Updated 2: Names of new winners will be etched on the men’s and women’s Wellington club rugby sevens trophies this season, as the scheduled two-leg series gets underway at Wise Park in Wainuiomata on Saturday.
As is the theme in sevens rugby this year, numbers are significantly down. This is a trend that can be blamed on the remnants of the Covid epidemic but one that could also be seen as alarming if it continues in the future.
Neither defending men’s champions from the last tournament in 2020, Northern United, and last tournament women’s champions Oriental-Rongotai, are entering this year.
There are 10 men’s teams representing seven clubs contesting the magnificent American Ambassador’s Trophy this year.
These teams are: Oriental-Rongotai, Oriental-Rongotai Barbarians, Wellington Axemen 1, Wellington Axemen 2, Upper Hutt Rams, Avalon Wolves 1, Avalon Wolves 2, Wainuiomata, Old Boys University and Paremata-Plimmerton.
Three Women’s clubs have put their hands up to contest the Eleanor Roosevelt Trophy this year, these being Marist St Pat’s, Avalon Wolves and Paremata-Plimmerton.
Pools and Draw (all subject to change):
American Ambassador’s Trophy – background:
The original (recently replaced by a new one) American Ambassador’s Trophy was presented in 1967 by John F Henning who was US Ambassador to New Zealand in the 1960s. From 1967 until 1998 this tournament was held at Trentham Memorial Park on a Sunday in February as a precursor to the Regional Sevens held in Feilding in mid-March, followed by the Sevens Nationals a week or two later.
Tony Meachen took over as Wellington Sevens Coach in 1998 with John Willis as Manager at a time when Wellington had slipped to the “B” division at the Nationals. In 1999 Meachen and Willis drove the formation of The Local Point Series (named after the chain of taverns/cafes/sports bars), played over three rounds and with points awarded in each round.
The Ambassador’s Trophy was still the premier trophy and won by the winner of the either the first or last round – meaning you could win the Local Point Series but not necessarily the Ambassador’s Trophy. The final of the Ambassador’s Trophy was played as a curtain raiser to a NPC match at Wellington Stadium for a number of years.
American Ambassador’s Sevens series last five winners (no tournament in 2021):
- 2016: Upper Hutt Rams (men’s) and St Mary’s College (women’s)
- 2017: Upper Hutt Rams (men’s) and Marist St Pat’s (women’s)
- 2018: Northern United (men’s) and Northern United (women’s)
- 2019: Hutt Old Boys Marist (men’s) and Old Boys University (women’s)
- 2020: Northern United (men’s), Oriental-Rongotai (women’s)