Updated: Entries are not flash, but excitement is high for Monday’s 2023 Wellington region Condor Sevens qualifying tournament at Naenae College.
Some 24 teams representing 16 schools across four grades will make the annual trek to Naenae College on Monday for the Wellington region Condor Sevens qualifying tournament.
The competitions being contested concurrently are Open Boys, Open Girls, U15 Boys and U15 Girls. Three fields will be in use from 9.00am to 3.00pm and then on fields 1 and 2 overlooking the pavilion and tournament HQ for the final several pulsating fixtures of the day.
As at the time of publication, eight schools and nine teams have entered the Open Boys section. The teams will be split into three pools of three, these being:
- Open Boys Pool A: Scots College, St Pat’s Silverstream B, Heretaunga College
- Open Boys: Pool B: St Pat’s Silverstream A, Mana College, Hutt Valley High School
- Open Boys Pool C: Wellington College, Rongotai College, Naenae College
A notable absence is St Pat’s Town. The school with a consistent history of being there or thereabouts at this tournament and whose Condors alumni includes such players as Billy Proctor, Xavia Numia, Keelan Whitman and Saia Paese can’t muster a squad for Monday.
As the defending champions and the most successful school at this tournament, Scots College will head into Monday as favourites. Last year’s MVP Ieti Campbell will be missing having suffered a season ending injury in their last 15s match of the year against Feilding High School, but they are sure to have plenty of strike weapons in players such as Pyrenees Boyle-Tiatia and forwards power in Sione Latu.
Scots defeated St Pat’s Silverstream in last year’s final and the Streamers should be strong again and if players such as Thompson Tukapua, David Tokalautawa and Brayden Soi are playing they will go far. Their B team is sure to provide good support.
It will be hard to go past Wellington College as another contender, although they have never won Condors and have a history of being on the wrong side of close results in matches that matter. Their U15s team won last year though, so many will be hoping they can translate that into senior success.
Rongotai College are always known for springing a surprise or two, while the other schools will be competitive.
Following pool play, the Open Boys play quarterfinals then Cup semi-finals and then finals. The two bottom teams after pool play also contest a qualifier to stay in the day.
The top two finishing teams (the Cup finalists) qualify for the National Condor Sevens tournament in December, now at Mt Maunganui.
The Open Boys Cup final is scheduled for 4.25pm.
The Open Girls will be headed – as always – by St Mary’s College. They will be the team to beat for good reason; they are gunning for their eighth straight Wellington Condors tournament win.
Earlier this week St Mary’s reported fewer numbers in the composition of both their Open Girls and U15s teams for Monday, with several potential players instead picked for the NZ U16s and U18s rugby league teams that are playing in Auckland on the same day.
But with Justine McGregor leading them and primed to follow in the footsteps of such players as past Wellington Condors tournament MVPs Monica Tagoai and Dhys Faleafaga, St Mary’s will be favoured for their eight-peat.
Joining St Mary’s in the Open Girls are Sacred Heart College, St Catherine’s College and Taita College.
The format is a single round-robin followed by semi-finals and the final. The leading two teams at the end of the day qualify for Nationals. The Open Girls Cup final for the Kat Whata-Simpkins Cup is scheduled for 4.00pm.
The Open Girls teams are: St Mary’s College, Taita College, Sacred Heart College and St Catherine’s College.
The U15s Boys sees eight teams divided into two pools who play three pool game each. The top two teams from each pool crossover to play Cup semi-finals and the bottom two in each head to the Bowl semi-finals.
The U15s Boys teams are: Wellington College, Scots College, Hutt Valley High School, Mana College, St Bernard’s College, Tawa College, St Pat’s Silverstream and Naenae College.
The U15s Girls tournament is a three-team competition with St Mary’s College, Mana College and Wellington East Girls’ College lining up to play a double round-robin and then a final. So the finalists will meet three times on the day.
Draws: Download the attachment Draw – 2023 CSW Sevens Regional Champs (By Field) or see below