A slick Hawke's Bay team anchored by Ihaia West beat Taranaki 24-19 in the final to win the Central Region rugby sevens tournament in Palmerston North today.
West was the Magpies' lynchpin with his skill, footwork and speed.
Hawke's Bay went through unbeaten, beating Wellington 26-24 late in their semifinal as Taranaki downed Manawatu 28-15.
In the final Hawke's Bay virtually had the final won when they led 19-0 at halftime. They extended the lead to 24-5 before Taranaki responded with three consecutive tries, but it was too late against the likes of West, Trinity Spooner-Neera and Penikolo Latu.
Manawatu beat Wellington 10-7 in the playoff for third and fourth.
Poverty Bay was the fifth men's team to qualify for the nationals at Rotorua next month with a late try against Horowhenua-Kapiti to win 17-12.
The national champion Manawatu women's team beat Taranaki 40-14 in their final after their opponents had won their opening clash in the morning in strong winds and rain.
- © Fairfax NZ News