North Otago brace for big day of sevens

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A bit of size, a bit of pace and a bit of playmaking ability.

North Otago appears to have all bases covered ahead of the second Referees Sevens tournament in Oamaru tomorrow.

Coach Kilifi Fangupo has assembled a potentially explosive squad that will need to perform to its absolute maximum if it is to have any chance against a strong line-up of visiting sides.

Old Boys halfback Inoke Naufahu, Athletic Marist utility Connor Newlands and Christ’s College (formerly St Kevin’s College) first five-eighth Levi Emery will shoulder the playmaking duties.

Pace and precision on the flanks will be provided by Matthew Vocea, Harry Frost, Simon Lilicama and Piliu Tavake, while forwards Filipo Veamatahau, Timoci Bulitavu, Folau Tokai, Sale Pi’i and Meli Kolinisau will embrace the physical battles.

The addition of two Canterbury teams plus the Canterbury Fijians has beefed up the tournament, and the quality of sevens should be a step up from last year’s inaugural tournament.

North Otago loan players Josh Buchan and Mika Mafi are both playing for Otago Blue.

North Otago players Morgan Henderson, Cheyenne Cunningham, Nia Sanft, Sarah Crabbe and Bridget Crabbe will lead the Hanan Shield side in the women’s tournament.

The Hanan Shield women play Southland (10.20am), Canterbury Red (noon) and Otago (2.20pm), while the North Otago men play Otago Gold (10am), South Canterbury (2pm) and Canterbury 2 (3.40pm).

The men’s final is at 6pm.