Wellington Sevens- Oceania teams look strong.
New Zealand’s capital Wellington is again hosting the IRB Sevens, played in the “Cake Tin” stadium the action is indeed hotting up and Oceania teams are shinning.
This glamour event is in our backyard; it also opens the door for the new boys like PNG & Niue to have a crack at some world-renowned sides. In this same breath is Tonga, they fielded 11 new caps and played with courage in front of a bumper crowd yelling for them. Rounding off the Oceania sides are Australia, Fiji, Samoa and the hosts New Zealand. This last batch of teams are all honest contenders for the title, they all too showed day 1 form.
Before we look at the on the field results and action, we will look off it first, as after all the party atmosphere here in Wellington is second to none. This city embraces the game, it also uses creativity and positivity to bring fancy dress to 90% of the seats in the house. It goes a little like this. Having a good brekkie in the morning you look around the café and this is whom you see sitting around you- The Flintstones, Obama, a rubix cube & human lego. Walking to the ground the humour continues as Miss Universe contestants with serious moustache’s and hairy chests walk bye, all this just gets better and better as your day in and around the game of Sevens carries on.
Looking back at the action in the middle, Tonga nearly took the scalp of England. These new fellas tackled and played with composure of a world team, they have the build to match anyone, and with a bit more time together they will be dangerous as. Samoa ran out in a new strip, but played with familiar ability and powered their way through all in their path. PNG entertained with jiving runs and thunder tackles, but the tackle of the day went to a Niue boy that nearly delivered a South African all the way back to Capetown with the impact.
For our new teams it was a bit of a lesson in the next level, with a few more games like this they would start to win some of the tight matches, but some tackles slid off and one little error when your heart is busting through your chest when you are so so tired is the difference. One thing for sure though is they all played with pride and will be better for it.
No to the Big Guns of Oceania, Australia are looking great with the ball, the angles are new and sharp and some new blood is increasing the fleet footed ability for the better. Samoa is pure class, strong and full of pace, With Uale Mai back they are also patient and controlled. If any team can match NZ for brute upfront strength, these are the boys. Fiji looked calm and ready, they are always unpredictable, however a certain look of pattern is coming across them, this allows them to actually set up space for their genuine pace merchants out wide. They also have some big men with almost NBA ability unloading all over the place for their mates.
The last mention goes to NZ, their last strike of day one was sending South Africa packing. The crowd gets behind them and they are playing as one, they love contact and smash anything around the ball. They are drilled and they look ready, now it comes down to the question of does this mean they can shut down raw flair that teams like Samoa and Fiji can fire at them. We will see soon.