Monday, November 10
The annual international rugby sevens tournament began in Rarotonga in 1991 although there had been an event featuring overseas players in 1989.
Over the years we’ve had some rugby greats taking part including New Zealand’s Eric Rush and Jonah Lomu as well as Fiji’s Waisale Serevi.
The new organisers (Destination Management Cook Islands) have been making a push to expand on the fun side of the tournament. They’ve been encouraging people to get together to dress up in weird clothes and crazy hats, with cash prizes on offer.
Well, they certainly had a hit on their hands this year. The weather was fine from Thursday, when the team march through town took place, until the end of play on Saturday evening, in spite of forecasts promising showers. We had two overseas teams from NZ, the Bombay Hawks and Te Ara Wheke, as well as several overseas sevens players including Koiatu Koiatu, Zar Lawrance, Renee Ranger, Nathan Robinson and Rangi Vallance. With 12 men’s teams in four pools of three, and four women’s teams there was plenty of action on the field and the spectators also had a ball.
Sevens can be monotonous if one side outclasses the opposition but on Friday and Saturday there was end to end action and some surprising results to keep the punters interested and the women’s games usually have everyone laughing!
Eventual winners were the Tauae Bulls, repeating their successes in 2004 and 2006.
For more information check out the Cook Islands News website – it should be updated with sevens info on Wednesday (12 November).
The organisers are promising even greater things for next year’s Sevens in Heaven.