Two new champions have been anointed at the fifth annual Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament in Palmerston North today. First time entrants and Condor 7s champions Hamilton Girls’ High School captured the Cup in the female section while Feilding High School overcame Scots College, Wellington in a tough open boys decider.
Hamilton Girls’ made an electric start in the girls finale against Manukura scoring three tries in as many minutes. Montessa Tairakena and Jazmin Hotham employed their searing pace to outflank the Manukura defence and then the former poached an intercept and dashed 40-metres as Hamilton surged ahead 21-0. Both Tairakena and Hotham were tournament team selections and Hamilton scored their third try after being reduced to six players due to a yellow card.
Manukura played with admirable spirit throughout and courageously scored two tries before halftime to reduce the deficit to seven. Isabella Rewiri-Wharerau muscled through traffic to put Manukura on the board before Lucy Brown skipped clear after a frantic lead up saw play stretched to both touchlines.
Manukura were made to pay for inaccuracy and a quick tap by Calista Wihone extended Hamilton’s advantage to 26-14. Lonita Ngalu and Lela Ieremia extended the final margain to 36-14 in favour of Hamilton.
The boys decider was won by Feilding High School 22-10 over Scots College. The imposing Ethan Webster-Nonu pushed and sprinted his way to the line for the first try. Feilding rallied and Hurricanes U18 rep Josiah Maraku profited from a penalty tap.
Drew Wild was possibly the player of the tourney. Resolute on defence he was the creative catalyst for Fielding on attack and when he put Moape Rokosuka in the clear, Fielding enjoyed a hard-earned edge at the break.
Wild scored first in the second half and when Layton Manuel completed an angled burst to the line, Scots future resistance proved to be a case of too little, too late. Iassc Sailo scored the last try doing just enough to foils Wild’s defence hustle.
There was also an U15 boys and intermediate competition staged. The U15 final was won by Palmerston North Boys’ High School. Against Napier Boys’ High School. Curtis Heaphy scored three tries, each from past halfway, in Palmerston North’s triumph.
Girls: Manukura: 21 v Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth: 19
Girls: Hamilton Girls' High School: 39 v Tauranga Girls' College: 0
Boys: Scots College: 29 v Palmerston North Boys' High School: 5
Boys: Feilding High School: 22 v St. Paul's Collegiate: 12
Just a few inches decided the first female semi-final between Manukura and Sacred Heart. Ahead 19-14 with only seconds remaining Sacred Heart fumbled a kick inside their 22 and Lucy Brown snaffled the loose ball for Manukura and wrestled over in the grasp of two defenders. Brown then composed herself and slotted the conversion to complete a dramatic 21-19 win.
Manukura started strongly by scoring the first try, but Sacred Heart quickly arrested the momentum and tries to Alix Blyde and RongomIhenga Waerea-Hohaia saw the Taranaki side ahead at the interval. Carys Dallinger scored a runaway try from halfway to draw Manukura closer, but Danielle Muggeridge galloped away for Sacred Heart to bring her side within a whisker of victory until a last blemish proved cruelly costly.
Hamilton made light work of Tauranga Girls' College winning 39-0. Hamilton scored seven tries and kicked two conversions in their routine victory. Lontia Ngalu was rampant from the outset scoring the first two tries, including a massive fend in the face on a would-be Tauranga defender prior to competing her second. Calista Wihone (2), Tairakena and Hotham were among the other Hamilton try scorers.
Scots made a fast start to consign hosts Palmerston North Boys' High School to the third place playoff. Scots superior speed and intensity saw Roderick Solo, Sage Shaw-Tait and Emparama Sailo cross the chalk in the first-half as Scots built an unassailable lead. Scots first two tries were scored from deep inside their own half.
Darel Lander dotted down for Palmerston North on the halftime hooter, but Scots controlled the second spell with the busy Webster-Nonu having the last say.
Feilding High School eliminated defending champions St. Paul's Collegiate in a gripping tussle. Drew Wild was inspirational in Feilding's victory scoring the opening five-pointer and making a try saving tackle on the much larger Valynce Crosby-Te Whare which was pivotal in turning the pendulum Feilding's way.
Tino Tahitua levelled the scores for St. Paul's, but after the Wild stop Feilding scored a cracking try to gain a lead they never lost. Paul Rakatau-Wiperi was frequently illusive for Feilding and was rewarded with the last try, impressively slipping his marker with swift footwork.
The results of the Open Boys cup quarter-finals were:
Scots College: 31 v Hato Paora College: 5
Feilding High School: 21 v Napier Boys' High School: 0
Palmerston North Boys' High School: 17 Manukura:12
St Paul's Collegiate: 45 v Northland College: 0
There were standout performances in the quarter-finals by Drew Wild who scored two long range tries for Feilding and big Eparama Sailo who bagged a hat-trick for Scots against Hato Paora.
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