Rotorua Boys' High School and Rotorua Girls' High School have won the National Under-15 Condor Sevens titles at Sacred Heart College in Auckland today.
Both sides went through the tourney unbeaten and scored impressive victories built around torrid defence and blistering long-range attacks in the final.
Rotorua Girls' accounted for Aorere College 19-0 in the Girls decider and Rotorua Boys' thrashed Hamilton Boys' High School 24-0 in the male finale.
Rotorua Boys' was forced to defend for extended periods to foil Hamilton. Liam Wilson (twice) and Joshua Wilson were denied tries for Hamilton following last-ditch tackles by Rotorua defenders. Rotorua sealed the game in the second-half with two cracking tries from their own goalposts. Raw speed and perfectly timed passing saw Kalem Strickland and Manu Akauola cross the chalk. Earlier Tamaikoha Te Aute and Robert Mischewski had scored tries for Rotorua.
In the girls final Kahlia Kiel (tournament MVP) scored twice in the first half while Te Aomihi Williams-Paul added a try and a majestic sideline conversion to consign Aorere to second. Aorere was a large and dynamic team and Mele Anitoni, Ana Mamea and Melvina Weilert stood out in their charge to the final.
Rotorua Boys only conceded two tries in the whole tourney. Mischewski scored a brilliant hat-trick in the quarter final against Francis Douglas and Te Aute and tournament MVP Kahlil Adworth-Bidois sparkled with their speed and ingenuity.
By contrast Hamilton battled for their silver medal. In pool play they were held to a 14-14 draw against King's College. In a gripping contest, Hamilton twice rallied from deficits to earn a share of the honours. Wilson scored an 85-meter try dashing blindside from a scrum.
In the semi-finals Hamilton scrapped past De La Salle College 10-5. De La Salle incurred two yellow cards for ill-discipline and were largely the architects of their own demise. Earlier De La Salle looked formidable. Players to stand tall for De La Salle included Etuale Lui, Ioane Moananu and Fangupo Lavaka. Luka Den Hertog and Wilson were Hamilton's semi-final try scorers.
King's was a mystery. They played some very fine rugby against Hamilton with Sean Robertson scoring a try from a volley kick and gather, but they were thrashed by a mostly underwhelming Mount Albert Grammar School side 44-19 to miss the quarter finals. In the bowl final Mitchell Irwin bagged a hat-trick in an easy win.
Defending Champions Howick College appeared to be the initial pace-setters in the girls section. Their support play was particularly outstanding as they stormed into the semi-finals, only to come unstuck against Rotorua. In a highly entertaining affair a try to Tayla Stone was the difference. Stone bounced several times like a yoyo to muscle over the line. Howick's best included, Teuila Sotutu, Su Elyese Ulugia and Jayden Ngatuere.
Aorere won through to the final with a brutal 10-0 win against Tauranga Girls. Melvina Weilert scored both tries.
Joshua Maoate from Palmerston North Boys' High School had the honour of scoring the first try of the day. Only one red card was dished out for an accidental high tackle. There was no Wellington or South Island presence, but a few Super Rugby scouts and a pro Kabaddi coach about. This fine tournament will only get bigger.
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