Feilding favourites for finals

Feilding High School's amazing sevens girls head to the national Condor sevens finals not having lost in two years.

Even if they take their eyes off the ball at Kelston Boys' High School on Sunday, they should still prevail.

They were unbeaten in the national XVs competition too and have won every sevens tournament, 40 games alone this year.

The only time they haven't won was at the South Island sevens in Oamaru when coach Rob Jones split the teams and the Feilding sides met in the final, drawing 12-all.

At the North Island Sevens at Tauranga, Feilding whipped another Condor finalist, Wainuiomata College, 54-5.

And to qualify for Auckland, Feilding thumped Paraparaumu College 81-0 in the Manawatu final.

But Jones warns there are potential minefields in sevens, especially when playing six games in a day.

"With so much space it can be game on for everyone," he said.

"We're also a bit like Manchester United - they all want to beat us."

The Feilding girls have had only two weeks off since winning the top-four XVs final over Auckland Girls' Grammar School on September 8.

They have also trained with the Manawatu women's squad with international players like Selica Winiata, Sarah Goss and Shakira Baker.

"If the girls can learn to defend against a couple of Black Ferns, it is going to do us a lot of good," Jones said.

Feilding also have drop-kicker extraordinaire Hayley Hutana who is in the New Zealand silver sevens squad. She turns 17 next month and will be one of only four of the sevens squad back at school next year.

"We have players coming through and we are targeting intermediate schools," Jones said.

German exchange student Mette Zimmat is now in the German sevens academy and Rebecca Swainson has a chance of a rugby scholarship to Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Palmerston North Boys' High School are making a rare appearance at the Condor Sevens under coach John Kendal.

His four key players are from the school's First XV and the rest are from the Second XV and young players.

The team is built around NZ Schools halfback Jamie Booth and Andrew McDougall. They too have been unbeaten this year, their only blemish a draw against Condor qualifiers Francis Douglas Memorial College at the Taranaki sevens which Boys' High won.

They qualified back in term one when they beat Tu Toa in the Manawatu final, and repeated that at the recent club sevens at Massey University.

Boys' High have a hellish draw against Christchurch Boys' High School, Wesley College and host team Kelston.

"We have said to the boys, 'some people are calling it a pool of death and if we're not good enough to progress from pool play, we're not good enough'," Kendal said.

"The boys are up to it."

Six of the players will be returning to school next year.

Feilding HS team: Deirdre Roberts (captain), Amy Cokayne, Zoe Whatarau, Cheyanna Wiperi-Graham, Hayley Hutana, Crystal Mayes, Georgia Martin, Taylor Haere, Rebecca Swainson, Jade Winter, Mette Zimmat, Georgia Marshall. Pool matches: v Lincoln HS (Canterbury), James Cook High School (Manurewa), Tamaki College (Auckland).

PNBHS team: 1. Andrew McDougall (captain), 2. Jamie Booth (vice captain), 3. Ben Crosier, 4. Jono Ihaka, 5. Ethan Woodmass, 6. Jordan Bunce, 7. Sam Fonua, 8. James Kellow, 9. Liam Scott, 10. Tom Hayes, 11. Tim Stone, 12. Grayson Tihema. Pool matches: Christchurch BHS, Wesley College, Kelston BHS.

The Manawatu Standard