After a dominant display last weekend, Hamilton Girls' High School rugby sevens team can lay claim to being the country's best.
In an ideal way to end their year, Hamilton GHS were crowned champions at the annual Condor Sevens tournament in Auckland, cruising to a convincing 34-5 triumph over New Plymouth Girls' High School in the cup final.
Head coach Crystal Kaua was ecstatic with her team's performance over the two-day tournament as they stormed through the pool stages then prevailed in the knockout games, where they defeated 2012 champions Feilding High School 20-10 in the semifinal to progress.
"They played really well throughout the whole weekend - I think we had 242 points for and 15 against over the six games so that was primo," Kaua said.
"That was the goal for the season for sevens was to win nats, they definitely brought it on the day."
With many in the squad having played in the Waikato provincial sides throughout the season, Kaua believed that had helped with preparation.
She also acknowledged the hard work put in by the coaching staff, which includes assistant coach and husband Brent, defensive coach Teresa Te Tamaki and trainer Zara Powell.
As a result of their great run, four of the side were recognised for their performances over the weekend with Ariana Hira-Herangi, Te Awatea Whitiora-Te Uira, Terina Te Tamaki and Tenika Willison named into the tournament team.
Kaua said the core group of the team will remain intact with only two members leaving this year as they attempt to defend their title in 2014.
She is determined to build on their success and hopes to enter a second team as well as an under-15 team to further develop the enormous amount of talent within the school in both versions of the game.
"I really want to develop the programme at Girls' High that promotes rugby," she said. "I think there is huge pathways now with the sport.
"Going forward I want to create opportunities for these girls to move forward in terms of the Waikato systems and New Zealand systems and ensuring they're getting the development they need at that school age which is vital so they can move forward."
Meanwhile, at least 10 players will be backing up again this weekend at the national secondary school touch tournament with some also turning out again for the Waikato women's sevens side as they attempt to qualify for nationals in January.
In the boys draw, St Peter's School had a solid weekend and were unfortunate to be edged out by Westlake Boys' High School in a thrilling bowl final.
The Cambridge school trailed in the dying stages before captain Jason Thomasen blitzed through to level the scores at 17-17 with a fine solo effort sending the game into overtime.
St Peter's were unable to hang on, conceding a try in extra time to narrowly miss out on the silverware.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Can the Chiefs make it three in a row in 2014?Related story: (See story)