North Harbour take sevens title
November 14, 1999
Waikato's 4 year reign as national sevens champions came to an end this afternoon in Palmerston North as North Harbour defeated near rivals Auckland 31-5 in the final.
Earlier in the afternoon Auckland had defeated Wellington in their semi final and Harbour had to draw upon all their experience to overcome a competitive Northland side, the surprise package of the tournament.
The final was graced by a host of New Zealand sevens representatives on both sides. Harbour moved out to a 12-point lead with 2 tries by scrum half Ben Meyer in quick succession. Auckland fly half Orene Ai'i reminded everyone of his outstanding promise as he scored a scintillating try up the right flank. He seems certain to grace the World Sevens circuit about to be launched in Dubai at the beginning of December.
Leading 12-5 at half time, Harbour totally dominated possession in the second half, and therefore totally dominated the game. The evergreen Eric Rush orchestrated many of the Harbour moves and live wire forward Matua Parkinson dominated the fierce scrap for possession. Tim Cowley added 2 tries and replacement Craig de Goldi finished off the scoring to give the score a decisive appearance. Auckland were well beaten.
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens now has the job of picking and announcing a squad that will go into pre- Dubai training. On the evidence of this weekend he should be able to select from strength. Scrum will have details of that squad later in the week.