Youth stand out in sevens

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 29/10/2012
Sevens
DAVID UNWIN/ Fairfax NZ
James Dunlop and Michael Gattche push forward in their match for Feilding Old Boys vs Marist.

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Manawatu sevens coach Paul Claridge will be injecting youth into his squad this season following the Manawatu club tournament at Massey University on Saturday.

He will introduce a few schoolboys to get them accustomed to the team culture and experience of being in the representative squad.

"The big thing for me was all the enthusiasm of the young teams," Claridge said.

"I was impressed with the way that they all played."

Palmerston North Boys' High School players Jamie Booth and Andrew McDougall will be part of the squad, as well as three Tu Toa players - Manawatu under-20s wing Maleli Sau, Piki Te Ora Rogers and Cruze Pene.

Manawatu Turbos George Tilsley and Willie Paia'aua were a couple who impressed on Saturday and the two speedsters should be key figures in Claridge's plans this season.

Claridge was happy with what he had seen from the guys who had been training with him so far this season and the ones he expected to stand up had done so.

A few Turbos were on show in the hot conditions with Tilsley, Paia'aua, Fraser Stone, Bryn Templeman and Lewis Marshall in action.

Kia Toa five-eighth Jade Te Rure was Claridge's player of the tournament as he led the double blues to the title, while Massey University's Troy Stevenson will be part of the squad.

Varsity and Manawatu fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder has been training with the sevens team while both Karl Bryson and Craig Clare will join the team when they get back from playing in Malaysia.

This year they have the Central regional tournament in December before the North Island tournament in the New Year.

The national sevens will again be held in Queenstown late in January.

Claridge, in his 13th season as coach, was also looking to organise training games in tournament style next month.

Fitness-wise, Claridge's demands are the same as the national team's.

He said all the players should be up to that standard.

On Saturday Kia Toa White beat College Old Boys 43-5 in the senior final.

Kia Toa had to do it tough in the semifinal against Feilding Old Boys-Oroua before winning 47-12.

COB beat Freyberg blue 22-17 in the other semifinal.

In the colts grade, Tu Toa and Palmerston North Boys' High School played out a tense final.

Boys' High led 19-17 with only a few minutes remaining before scoring at the death to seal it 24-17.

Tu Toa beat Old Boys-Marist 24-12 in the semifinal while Boys' High beat Massey White in the other.

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- Manawatu Standard

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