Wairarapa-Bush will go in as outsiders in the Central Zone Sevens tournament to be played at Massey University tomorrow.
The union is one of only four, along with Manawatū, Hawke’s Bay, and Whanganui, that have entered the men’s and women’s tournament, which is the first to be held since 2019.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will play the other three in a round-robin before playoffs and finals.
Wai-Bush men’s coach Hatarei Brown has named a young squad, including some college players, because of the unavailability of several Heartland representatives, such as Aseri Waqa, Fiula Tameilau, and Inia Katia, although the latter is assisting with the coaching.
Wai-Bush winger Charles Mataitai, his younger brother Willy, promising Rathkeale first-five Will Cole, Wairarapa College midfielder Johan Paulo, Tuhirangi winger Isaac Vollebreght, Pioneer’s Oakland Dean-Pene, East Coast’s Thomas Williams, and Martinborough’s lightweight flanker Sam Twigley are among those in the squad.
Brown is under no illusion of the challenge ahead, saying a good result would be to stay close to the top teams and possibly pick up a win.
Wai-Bush women’s coach Brent Gare also expects a tough challenge for his team, and he hopes that his players just go out there and give it their all, saying a win over Whanganui is an obvious target.
Not surprisingly, the team is based around the Wai-Bush North Island Heartland team and the Wairarapa Wahine Toa club side, including the exciting Kate Donald, who will relish the open spaces of sevens, Hurricanes U18 rep Xanthe Sommerville, Lisa Te Moananui, and Levonia Faumui.
The women kick off their tournament at 10.20am tomorrow against Hawke’s Bay, followed by the men at 10.40am, also against the Magpies.