Kicking ball around to Waikato jersey
Hadleigh May came home to Tirau for the summer to play sevens. 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.
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 open side 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 to countries like France.
May said he came back to the Waikato for the summer so he could ‘‘play with a few mates’’. But before he knew it he was 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 full-on’’, 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 10 minutes each way and I got a full last half. Looking back it just went like that.’’
There was a reasonable crowd and TV cameras were around but you just had to put that past you and 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.’’
May is currently planning ahead to where he goes to from now.
Has a goal of making the ITM Cup and he’s now trying to see where the best place to do that would be.
Tirau’s Hadleigh May played for Waikato at the Bayleys National Sevens last month.