Southland gain spot in NZ sevens

The Southland men's sevens team has qualified for the national tournament in Queenstown in January.

To qualify Southland needed to finish in the top five at the South Island tournament in Timaru.

In their opening game of the tournament on Saturday they went down narrowly 17-15 to Tasman.

Tasman led 17-10 with time up on the clock before Keanu Kahukura scored to bring it to 17-15.

Scott Eade could have tied up the game with a successful conversion attempt but pushed it wide.

They had a convincing 28-12 win over South Canterbury in the second game and despite losing to Canterbury 17-12 in the next outing they still qualified for the semifinals.

In the semifinal against Canterbury the scores were locked up at 17-all at fulltime. The game went to golden point and it was Canterbury who grabbed the victory.

Canterbury ended up losing to Otago in the final.

Southland coach Elgan O'Donnell said he was pleased with the hitout, with the team improving in each game they played.

He said they were probably at 60 per cent where they needed to be in terms of fitness levels and said they would not be picking players if they were not fit enough.

He said the nationals in Queenstown would be a big step up from the standard of play in Timaru.

Meanwhile the Southland women's team showed some positive signs in Timaru but just missed qualifying for the nationals as only the top two teams went through.

In round-robin play Southland toppled Canterbury but when it came to the all-important semifinal it was Canterbury who this time won.

Canterbury progressed with Tasman to the nationals.

The Southland Times