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Tasman 7s teams national trophy hopes end with overtime losses

The Turf Hotel Tasman's sevens teams have announced themselves on the national stage despite both finishing as losing finalists at the national sevens tournament in Rotorua.

The Tasman men made it all the way to the top tier Cup competition after topping their pool before eventually suffering a 26-21 overtime loss to Auckland in Sunday's plate final.

Tasman's women's team were also denied any silverware after similarly losing 24-19 in overtime to Taranaki in the women's bowl final. The Tasman men finished a creditable sixth and the women 10th overall.

The Tasman men were controversially knocked out of contention for the main prize following a questionable knock-on call in their 14-10 Cup quarterfinal loss to Wellington. 

With time almost up in the Cup playoffs, Andrew Knewstubb was ruled to have knocked on at a ruck as Tasman searched for the winning try close to Wellington's line.

The officials conferred and ruled against Tasman, also signalling an end to the match and a 14-10 win to Wellington.

Wellington had led 7-5 at halftime, Tasman's Jamie Spowart showing impressive pace to score a length of the field try after the hooter. Wellington were in again soon after the restart, leaving Fletcher Matthews to close the gap once again with an unconverted try. 

Two converted first half tries to Sam Chamberlain were enough to give Tasman a 14-7 win over Hawke's Bay in the plate semifinals after a scoreless second half. And despite two late tries to Lote Saulekaleka and Knewstubb to scramble a 21-21 draw in the final against Auckland, Eddie Finau eventually capitalised on a Tasman error in overtime to score the golden point try that secured Auckland the win.

Pool C had emerged as the most competitive of the men's divisions on Saturday, with all four teams recording a win and a loss after the first two rounds.

Tasman had opened with a 28-19 win over Taranaki, captain Trael Joass scoring two of Tasman's four tries after they'd held a handy 21-7 lead at the break. While Joass scored his second try just after the restart to give Tasman a seemingly unbeatable 28-7 lead, they conceded two late Taranaki tries before sealing the win.

Tasman came unstuck against Bay of Plenty in round two, conceding too may errors in a 28-17 loss after they'd trailed 14-7 at halftime. And with Taranaki beating BOP to kickstart round three, it meant that Tasman needed to beat Canterbury in their final match to finish top of their pool.

Tasman dominated the first half against Canterbury as tries to Joass, Fletcher Matthews and Andrew Knewstubb pushed them 17-0 clear at halftime. But Canterbury produced all the second half scoring, Tasman again forced to dig deep defensively for a tight 17-14 win.

The Tasman women were slow out of the blocks in Saturday's opening pool C clash against Canterbury, a team they'd beaten at November's Southern Regional tournament in Timaru, to lose 25-0.

They were predictably outgunned 45-0 by a classy Counties Manukau team in round two, before everything finally came together with a decisive 24-5 win over Taranaki in Saturday's final pool game.

Risi Pouri-Lane scored all of Tasman's first half points, including two tries and a conversion, to help put them ahead 12-5 at the break, ahead of second half tries to captain Jess Foster and a spectacular 90m runaway by Montana Heslop.

The Pouri-Lane sisters monopolised the scoring in Tasman's 15-0 bowl semifinal win over Hawke's Bay, Keilamarita crossing twice and Risi once to set up a rematch against Taranaki in the bowl final.

A late try enabled Taranaki to level up at 19-19 in the decider, sending the game into overtime, before also scoring the critical golden point try. The Pouri-Lane sisters and Fern Hoskin had scored for Tasman in regulation time.

Meanwhile, Counties Manukau emerged as the champion province, the women beating defending champions Manawatu 24-17 and the men retaining their title with a 14-7 win over Waikato in their respective finals.