Kicking around with sevens mates
Hadleigh May came home for the summer to play sevens for Hinuera. He thought he would be kicking around with a few mates, but his summer soon took a turn for the exciting when he was asked to pull on a Waikato shirt and take to the field at the Bayleys National Sevens last month.
May was brought up in Tirau but went to school first in Matamata and then St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton.
The Waikato men’s sevens team went on to be crowned national sevens champions at the 2015 Bayleys National Sevens, held in Rotorua on January 17-18. It is Waikato’s sixth national sevens title with their last win coming in 2010. Waikato’s win in the final, a 38-19 win over Wellington, was all the more remarkable as the defending champions from the capital had already beaten Waikato 35-5 in pool play.
May, who is an openside flanker, grew up playing age group rugby for Hinuera Rugby Club. After school he began study at Otago University and recently completed a Diploma in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. While in Otago, May played age group rugby and played a few games for the Otago development side. In recent years he has also toured with the New Zealand Under-20 rugby team, travelling overseas like France.
May said he came back to the Waikato for the summer to play for Hinuera so he could ‘‘play with a few mates’’.
But before he knew it he was
countries called into the Waikato squad.
He said sevens provided great training for the full version of the game as it kept his fitness up over the summer. Being involved in the Waikato team was ‘‘pretty fullon’’, May said.
‘‘There were three games each day. It was quite intense. It’s only seven minutes each way but it is quite hard.
‘‘Once we qualified it was all about each game, focusing on each game and not worrying about what’s ahead until we got into the final where it was do or die. We got thrashed by Wellington previously in our pool play on day two and then we met them in the final so we kind of had a point to prove.’’
May has played in a few finals before, but he said this was his first ‘‘real big’’ final. ‘‘I was quite nervous but once you got out there it was fine, the time flew really. It was ten minutes each way and I got a full last half. Looking back it just went like that.’’
There was a reasonable crowd and television cameras were around but you just had to not worry about it, he said.
It was strange to reflect back on the experience, May said, considering he had only come up to play ‘‘ casual sevens’’ with his mates. ‘‘ I didn’t expect to be playing, it kind of just happened but that just shows it doesn’t matter who you’re playing for, if you’re good enough you’ll get there.
‘‘It’s not about what club you play for. Hinuera is a division one club and we had no big guns but there were still people watching every game so it’s quite neat.’’
He wanted to thank everyone who has helped him on his rugby path, especially the rugby club.
May is currently planning ahead to where he goes to from now. Has a goal of making the ITM Cup.
NATIONAL TITLE: Hinuera Rugby Club’s Hadleigh May played for Waikato at the Bayleys National Sevens last month.