Waikato suffer surprise losses at national sevens
Waikato were the major casualties on day one of the national sevens finals in Queenstown today.
Winners of the northern regional qualifying tournament and runners-up at the Bay of Plenty invitational last weekend, the Roger Randle-coached side suffered a surprise loss to Northland in their opening game and then suffered an even more surprising loss to an unheralded Southland team in their next game.
That killed any chance they had of making tomorrow's quarter-finals in a tournament they have won five times since 1976.
They took out their frustrations with a 45-10 thumping of Manawatu.
Bay of Plenty emerged unbeaten from pool D, with Taranaki also advancing to the top half of today's draw.
Southland, for the first time in this competition, will advance to the quarter-finals after finishing second behind Northland in Pool C.
Defending champion Auckland, chasing a third straight title in Queenstown, was unbeaten in Pool A, confirming their favouritism with a 38-10 win over fellow contenders Wellington in their final game of the day.
Otago was the other unbeaten team from day one with wins over Wairarapa Bush and North Harbour and a 19-all draw with Hawke's Bay in the final game of the day.
Meanwhile, tries by New Zealand sister act Chyna and Carla Hohepa helped Waikato to a 15-7 win over favourites Auckland as the women's competition made its debut on the Queenstown Recreation Ground.
The women play a round robin competition which continues today and is likely to end with Auckland and Waikato meeting again in the final.
Day one results:
Pool A: Wellington 26 Tasman 12; Auckland 21 South Canterbury 14; Wellington 36 South Canterbury 7; Auckland 36 Tasman 7; Tasman 34 South Canterbury 10; Auckland 40 Wellington 10.
Pool B: North Harbour 24 v Hawke's Bay 22; Otago 49 Wairarapa Bush 0; Hawke's Bay 40 Wairarapa Bush 5; Otago 21 North Harbour 19; North Harbour 38 Wairarapa Bush 10; Otago 19 Hawke's Bay 19.
Pool C: Southland 12 Manawatu 5; Northland 17 Waikato 7; Manawatu 20 Northland 15; Southland 31 Waikato 21; Northland 26 Southland 12; Waikato 45 Manawatu 10.
Pool D: Taranaki 15 Counties Manukau 10; Bay of Plenty 17 Canterbury 14; Bay of Plenty 19 Taranaki 15; Counties Manukau 17 Canterbury 15; Bay of Plenty 19 Counties Manukau 12; Taranaki 31 Canterbury 10.
Women: Auckland 31 Tasman 0; Manawatu 21 Taranaki 12; Waikato 26 Canterbury 19; Waikato 29 Tasman 0; Manawatu 22 Canterbury 7; Waikato 15 Auckland 7; Canterbury 24 Taranaki 12; Manawatu 43 Tasman 0.
What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?