The fourth annual Sir Gordon Tietjens sevens tournament was staged at the New Zealand Rugby Institute in Palmerston North this weekend. The event featured the anointing of a new boys champion, St. Paul's Collegiate and more success for Condor Sevens winners St. Mary's College, while home town school Palmerston North Boys’ High School annexed the U15 section.
St. Paul's Collegiate Wins For the First Time
In a replay of the 2016 final, St. Paul's Collegiate reversed their defeat to Tauranga Boys' College, prevailing 24-14. Tauranga started briskly when Connor McLeod scored the first try after a stylish reverse pass from head prefect Flynn Kelly.
A telling difference between the two sides was St. Paul's ability to win kick-off possession. Starved of the ball, Tauranga fell behind 19-7 when tries were scored by Liam Allen, Fergus Burke and Jock Yarndley.
Despite losing a player to the sin bin Tauranga rallied and a try to Taylor Kite reduced the deficit to 19-14.
Valynce TeWhare was one of the standouts all weekend for St. Paul's. The tall and powerful presence had the final say when he charged 40-metres for the winning try after collecting a deflected pass.
Earlier Tauranga enjoyed a resounding win against Palmerston North BHS in the semi-finals. Kelly scored three tries and Leroy Carter impressed with his creativity.
Palmerston North had made the semis at the expense of Scots College. In a sometime spiteful quarter final Captain Sam Stewart scored two twice for Palmerston North while Jaylen Tuapola scored a try with the last play for Scots, but the conversion from in front missed.
St. Paul's had no such dramas in a close 19-12 semi-final win over Condor runners-up Feilding High School. St. Paul's led for the entire match and a 65-metre runaway try by Luke Donaldson was a highlight.
St Mary’s win competitive Girls tournament
St. Mary's College successfully defended their title overcoming a determined Motueka High School 28-12 in the final. Risaleaana Pouri-Lane opened the scoring for Motueka from a penalty tap, but St. Mary's abrasive defence soon caused repeat Motueka spillages. Two tries from past halfway by Ainsleyana Puleiata put St. Mary's in command.
Ivana Samani scored the last two tries for St. Mary's after Sydnee Wilkins had threatened to spark a Motueka comeback with a solo effort of her own.
St. Mary's was otherwise untroubled in reaching the final. Motueka stunned Hamilton GHS in the other the semi-final. Motueka scored two quick tries and hung on grimly to their advantage. Pouri-Lane, Wilkins and Lyric Siaki were among the players who shined and crossed the chalk for Motueka.
Montessa Tairakena was outstanding for Hamilton GHS scoring a try after she bagged two in the quarter finals. Captain and Condors MVP Jazmin Hotham was shutdown effectively in the semi-finals, but still enjoyed a productive day scoring four tries in the quarter final.
Palmerston North BHS won for the title for the third time in four years edging Feilding High School 19-15 in an explosive decider. Feilding Captain Terrance Graham caught Palmerston North napping early when he scored a try from a quick tap.
Palmerston North soon gained the ascendency when Kalis Mason and Lafo Takiari-Ah Ching scored successive tries to make it 14-7.
Zane Brooks scampered away from a tighthead to close the gap to four, but a length of the field try to Tavita Henare-Schuster extended Palmerston North's lead to 19-10.
Feilding refused to surrender and when Graham completed his double the score was 19-15.
Reif Dawson had the chance to settle the contest for Palmerston North when he dribbled a loose ball all the way to the goal line, but fumbled without a defender in site.
Feilding threatened a breakout, but a thumping tackle forced a Feilding mistake.
Full tournament Results: CLICK HERE
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand