Tough start to sevens
Southland's men's and women's teams have had a tough start to the national sevens tournament in Rotorua today.
The men's team struggled against the power of Auckland in their opening game, eventually going down 38-14 after trailing 19-5 at halftime.
A 31-12 win over Poverty Bay in the second round gave Southland a chance to qualify for the top half of the competition in tomorrow's finals, but that evaporated with a 31-7 loss to an unbeaten Wellington.
The women's side, making their debut at the national finals which are being staged in the North Island for the first time after a decade in Queenstown, were faced with a difficult pool and a demanding programme which included four games on the opening day.
The young, inexperienced Southland team looked to make a solid start against a powerful Auckland team, but couldn't match the physicality of their opponents, losing 32-nil.
A 24-7 loss to Otago provided a highlight for Southland with outstanding 17-year-old Courtney O'Callaghan scoring Southland's first try at the national finals.
Southland finished the day with 52-nil and 15-12 losses to Waikato and Wellington, respectively.