Running riot with Rio in mind

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 06/11/2012

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The impact of the rugby sevens' inclusion at the Olympics was not lost on the Nelson College sevens team, as they completed what amounted to an series of opposed training runs at Trafalgar Park on Sunday.

Nelson College won the college sevens tournament to book a place in the national finals in December, where selectors are on the lookout for future Olympians.

Only four teams entered the Tasman secondary schools sevens competition, and two of them were from Nelson College.

Both sides from rugby's traditional power base in the region made the final, but the two-tone blue hoops of the top team, took it out 79-0.

The other two teams, an under-strength Waimea College and a valiant Golden Bay High School team, put in a top effort just to get a team in place when many others pulled out. The 17-all draw between these two teams was the most entertaining game of the day.

Golden Bay also gave Nelson College 2 a tough match, even though the 26-5 result was never in doubt, while the pool game between the Nelson College sides went to the top team, 34-0.

All of the other results were walkovers. Nelson College's top team did not have their line crossed once, winning all four of their games by an average margin of 62-0.

While Nelson College sevens coach Phil Ave said he was happy with the defensive determination of his side, he conceded a series of routs was not the greatest preparation for a national tournament.

"It becomes an exercise in trying to sort out what you are doing, rather than worrying about what the opposition are doing.

"It would have been nice to have more schools here, and hopefully next year they will front. It would be good if the other Press Cup schools got along here.

"The defence was positive for us, but they have been working a lot harder than the other teams and they have played a bit of sevens."

As well as wining the Tasman college crown, the Nelson College team will now be flown to Auckland to take part in the national secondary school Condor Sevens finals on December 2.

Nelson is hoping for another good result after placing second last year.

At the national tournament, a team will be selected to train alongside the New Zealand sevens squad, under national coach Gordon Tietjens.

Ave said, with hard work, this would be a chance to stake future claims, as most of these players will be in their early 20s when a sevens is welcomed into the Olympics in 2016.

"It will be a tough tournament this year with the Olympics coming; people will be putting their hands up.

"It is a big target for our top few guys, to go up there and get into that tournament team.

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"It is no secret, we have been told they will be looking for players, playmakers especially, and they are looking for them out of school grade, not senior grade, for the New Zealand men's.

With exams over the next weeks Ave said discipline and time management were required to keep up with personal training.

The team was looking to hook up with the Tasman senior sevens teams for a couple of trainings before they leave.

- The Nelson Mail

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