2017 Bayley’s National Sevens – Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
Our Horowhenua Kapiti Men’s Sevens team travelled to Rotorua on Friday for the 2017 Bayley’s National Sevens. Being only one of two Heartland teams in the Men’s competition, it was always going to be a tough challenge for our guys but they had plenty to play for with NZ selectors casting their eye over the tournament as well as the chance to topple Mitre 10 Cup Union’s Sevens teams.
Horowhenua Kapiti were… drawn alongside Wellington, Auckland and Otago in Pool D with our guys kicking off Day 1 against Central Region Champions, Wellington. The score ended up 31-7 to Wellington despite a strong showing from Horowhenua Kapiti in their first game of the tournament. Next up in a non-televised match was Auckland, who proved too strong coming out on top 40-12. The last match of Day 1 for Horowhenua Kapiti saw Otago take the win 29-12, with both Otago and Horowhenua Kapiti already in the Bowl Section heading into Day 2.
The draw didn’t get any easier for Horowhenua Kapiti on Day 2. In the Bowl Quarter-Final, Canterbury played a controlled game against Horowhenua Kapiti and the eventual Bowl finalists Canterbury barely let Horowhenua Kapiti into their half, winning 19-0, which meant Horowhenua Kapiti would now play off in the Shield Semi-Final v Southland. Horowhenua Kapiti went down in their last match of the tournament 17-12. With many of the Horowhenua Kapiti team attending their first National Sevens Tournament, our guys gained some valuable experience around Sevens rugby and what it takes to compete at the next level.
Congratulations to former Horowhenua Kapiti player Andrew Knewstubb (now playing for Tasman) who was named the Bayley’s National Sevens Player of Tournament, and with these performances has also been invited to attend the NZ7’s training camp in Rotorua this week. Stubby played for Horowhenua Kapiti in the 2014/2015 season, the last time Horowhenua Kapiti went to the National Sevens.