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[Updated] Wellington club rugby one-off club sevens tournament on Saturday

Friday 3.oopm tournament updates.

Please see the draw here: 2023 Ambassador 7s Tournament Draw

Please not that the women’s draw in the link above may differ owing to the Friday withdrawal of Paremata-Plimmerton,

Wellington’s leading sevens players will need to hit the ground running on Saturday morning at Trentham Memorial Park at the WRFU American Ambassador’s Sevens tournament.

In recent years this has been a two or three weekend series but this year’s tournament is a one-off winner takes all tournament on Saturday, with pool play starting over morning coffee and the men’s and women’s champions for the American Ambassador’s Trophy and Eleanor Rossevelt Cups crowned in the late afternoon beating sun.

Some 15 teams representing 11 of Wellington’s Premier clubs will descend on TMP for the day.

The silverware and name of the tournament is so named as the men’s trophy was first presented by the US Ambassador in 1967.

Oriental-Rongotai (men’s, shared last year with the Upper Hutt Rams) and Marist St Pat’s (women’s) will start the day in the hunt as defending champions – but several clubs will be out to take their crowns and all it takes is an early upset or two or a stirring win and the tournament is all on.

Last year’s joint winners the Rams won for the first time since 2017, and Ories for the first time since 2008, while MSP won the women’s for the first time since 2017.

The Rams will be missing this year, however.

The Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles and Northern United are two other clubs that won’t have a presence on Saturday, Petone is fielding a women’s team only and the MSP men’s team is serving the final year of its three-year ban from the 2020 tournament.

Traditionally in modern times, the men’s winner of the American Ambassador’s tournament receives an invite to compete at the National Club Sevens tournament, and this appears to be back this year in February and to be played in the Counties-Manukau union.

The women’s grade is back up to some five teams, after just three last year.

With no Colts grade again this year there could be some extra youth spread across the park, as well as the promise of some school leavers in action for their senior clubs for the first time.

Clubs entered include (correct as of Friday afternoon):

Men’s American Ambassador’s Trophy competition: Avalon, Johnsonville, Old Boys University, Oriental-Rongotai, Paremata-Plimmerton (two teams), Poneke, Wainuiomata (two teams), Wellington Axemen.

Women’s Eleanor Rossevelt Cup competition: Avalon, Marist St Pat’s, Oriental-Rongotai, Petone, Poneke, Wainuiomata.

The on-field officials for the day presented by the WRRA include: Danny Cameron, Jack Cottrell, Matthew Fawkes, Jake Hird, Ethan Loveridge, Hamish Mexted, Ollie Michie and Mike Nicholls.

Saturday’s tournament is the first of two consecutive *scheduled* tournaments, ahead of the revived Central 7s provincial tournament in Palmerston North in a fortnight.

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.

Recent winners (since 2015):


2022: Upper Hutt Rams and Oriental-Rongotai shared

2021: No tournament (Covid)

2020: Northern United

2019: Hutt Old Boys Marist

2018: Northern United

2017: Upper Hutt Rams

2016: Upper Hutt Rams

2015: Upper Hutt Rams


2022: Marist St Pat’s

2021: No tournament (Covid)

2020: Oriental-Rongotai

2019: Old Boys University

2018: Northern United

2017: Marist St Pat’s

2016: St Mary’s College

2015: Oriental-Rongotai

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