Result: Penguins win the Ablitt Cup beating the South African Vipers in the final
The club returned to the SCC 7s over the weekend of 5th to 7th November 2010, for the third time (the previous entries in 1997 and 1998). The team was based on a selection of ITM cup players from New Zealand, all of whom had a range of 7s experience.
The team meet for the first time on the Tuesday before the first game, with one player arriving on the Wednesday. The team had a steady build up to the tournament with a number of training runs, a hit out against the Japanese team, a number of recovery sessions, including the use of the hotel pool, and some video analysis and feedback (as led by coach McIntosh).
The two coaches planned carefully and allocated different aspects of team coaching and preparation. John controlled the holistic planning of the week and Rodney focused on the physical preparation and recovery of the team.
The tournament favourites were the South African Vipers. The Vipers are coached the Penguins South African representative, Paul Treu, and had won the past three tournament. Also include in the tournament where 5 other national sides including Sri Lanka, Japan, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
The squad also played a major part in running the HSBC Youth Coaching Festival at the Padang on the Thursday.
Day 1, Friday 5th November – having been drawn in pool A, the team was to play in the first game of the tournament against Cottesloe from Perth (Australia). As expected in their first full game together the team struggled to find their rhythm and won more through individual endeavours and skill s opposed to classic 7s team work. In summary it was a good start as it gave the team a good win but plenty of work ons.
Day 2, Saturday 6th November – the opponents on day two where Kazakhstan (the 68th country the Penguins have played in or against, or coached) and regulars at the SCC 7s Ponsonby from New Zealand. Ponsonby have won the SCC 7s on previous occasions and are always considered a potential winner. Both teams provided physical opposition, which the Penguins matched, and the Penguins quickly settled into structured 7s avoiding contact and punishing the opposition with quick use of turn over ball.
Day 3, Sunday 7th November – heavy overnight rain saturated the playing surface, especially the bottom right hand corner, which the team affectionately named the Swamp. Altered tactics saw the Penguins adapt best to the conditions with their pressure defence regularly paying dividends. The first game of the top 16 round saw the Penguins comfortably home against Australian side East Arnhem. In the quarter final he penguins came up against former champions and form side Ponsonby, from New Zealand. In one of the most clinical games of the tournament, the Penguins comprehensively outplayed their opponents 38 – 0, setting up a semi final with Horowhenua-Kapiti (the New Zealand provincial team who made the semi-finals of the 2010 New Zealand provincial 7s tournament). In the semi final the opponents scored first but the physical presence of the Penguins saw the team emerge with a comfortable 33 to 10 voctory. On the other side of the draw the feature match was the clash between Fijian invitational team Davetelevu and defending champions South African vipers. The South Africans won late in the match after the Fijians had dominated for long periods through their physical game.
Twenty four teams started the tournament in day one, with the grand final being a classic encounter between the South African Vipers and the Penguins. In the first half, the South Africans totally dominate possession and field position. The Penguins resolute defence kept the opponents scoreless with the Penguins scoring first, against the run of play, with Nalu Tuigamala forcing his way through a gap and running 40m to score under the posts and the successful conversion giving the Penguins a 7 – 0 lead at half time. The second half witnessed the South Africans change their pattern of play using more width which quickly paid dividends with a converted try to level the scores within 90 seconds of the restart. The Penguins struck back with a long range converted try to David Raikuna after good build up work by skipper Nafi Tuitavake. This set up a tense final 3 minutes with the score favouring the Penguins at 14-7. After the final hooter the South Africans scored out wide on the left had flank. With one of the kicks of the tournament, the conversion sailed over to tie the game and send the match into extra time.
The Penguins won the toss and chose to attack the Swamp pressuring the Vipers into an early turnover. From the resulting restart the Penguins attacked right and where awareded a penalty close to the opponents goals posts. A quick tap saw winger David Raikuna burrow his way over through two defenders to ground the ball and end the contest. The entire Pengui team was absolutely delighted with the reserves all hurdling the pitch side safety barriers from the technical zone to race to join their teams.
This was a tremendous win for our club in a very prestigious and high profile tournament. Congratulations to all involved.
Squad: Nafi Tuitavake (Massey, Nth Harbour, NZ U20, NZ 7s – Captain), Ben Botica (North Shore, North Harbour), Nalu Tuigamala (East Coast Bays, North Harbour, North Harbour 7s, NZU20), Villiame Fihaki (Patumahoe, Counties Manukau), Shane Christie (Nelson, Tasman, Tasman 7s), Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham, Canterbury 7s, U21, Crusaders Dev), Manu Leiataua (Mahurangi, North Harbour, Wellington 7s, Wellington B), Roy Griffin (Kamo, Northland, Blues Dev), Matthew Hodson (Tauranga Sports, Bay of Plenty 7s, Bay of Plenty 7s), Paula Kinikinilau (Alhambra-Union, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Otago), David Raikuna (Pukekohe, Counties Manukau XVs and Counties Manukau 7s), Irwin Finau (Silverdale, North Harbour B, Auckland 7s)
Coaches: John McKittrick (former coach of Nth Harbour 7s and Dev XV, Cook Islands XV & 7s, USA 7s) and Rodney McIntosh (former coach of Hong Kong 7s)
Tour Manager: Craig Brown
Tour Assistant Manager: Hang Kek Kang
Committee Member: David Townsend
Penguins 31 – 0 Cottesloe
Penguins 40 – 5 Almaty RFC (Khazakstan)
Penguins 29 – 0 Borneo Eagles
Penguins 44 – 0 East Arnhem)
Penguins 38 – 0 Ponsonby
Penguins 33 – 10 Horowhenua-Kapiti
Penguins 19 – 14 South African Vipers (after extra time – 14 all at final whistle)
Tries – 38
Conversions – 22
Penalties/drop goals – 0
Points for 234 (average per game 33.4)
Points against 29 (average per game 4.1)
Tries: Raikuna – 7, Hodson – 7, Kinikinilau – 5, Tuigamala – 5, McNicholl – 4, Botica – 3, Tuitavake – 2, Christie – 2, Fihaki – 1, Griffin – 1, penalty try – 1
Conversions: Tuigamala – 10, Hodson – 5, Botica – 4, Raikuna – 2, Tuitavake - 1
Match stats per game follow below.
|Player||Cottesloe||Almaty||Borneo Eagles||East Arnhem||Ponsonby||Horowhenua-Kapiti||SA Vipers|
P = started match, S = subbed on in match, N = not used