Friday, November 11
It’s been going for over twenty years and Rarotonga’s international rugby sevens tournament, held every November, just keeps getting better.
This year we had 16 men’s teams and six women’s.
Some were overseas clubs while others were local with top notch imports and we also had a couple of outer island sides.
In the men’s competition College Rifles, Te Ara Wheka and Porirua Magic were all NZ club sides while imports included ex All Blacks and current Super Rugby players like Rene Ranger, Lima Sopoanga and Robbie Fruean.
The Titikaveka Titans women’s team was stacked with soon-to-be-capped Black Ferns players (the Black Ferns are the women’s equivalent of the All Blacks). College Rifles, last year’s cup winners, returned as did Hastings Rugby and Sports women while newcomers Ponsonby Fillies played here as the Rebels. Local sides Avatiu Motor Centre Eels and T&M Crushers also had some exciting imports including Kiwi league women stars.
One of the really nice things about this tournament is the way overseas stars play in local teams so our boys and girls get the chance of playing with, as well as against, top class players.
The standard of women’s sevens in particular has improved dramatically. It’s always been popular with spectators but this year the skills and athleticism were noticeably better.
After three days of exciting and sporting rugby the final results were:
Men’s Cup: College Rifles beat Tauae Bulls 26-5
Men’s Plate: General Transport Tabusoro beat Vonnia’s Viking 22-12
Men’s Bowl: Nga-Mat Flying Dragons beat Araura Enua 14-5
Men’s Shield: Te Ara Wheke beat Porirua Magic
Women’s Cup: Titikaveka Titans beat College Rifles 17-5
Women’s Plate: Rebels beat Hastings Rugby & Sport 19-5
Women’s Bowl: Avatiu Eels beat T&M Crushers 24-5
As usual, the off-field activities were as much fun as the on-field. The costume competition for groups and supporters saw some amazing outfits – people put a lot of effort into dressing up and having a good time.
This year’s theme was ‘Shuffle it at the Sevens’ so of course there was a shufflin’ competition for kids and others.
I have to confess that I didn't know shuffling was a sort of dance. Mind you, I’ve seen people doing it but didn’t realize it had a name.
Well, you’re never too old to learn something new.