Preview: Central Region Sevens tournament

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James Mortimer     06 Dec 2014     Getty Images

The competitions serve to determine the participants for the National Sevens which will be held in Rotorua in January 17-18.

The Magpies Sevens are in Pool C alongside Manawatu and Wairarapa Bush.

Pool A features national champions Wellington, who have gone from strength to strength under coach Scott Waldrom.

Indeed, the Sevens Lions are becoming one of the specialists of the circuit, having won three of the last four tournaments they have played in, with their only recent loss being at the Australian Central Coast Sevens which was claimed by Fiji.

They are pooled alongside Horowhenua-Kapiti and East Coast, while Pool B rounds out the teams with Taranaki, Poverty Bay and Wanganui.

Wellington’s task will be tougher for the fact that they are seeded first ensures they will have a very tough run come the nationals, as the champions of the north and south will likely be waiting for the Lions on the opposite side of the draw.

With Ambrose Curtis and Murphy Taramai in Sir Gordon Tietjens All Blacks Sevens squad, the Lions success has seen their players gather greater attention.

Taranaki, seeded second, are in a similar position.

Two of their superstars from last season, Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu, are missing, meaning coach Willie Rickards has had to cast his net wider, originally naming an expanded 19 player squad for the centrals.

Each team can take 12 players on the day.

The key however will be in the core members for each team, with Sevens units featuring experienced and long term combinations often having the advantage over sides without the same sort of gel.

The action starts early with Manawatu taking on Wairarapa Bush, with all matches taking place on the same day in what promises to be a carnival type atmosphere in Palmerston North.

The Women’s draw features four teams – Manawatu, Taranaki, Wairarapa Bush and Wellington – with the top three sides receiving automatic entry into the nationals.

Timings (NZDT):

10.00am Manawatu v Wairarapa Bush MEN ROUND 1
10.20am Taranaki v Wanganui MEN ROUND 1
10.40am Wellington v East Coast MEN ROUND 1
11.00am Manawatu v Wairarapa Bush WOMEN ROUND 1
11.20am Wellington v Taranaki WOMEN ROUND 1
11.40am Poverty Bay v Wanganui MEN ROUND 2 Hawke's Bay v Wairarapa Bush MEN ROUND 2
12.00pm Horowhenua Kapiti v East Coast MEN ROUND 2
12.20pm BREAK: Broadcast begins 12.30pm
12.40pm Manawatu v Hawke's Bay MEN ROUND 3 Taranaki v Poverty Bay MEN ROUND 3
1.00pm Wellington v Horowhenua Kapiti MEN ROUND 3
1.20pm Wellington v Wairarapa Bush WOMEN ROUND 2
1.40pm Manawatu v Taranaki WOMEN ROUND 2
2.00pm Highest Rank Pool C v Bottom Pool A MEN ROUND 4 Highest Rank Pool B v Bottom Pool C MEN ROUND 4
2.20pm Highest Rank Pool A v Bottom Pool B MEN ROUND 4 2nd Remaining Pool v 2nd Remaining Pool MEN ROUND 4
2.40pm Taranaki v Wairarapa Bush WOMEN ROUND 3
3.00pm Manawatu v Wellington WOMEN ROUND 3
3.20pm SF1 Rank 1 v Rank 4 MEN CUP SEMI SF3 Rank 5 v Rank 8 MEN PLAY OFF
3.40pm SF2 Rank 2 v Rank 3 MEN CUP SEMI SF4 Rank 6 v Rank 7 MEN PLAY OFF
4.00pm Rank 3 v Rank 4 WOMEN 3rd & 4th
4.20pm Rank 1 v Rank 2 WOMEN CUP FINAL
5.00pm Winner SF3 v Winner SF4 MEN 5th & 6th Loser SF1 v Loser SF2 MEN 3rd & 4th
5.20pm Winner SF1 v Winner SF2 MEN CUP FINAL