Rams stum­ble at na­tional sev­ens

Upper Hutt Leader - - SPORT - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

A dis­tracted sec­ond-half against Massey cost the Up­per Hutt Rams dearly at the na­tional club rugby sev­ens in Hamil­ton on the week­end.

The Rams, the Welling­ton cham­pi­ons, had to set­tle for a top four fin­ish when they were beaten 24-7 by Massey in a game they looked to have un­der con­trol.

A Daniel Schri­jvers try had the Rams lead­ing their North Har­bour op­po­si­tion 7-0 and look­ing set to score again right on halftime when an overly am­bi­tious pass gifted the op­po­si­tion a counter-at­tack­ing score­line matcher.

‘‘It was pretty rough. We were hot on at­tack when that hap­pened and they seemed to get re­ally mo­ti­vated from there and rode away with it at the end,’’ the Rams’ cap­tain Hay­den Schri­jvers said.

Ear­lier, in a big quar­ter-fi­nal in the open­ing game on day two, Up­per Hutt were at their best in beat­ing Melville. Se­lesi Rayasi put Max Pear­son away for a long run late in the game which was won 17-12.

Melville, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, were play­ing on their home ground be­fore a big crowd, Schri­jvers said.

‘‘We were a bit ner­vous about that game and win­ning that left us pretty happy.’’

On the Satur­day, the com­pe­ti­tion’s first day, Up­per Hutt be­gan their tough pool play with a 28-12 loss to Auckland’s Eden.

They then beat Awanui (21-12) and Ard­more Marist (26-12) to set up the big clash with Melville.

Eden went on to beat Massey 26-7 in the fi­nal to take the Mid­dle­sex County Wavell Wake­field Cup for 2017.

‘‘So the two teams we lost to went on to play the fi­nal but it was dis­ap­point­ing to be close again,’’ Schri­jvers said.

The Rams had hoped to go one bet­ter af­ter fin­ish­ing as beaten fi­nal­ists in 2016. They also made the top four in the three pre­vi­ous years. Coach Nathan Wil­liams said his side was left lament­ing an­other one that got away.

‘‘We were re­ally good in beat­ing Melville, that was a big game but I do find my­self won­der­ing if that proved to be our fi­nal. The com­pe­ti­tion is get­ting stronger ev­ery year too.

‘‘Some of the Auckland sides played with a style of game where they looked to stay out of the con­tact area a lot of time and then at­tack the space around that.

‘‘It was some­thing we hadn’t re­ally seen be­fore,’’ Wil­liams said.

PHOTO: MARK TAY­LOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Up­per Hutt’s Se­lesi Rayasi grap­ples with Melville’s Luke Masirewa in quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion from the na­tional club sev­ens.

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