Auckland wins national sevens tournament

Auckland wins national sevens tournament

AUCKLAND WON its 11th national sevens title, beating Otago 36-24 in the final in Queenstown yesterday.

The Wayne Pivac-coached side – who lost to Manawatu and needed to come from behind to beat Hawke’s Bay on the opening day – overcame Taranaki and Waikato earlier on day two of the tournament to reach the decider.

A young Auckland outfit then overcame a 17-12 halftime deficit in the final to claim the title.

Otago looked like the team to beat on day two, beating the previously unbeaten Manawatu in the quarter-finals and Canterbury in the semifinals.

Auckland, meanwhile, pipped Taranaki 17-12 in the quarters, before overcoming Waikato in extra time in the semis.

In the final, a try in the corner just before halftime by former New Zealand representative Paul Grant saw Otago take a five-point lead into the break.

However, second half tries to Tenina Sauileoge, Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Lam and Alex Samoa secured the win for Auckland.

Otago did not leave empty-handed, though, with Buxton Popoali’i being named the player of the tournament.

Cup results:

Quarter-finals
Otago 31-5 Manawatu
Canterbury 19-17 Wellington
Waikato 19-7 North Harbour
Auckland 17-12

Semifinals
Otago 31-0 Canterbury

Final
Auckland 36-24 Otago

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