Manawatu are National Sevens champions again
The Manawatu women's sevens team have claimed their fifth National Provincial Sevens title in seven years. A scoreless second half got the job for the Manawatu women with three players holding up a Waikato player to secure the win - their second title of the calendar year. Sarah Goss was deservingly awarded the Anna Richards medal for player of the tournament.
Manawatu came out hard early with a try in thr first minute to Selica Winiata after Sarah Goss made a turnover and Rebekah Codero-Tufuga made a break down the right wing, before feeding the ball inside to her captain. Minutes later Cordero-Tufuga looked to be on the way to a second try when she went down injury, eventually be taken from the field in a stretcher with a suspected broken leg.
Waikato, on the back of a handful of penalties, pushed back and Violet Hapi-Wise scored to give them a 7-5 leaad. But on the stroke of fulltime, Lauren Balsillie got her hands free in a tackle and offloaded to Goss who also managed to free the ball to a barnstorming Sam Tipene to give Manawatu a 12-7 lead at the break.
Manawatu looked to be the strongest side in the second half, but despite a number of half breaks from Goss and Balsillie, they coul not get over the line. Manawatu's dominant defence kept Waikato on the back foot. But Tipene was yellow card for a deliberate knock down during a scramble for the ball in Waikato's in-goal.
Balsillie looked to have scored the winner not long after, but the referee ruled she had been held in a tackle and penalised her for not releasing. Once again, Manawatu's defence was up to the task, holding the Waikato player up to lock in the win. The Manawatu men won the Shield final 14-7 over Northland.