UON Central Coast Sevens: Fijian Sides Dominate As Draw Announced

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Rugby - Olympics: Day 6
Players run onto the pitch as the sun sets during the Men's Rugby Sevens placing 7-8 match between France and Australia on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

One of the toughest sevens tournament–outside the HSBC Sevens Series –is the 2017 UON Central Coast Sevens. The hugely popular event has grown each year, says co-founder and tournament co-ordinator Craig Morgan. Scheduled for October 27-29, the tournament will be held at the Wyong Rugby Club Ground in Kanwal, Central Coast.

Morgan spoke with Last Word on Rugby Sevens reporter Jovilisi Waqa, after the live draw was completed on Wednesday.

“Fans can expect a weekend of exciting sevens action, with some of the best in the world competing across the men’s and women’s tournaments.”

The Central Coast Sevens is fast becoming as one of the great International invitation sevens tournaments in the world. The Central Coast Sevens (CC7’s) concept was founded in 2008, with the inaugural tournament being played in 2009.

CC7s a Stepping Stone for Sevens Stars

The tournament has unearthed many stars onto the international sevens arena. Not only in Australia, but Fiji and Canada among others. It is growing to be the best club/international tournament within the Pacific Region. And for good reasons, with teams approaching the event organizers, for the limited places.

The full UON Central Coast Sevens draw has just been released, and Last Word on Rugby are one of the first media organizations to share the full schedule (see below). Fijian sides dominate, as the 2017 pool draw see’s the best of Fiji, Australia, US and a Chinese team entrant.

UON Central Coast Sevens Craig Morgan

Speaking with tournament co-ordinator Craig Morgan, he revealed the goals and ideals of the men’s and women’s event, after the live draw on Facebook.

LWOR – Which teams are likely favorites?

“We have no expectations for winners anymore with the nature of sevens so unpredictable and exciting and with upsets often on the cards, which is one of the beautiful features of the game.”

LWOR – Which teams should fans watch out for?

“We have some great teams competing with the likes of defending champions Australia and the Fiji Barbarians but no team should be underestimated. With sides like Stallions rumoured to have a quality team coming together, and Uluinakau last years runner up hungry to go one better”.

2017 UON Central Coast Sevens Tournament Ambassadors

Like every major tournament, CC7s have their tournament Ambassadors. These are mostly former/current players who help in promoting the game, with media and VIPs. This year there are six ambassadors.

Olympian and Aussie 7s star Jesse Parahi is one. An exciting player, who has just extended his contract with the Australia Rugby Union until 2018.

Jesse Parahi
Jesse Parahi of the Australian Men’s Sevens Rugby Team, July 14, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Jesse told Jovi Waqa “Judging by the make up of the pools, it will be an absolute cracker of a tournament again this year. Craig has again done an outstanding job in bringing some of the world’s best to the Central Coast.

“There is not much in it, but I think Pool A & B are slightly tougher. There will be some solid games in those games.”

Parahi Pleased With the 2017 Draw

Speaking on his own participation, “Whatever team end up in for the CC7s I’m sure we will be mostly focusing on our own execution, which won’t leave much time about other teams. But if I had to pick out some teams that I think will well, any of the Fijian teams are always a safe bet.

“From what I hear, the Stallions are putting together a pretty promising squad. And Sunnybank are a very strong 7s squad.”

Parahi leads the CC7s pack that includes Wallaby & Western Force flanker Matt Hodgson; himself a former Central Coast player. Another is former Wallaroo & Aussie 7s star Cobie-Jane Morgan. To compliment them are Paralympic athlete Curtis Palmer, and former Wallaby Adam-Ashley Cooper.

These high performing players will all help in promoting the tournament, towards the first day of competition; October 27.

Join the Rugby Sevens Celebration

The Central Coast of Australia is the perfect location to enjoy the three day tournament. For those who can, the facilities and pleasant weather are perfect conditions for a sevens festival. But for those not in attendance, the wonders of the internet can make do.

“We will be live streaming every match of both tournaments for viewers to enjoy from around the world. We hope that people tune in and enjoy all the action and support their teams; if they can’t be at the tournament live,” says Morgan.

Fijian Sides Dominate As Pool Draw Announced

Fijian sides invited to the 2017 tourney include their ‘shadow’ national Women’s and Men’s sides. A Fijiana and Fiji Baabaas will surely be favorites, so are the New Zealand and Aussie Development sides.

However, don’t count out the Fijian club sides, like Uluinakau and First Light Taveuni. They will test the bigger sides metal. Last year, Sam Meyers of Australia and Setareki Bituniyata of Fiji, made their name known to the world after good outings at this tournament.

This year, new names will present themselves onto the world stage, and plenty of excitement awaits during the two-day tourney.

The AON Central Coast Sevens consists of the Women’s and Men’s competitions. Plus, there is the Simply Smashing Cup Under 17 development tournament, promoting the next generation of girls and boys sevens players.

Kinesio Cup Women’s Pool Draws

The defending Kinesio Cup champs Australia are hot favorites to defend their title. They lead Pool A which also has the Chinese national side, University of Queensland and Central North.

Canada heads Pool B with the Cook Islands national side who are building for the Oceania Sevens Rugby World Cup Sevens Qualifiers. They are joined by local sides Sunnybank and Avoca Beach.

The New Zealand Development side will head Pool C which also has ACT Brumbies, Pride 7s and Randwick Magic. The Kiwis are testing out new talents heading into the new HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.

Fijiana leads Pool D along with the Sydney University. The girls from the South Sea Isle are building for their busiest season ever, so it is critical they girls take a big first step. And will be testing some young exciting new talents in the tournament. Stars Rugby 7s and Hunters make up the Pool, and add to the depth of competition in this years women’s draw.

UON Cup Men’s Tournament Pools

The Mens competition is expected to be as tough as ever, with 16 strong teams–including five Fijian sides.

Ratu Filise were a late withdrawal from the tournament, due to unforeseen circumstances. However, last years finalist Uluinakau Babas, First Light Taveuni and Fiji Baabaas will challenge the defending champs Australia.

The Aussies lead Pool A with ACT Brumbies, Stars Rugby Sevens and tournament underdogs Tabadamu. They will each give the Aussies a good run for their money in an exciting pool.

Fiji Baabaas will headline Pool B with Sunnybank, Australian University and NSW 7s. With three very good local sides to contend with, the Barbarians have to draw on all their talent. Currently attending the Oktoberfest in Munich, that will give the men good time together, before the CC7s.

Last year’s finalist, Uluinakau heads Pool C which also has fellow Fijian team Stallions. They take on West Harbour and University of Queensland.

Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens winners First Light Taveuni leads Pool D with Toloa of Tonga. The island sides face Australia Development and the Chinese national sides.

UON CC7s: What to expect?

The Fijians might ‘razzle and dazzle’ but the Aussie sides will definitely bring the challenge. It is great to see the Chinese National sides playing in the 2017 tournament, expanding their knowledge and gaining wonderful experiences.

Tongan champions Toloa will also provide stiff competition, as will Stars Rugby. This composite team will be fielding some good, up-and-coming United States players in their squads, to carry on the spirit of the Central Coast Sevens.

They will all add color and flavor to the UON Central Coast Sevens tournament, as will every side competing. Be sure to follow the build-up to the event with Last Word on Rugby.

 

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