The World School Sevens have come to town.
Warm-up matches began on Wednesday with a team challenge at Eastern Beach yesterday afternoon.
The World School Sevens kick-off at Pakuranga Rugby Club today (December 14) from 6pm-9pm and also Saturday (December 15) from 9am-5pm followed by prizegiving.
It showcases the best U18 sevens boys and girls talent from New Zealand and the Pacific including U18 teams from Australia, Tonga, Fiji, Canada, Japan, Vanuatu plus New Zealand.
In addition there will be a number of expat teams including Samoan Barbarians, Tongan Barbarians, NZ Niue, NZ Fijians and NZ Dutch.
This is the third year of the event and it is starting to see some real growth over the last few years. It has grown from 10 teams in 2016 to 19 teams this year.
The tournament is the brainchild of Phil Gaze who also event-manages the Condor Sevens, the National Secondary School Sevens which has grown exponentially from 16 teams to more than 100 teams over the last seven years.
In 2016 Gaze was in conversations with NZ Rugby who informed him that the Australian Rugby Union wanted to develop their sevens programme. Gaze caught wind of the conversation and the rest is history.
Gaze, the tournament director, told the Times: ” I am extremely excited about the 3rd edition of the World School Sevens U18 tournament. It’s going to be a fantastic display of the next generation of Sevens stars.
“With six players from previous tournaments now contracted players with Australia and New Zealand, the tournament is going to unleash some exciting new players.”
Seven of the international teams are staying locally at Willow Park, Christian Camp in Eastern Beach.
The finals will be live on Sky.