19 January 2015
Rotorua school girl Mystery Ada McLean-Kora says playing at the Bayleys National Sevens Rugby Tournament over the weekend was a fantastic experience.
The 16-year-old attends Western Heights High School and says her focus at school has always been sporty. She plays basketball, volleyball, touch rugby and started playing 15-aside rugby last year, making the Bay school’s team.
Bay of Plenty women’s and men’s sevens rugby teams came tantalisingly close to final showdowns at the national tournament in Rotorua over the weekend. The men’s team lost 33 nil to eventual tournament champs Waikato in a one-sided semi-final, while the women lost a third and fourth play-off again to Waikato opponents by 26-21.
Games were played in brilliant sunshine and heat, leaving players staggering through games towards the end of the tournament. Mystery told The Mud’s Kevin O’Connor she has a long way to go at this stage as far as the sevens game is concerned.
“It’s been good, playing with the New Zealand players in the team and learning off them.” Smiling, she admitted she had to get bigger.
She said she was proud of the way the Bay women’s team performed, especially since because it was a largely “put together team” due to injuries without much experience of playing together.
Bay of Plenty Men’s Sevens team manager Mark Day said the energy level seemed to go away from the guys during their semi-final against Waikato.
Although they didn’t show it in their final game, the team had worked hard on defence with their coaches and were looking forward to next year and making more improvements.
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive officer Mike Rogers told The Mud the BOP teams’ performances were the “icing on the cake”.
“I think it’s been a fantastic couple of days. The weather has helped the event. Talking to the teams they’ve had a great time and so have the spectators.”
He did not have crowd numbers to hand, but he said there was growth on last year.
“Word has got out that it’s a good event to be at and people have found the atmosphere this year has been a step up from last year.”
For the record, Waikato men’s team took the final off last year’s champs Wellington, winning 38-19; and the Auckland women’s team beat Manawatu 29-14 in their final.
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