Pub Charity Rugby Sevens results and standings after day 1

Photosport     14 Jan 2006     Photosport

Both topped their pools with three wins in spectacular summer conditions at the Wakatipu Rugby Club.

North Harbour, blessed with a relatively easy pool, looked particularly ominous in thrashing South Canterbury 56-0, Southland 31-12 and Hawkes Bay 31-7.

The size of Harbour players Todd Clever and Craig Hudson was an obvious factor in their success, but the field general was Joel Nasmith, a new name to watch on the sevens scene who scored one of the only hat-tricks of the day.

North Harbour will play Wellington in one quarterfinal tomorrow and then seem likely to play Bay of Plenty in a semifinal.

Bay of Plenty were a hot tip before the tournament and managed to top their pool, but were given serious frights by Northland, who they beat 15-14, and Waikato, 17-14.

Auckland entered the tournament without their coach, Eric Rush, who has been recovering from the effects of a blood clot, and with several new players.

But the defending champions blitzed Taranaki and the Cantabrians before being given a good fright by Otago in the last game of the day.

The dark horses are Counties-Manukau, coached by former All Black Joeli Vidiri, who eased past Wellington 24-21 in their last game to top pool D and set up a likely semifinal spot.

Home sides Otago and Southland were part of two of the most entertaining games of the day.

Otago needed to beat Taranaki to be assured of a place in the top-eight, and fought back to lead 19-17 after being 0-17 down.

But Otago then kicked off and straight into touch, and Taranaki swept back down the field to score.

Southland were in a similar position against minnows South Canterbury before butchering a lead and giving the third division side an unexpected victory.

New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens was an interested spectator, and players like Lance MacDonald of Bay of Plenty, Fa'atonu Fili of Wellington and veteran Aucklander Mana Ashford were three to have likely captured his attention.

With recently retired All Black captain Tana Umaga in attendance and a crowd of about 2500 revelling in the sun, the sevens generated a festival atmosphere.

Draw - Day One

Pool APool BPool CPool D
AucklandNorthlandNorth HarbourCounties-Manukau
TaranakiBay of PlentyHawkes BayWellington
CanterburyWest CoastSouth CanterburyBuller