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Sevens season just around the corner

Rugby never sleeps.

An exciting season of 15s rugby is drawing to a close around the playing fields of Wellington and the lower North Island, ushering in the 2019/20 sevens season.

There are several prominent college, club and representative Sevens tournaments to look forward to in Wellington and further afield between now and February, including the National club sevens tournament being hosted by the Northern United club in Porirua.

On the club scene, there are several tournaments coming up in Wellington and further afield this month and in November, January and February.

Local college Sevens is in full swing throughout October, leading up to the annual National Condor Sevens in Auckland in early December.

The sevens season starts next weekend at Rongotai College with the inaugural Fa’atonu Fili Sevens Classic tournament, hosted by Toki Services.

The Fa’atonu Fili invitational team will be joined by nine of Wellington’s club rugby sides in the 10-team tournament – Ories, HOBM, Petone, Johnsonville, Poneke, Norths, Tawa, OBU and Wellington.

This tournament leads in to the three WRFU events for the American Ambassador’s (AA) Trophy, which are scheduled to be played at Mary Crowther Park on 19 October, Onepoto Park on 2 November and Awakairangi Park on 9 November.

The AA series sees points awarded at each of the three tournaments and the winner with the most series points after the third leg awarded the winner.

It is the WRFU’s intention to also run a three-leg women’s series alongside the men’s, subject to entries. The women play for the Eleanor Roosevelt Trophy.

There will also be a one-off Colts grade tournament and a possible over 100kg tournament, which would be played in leg three in Upper Hutt.

The Central 7s returns on 30 November, a fortnight before the Sevens Nationals.

There is also the annual Piri Weepu Sevens tournament, hosted by the Wainuiomata RFC on 16 November. The Tawa Sevens is in abeyance this year whilst Lyndhurst Park is upgraded.

The Wellington representative men’s and women’s sevens squads open their campaign with the annual Counties Manukau Provincial Sevens on 16 November.

The following weekend, Wellington hosts its own provincial tournament, which is a final warm-up for the Central Region Qualifiers in Levin on 30 November. The National Provincial Sevens are in Tauranga in mid-December.

There are a number of school sevens tournaments starting on 19 October with three events in one day, the Hutt Cup Sevens and the U15 Sevens (both at Naenae College) and the Hurricanes Youth Council Sevens in Masterton.

The Wellington Condor Sevens qualifying tournament is on Monday 28 October (Labour Day) this year at Naenae College.

The leading two boys and girls teams from that event qualify for the NZSS Condor Sevens in Auckland on 1 and 2 December.

Heading into the new year, there are several club tournaments to follow, spread throughout the lower North Island, in places such as Waipukurau, Kimbolton and Shannon. Details of all these to follow.

The National club sevens spoils.

The big one is, of course, the National club sevens tournament in Porirua and scheduled for the weekend of 7 and 8 February.

This year’s tournament is hosted by Northern United, who won the coveted Middlesex Wavell Wakefield Cup at the start of this year in Auckland.

Host club Norths and at least one other Wellington club from the American Ambassador’s series will automatically gain entry to this event, with the possibility of one or more other local entries pending spaces being filled by invited clubs from around the country.

There also might be an inaugural women’s competition – to be confirmed.

Key Dates 2019-20 (all dates to be confirmed, more fixtures added as known and all dates to be confirmed:

5 October: Fa’atonu Fili Classic 7s, Rongotai College
19 October: WRFU American Ambassador’s Leg 1, Mary Crowther Park
19 October: CSW U15s and Hutt Cup Sevens tournaments, Naenae Park
19 October: Hurricanes Youth Council Sevens, Rathkeale College
28 October: Wellington schools CSW Condor 7s Qualifiers, Naenae College
2 November: WRFU American Ambassador’s Leg 2, Onepoto Park
2 November: NOBM Sevens (Hawke’s Bay)
9 November: WRFU American Ambassador’s Leg 3, Awakairangi Park
16 November: Counties-Maukau Provincial 7s, Auckland
16 November: Piri Weepu Invitational 7s, Wainuiomata
23 November: Wellington Provincial Invitational 7s, Venue TBC
30 November: Lower North Island Regional Provincial qualifiers, Levin
1-2 December: Condor Sevens NZSS tournament, Auckland
14-16 December: National Provincial Sevens, Tauranga
7-8 February: National Club Sevens, Jerry Collins Stadium

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