Photo: Under-14 champions Auckland West after their 5-0 win over Auckland East.
It might have been raining and overcast all day, but that didn’t put a damper on the spirits of 300 Under-14 and Under-16 rugby players competing at the Blues Development Super Weekend on Saturday.
The finals day, held at Marist Rugby Club, marked the close of a four-week tournament between Northland, North Harbour and Auckland sides.
There were two teams per grade from Northland (North and South), two from North Harbour (Cardinal and White) and four from Auckland (East, West, South and Central) in the competition. For three weeks, the sides competed in round robin games and semi-finals to determine the final games.
Auckland was a force to be reckoned with in both grades, taking out the Under-14 and Under-16 titles.
In the Under-14 final, Auckland West defeated Auckland East in a low-scoring match, scoring one unconverted try to take the title.
The Under-16 final was won by Auckland Central, 19-0 over North Harbour White.
2016 is the 6th year the tournament has been held and the first year that the Blues have taken on the finals weekend, as a way to open up another pathway for future Blues development players.
Blues High Performance Manager Tony Hanks said the competition reflected the high calibre of developing athletes in the region.
“One of the things I love from our region is the kids play with a real positive intent,” said Hanks. “Even today, in difficult conditions, all the kids played really positive rugby.”
“While it’s really competitive on field, there’s a nice camaraderie and respect after the game. It’s a rugby experience that these young players and their families will never forget.
“We’re really pleased to be able to increase our involvement in the tournament and then grow it in years to come. It’s another sign of our relationship with the provincial unions going from strength to strength.”
The tournament also served as a tool for Blues selectors to identify talent for the Under-17 squad, which will be announced in October.
The results are:
1st/2nd: Auckland West (5) v Auckland East (0)
3rd/4th: Auckland South (19) v Auckland Central (7)
5th/6th: Northland South (44) v Northland North (7)
7th/8th: North Harbour White (5) v North Harbour Cardinal (5)
1st/2nd: Auckland Central (19) v North Harbour White (0)
3rd/4th: Auckland South (43) v North Harbour Cardinal (0)
5th/6th: Auckland East (8) v Auckland West (5)
7th/8th: Northland South (63) v Northland North (7)