NEW England Mutual continue to set the pace in the New England Mutual Summer Sevens, but did get its first taste of defeat on Friday night.
The third round drew a broad cross-section of about 40 players. There were players from hosts Barbarians, the Armidale Blues and Armidale Rams along with a few other local players.
Each of the teams played three games.
NEM won two of their three. Their loss came against Sportspower and was their first for the tournament. It was one of two wins Sportspower had for the night with St Kilda Hotel and Jackson Quality Meats both picking up one.
Barbarians utility back Keith Ellis has been one of the stars for NEM and has really enjoyed the sevens. “It’s been excellent fun,” he said.
He’d played a lot of sevens back home in Ireland.
“It’s all the exciting things about rugby over seven minutes,” he said.
As for NEM, one of the secrets of their success is that they’ve had a pretty consistent team.
“We’ve had the same tem from day one,” Ellis said.
A lot of the other teams have had different players coming in the different rounds.
It’s allowed them to really gel.
As the weeks have gone by, and teams start to get into pre-season training the games have been getting more physical.
The Baa Baas aren’t into their pre-season quite yet. They’ll start training as soon as the sevens wraps up.
“We’re using that (sevens) as a platform,” Ellis said.
The final round will be held on January 31 and incorporate a final with the victorious side to receive a “special trophy”.