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Seven in a row for Manawatu women

The Manawatu Women’s Sevens team claimed the Central Region Sevens title for the seventh consecutive year in Levin on Saturday.

The team, who will now turn their focus to defending their national title, beat Wellington 22-10 in the final.

It capped off an unbeaten day in impressive fashion, but still left coach Mike Pettman with plenty of work-ons to tidy up for Nationals.

Manawatu opened the day beating Wellington 22-12 in pool play before getting over some messy phases of play to beat Hawke’s Bay 24-12.

They rounded out the pool with a comprehensive 48-0 win over Taranaki to qualify for the final in first where they dealt to their rivals from the capital in their best performance of the day.

Lauren Balsillie and Crystal Mayes were two of the standouts for Manawatu while Rebekah Tufuga added plenty of power on the wing.

Selica Winiata was classy as ever and was a constant threat.

The side now face a busy two weeks preparing for Nationals.

There will be strong competition for places with New Zealand captain Sarah Goss expected to be available along with members of the Manukura Sevens team, who made it to the semi-finals of the Condor National semi-finals on the weekend.

The Manawatu men finished third at the central region tournament, which ensures they qualify for the national tournament.

The side promised plenty with Te Rangatira Waitokia, Brice Henderson, Tobias Wickham-Manuel and James Tofa all showing flashes of their potential.

Manawatu started the day with a narrow 24-17 win over Horowhenua-Kapiti before they beat Wairarapa Bush 36-21.

The side fell to Taranaki 14-7 in the final pool match which saw them face eventual champions Wellington in the semi-final with the team falling 24-5.