending champions Otago, to take home the Tofa Shield.

Teancious Tasman proved a touch to good for defending champions Otago in the Southern Regional Sevens tournament in Timaru.

The Makos side won the final 12-5 in the low scoring encounter at Alpine Energy Stadium.

A strong westerly wind blew for most of the day but dropped away for the final, making near perfect conditions.

26112016 News John Bisset/FairfaxNZ. Rugby Sevens competitions at Alpine Energy Stadium South Canterbury vs Mid ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ News John Bisset/FairfaxNZ. Rugby Sevens competitions at Alpine Energy Stadium South Canterbury vs Mid Canterbury. Pictured is Mid Canterbury’s Setariki Koroitamana and SC’s Vatili Tora

Both sides largely cancelled each other out in the first half but Tasman’s Sam Chamberlain stepped into a gap and raced away to score with Andrew Knewstubb landing the conversion for a 7-0 halftime lead.

Early in the second half Otago’s Gavin Stark made a great run down the sideline to score and both sides had a chance.

A brilliant try from William Havill however sealed it for Tasman, when he ran from his own half and fended off two would-be tacklers to score.

Tasman's Risi Pouri-Lane on the way to scoring against South Canterbury, in their 29-0 victory.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ Tasman’s Risi Pouri-Lane on the way to scoring against South Canterbury, in their 29-0 victory.

Tasman then held on to the ball to squeeze Otago out and reacted with delight when the full time hooter sounded.

Tasman coach Sam Gibbens was delighted for his team.

“It is the first time we have won it, so I am very happy for the boys and proud of them.

Vatili Tora scores for South Canterbury at the Southern Regional Sevens depite Mid Canterbury's Oliver Sapsford's ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ Vatili Tora scores for South Canterbury at the Southern Regional Sevens depite Mid Canterbury’s Oliver Sapsford’s efforts to stop him.

“They have done a lot of hard work coming in.”

Gibbens said the key to the victory was retaining the ball and showing urgency at the break downs and kick offs.

“Otago have a lot of speedsters so we had to be careful.”

South Canterbury speedster Maxx Morris skirts around Mid Canterbury's Maleli Sau in their one-sided victory to seal a ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ South Canterbury speedster Maxx Morris skirts around Mid Canterbury’s Maleli Sau in their one-sided victory to seal a spot at the national sevens.

Gibbens credited the hard work of  playmaker Knewstubb and captain Trael Joass through out the day for the victory.

The tournament is a precursor to the national sevens in Rotorua in January and there were five mens qualifying spots up for grabs.

Canterbury, Heartland province South Canterbury and Southland grabbed the other three spots.

In the play-off for third Canterbury were too big and strong for minnows South Canterbury winning 45-5.

Southland squeezed past North Otago 10-5 for the final qualifying spot having missed out on the national tournment last time around.

In the semi-finals Otago and Canterbury fought out a nailer biter.

Otago were leading 14-12 until they lost Gavin Stark to the sin bin and Canterbury looked to have snatched the win with a late try to Jesse Lawson.

The southerners were not done however and kept the ball alive for two minutes after the final hooter and Stark went over in the corner to send the game into golden point extra time.

Liam Ward ended up being the match winning for Otago when he went through a gap and scored to take a 24-19 win.

In the other semi Tasman had too much class for South Canterbury cruising to a 31-0 win, with Tone Ng Shiu playing well and grabbing two tries.

Mid Canterbury and North Otago were the two teams to miss out on qualifying, while West Coast and Buller did not attend the tournment.

The women’s final saw Canterbury sneak past Tasman 14-12 in a tight contest.

A controversial off side call by the referee while Otago were in possession handed ball over and Canterbury scored from the possession.

Tasman completed a good day with their women’s side also qualifying for the nationals after a comprehensive victory over Southland 38-7.

 – Stuff


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