They might not have won a game, but Mid Canterbury sevens coach Sean Carter had plenty of praise for his young band of troops and their performances at the national sevens tournament over the weekend.
“It was a good experience for the boys.
“There were a lot of tough challenges there from some big unions but the boys showed a lot of courage and fight,” he said.
They started the tournament with a 43-0 loss to the Bay of Plenty, something Carter put down to turning over the ball too many times.
Next up against Auckland they lost 39-10, but with some encouraging signs.
“After the game we were talking to them and they said they were pretty shocked that we ran in two tries, when their main goal was to keep us out for the game, so that was pretty nice,” he said.
In the third and final pool game, Canterbury were able to get revenge after Mid Canterbury embarrassed them at the southern regional qualifier.
“They turned the tables on us this time and they deserved to win, but we did let the game slip away from us,” Carter said.
After a bowl quarter-final loss to Counties Manukau, they progressed to the shield semi-final against Southland.
In their closest game yet, they lost 32-24, with two late tries securing the result for the Stags.
“If we had longer than 14 minutes the boys believed they could have won it,” he said.
“All the boys are now excited to get into this season and get back to their clubs.
“They realised with this tournament the expectations and the speed and physicality of the national tournament, but there was never a moment where they looked at another team and went ‘oh, don’t really want to have a go against them’,” he said.