Saunaka Chases Coral Coast Sevens Title

Fiji v Cook Islands - Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier
LAUTOKA, FIJI - JUNE 28: A general view of Churchill park during the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying match between Fiji and the Cook Islands at Churchill Park on June 28, 2014 in Lautoka, Fiji. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

This week, attention has been on the at the Mana Whey Coral Coast Sevens tournament. And rightly so, as this well established and popular annual event will attract plenty of attention locally, and Internationally.

‘It’s all system go’ in Singatoka, as leading side Saunaka chases Coral Coast Sevens title to go back-to-back. The Men’s competition will begin Friday morning at Lawaqa Park, with 16 teams vying for the crown. They are joined by Hong Kong and Germany international teams, complimenting all the local sides.

The tournament continues to attract international attention, with former Wallaby captain George Gregan the official Mana Whey Tournament Ambassador for 2017. He was honoured to be inducted onto the CC7’s ‘Walk of Fame’ for his contribution to rugby, and promoting the game in the Pacific.

As well, high profile NBC sports broadcaster Brian Hightower is here, along with a full compliment of World Rugby Sevens commentators. Former Kiwi sevens captain Karl Te Nana leads the commentary team, together with Sean Maloney of Fox Sports. They both feature in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as resident commentators.

This tournament has a fine history, and the media attention is high, with senior Pacific and Women’s sport journalist Jill Scanlon profiling the competition. Also making an appearance here is RadioSport New Zealand’s Mark Watson. Together, the international media will take the CC7’s to the world.

Mana Whey Coral Coast Sevens 2016

  • Pool A – Police, Army, Outrigger and BLK Fiji
  • Pool B – Uluinakau, Daveta, Uprising and Yasawa
  • Pool C – Hong Kong, Wardens, Ratu Filise and Coastline Roos
  • Pool D – Saunaka, Yamacia, Germany and Taveuni

Saunaka Chases Coral Coast Sevens Title

Former Fiji sevens representatives will feature heavily for the Nadi-based side, with Tuwai and Saqiwa. They have also brought in another flyer, Sainivalati Ravuwai. Saunaka will be the team to beat in the tournament, they are so focused on this weekend.

Their main competition will be the ever-improving Germans and Yamacia. However, they won’t take Taveuni lightly. Tuwai [who was dropped from the national side] will be using this tournament as a ‘comeback’ platform. On the other hand, Saqiwa and Ravuwai will be hoping they catch National coach Gareth Baber’s eyes.

While the Fiji Sevens Series team are still to be confirmed, all available places will be hard fought for. Selectors will be monitoring form, fitness and players attitudes–and that is where the best prepared sides will shine brightly.

Police Out To Retain Cup Title

Defending champions Police will be out to retain their title again in 2017. The long established Police team have a fine pedigree–winning many titles, going back over 30 years–and they have prepared the players in this years team who can deliver when needed. However, their biggest threat in Pool A, is the Aisake Katonibau led Army side.

Katonibau; like Tuwai is making a comeback too. The boys from Delainabua are known for their unpredictability and this weekend ‘won’t be any different’.

Giant-killers Daveta are the team to beat in Pool B, along with Wardens in Pool C. These teams are expected to make the quarter finals from their pools, but in the game of sevens ‘you can’t be so sure’

Other Teams to Watch at CC7’s

Central Coast Sevens runners up Uluinakau will be one, as they will be wanting to improve on that fine result in 2016. How teams carry on with past performances will show how prepared they are. Weeks of training and effort, come down to Day One especially. The boys from the Garden Island of Taveuni will be another local side to watch.

The invited sides, Hong Kong and Germany are not to be ignored. Hong Kong will be led by Max Woodward, together with Rowan Varty and Jamie Hood. The 2017 team is coached by Gareth Barber’s former assistant, Jevon Groves [a former Welsh sevens player] so they might be a handful for Wardens, Ratu Filise and the Coastline Roos teams.

Tuva Wins Youth Tournament

The young Tuva outfit; who had the services of Waisake Naholo’s younger brother, took out the Uprising Youth Cup yesterday. They defeated King 7’s select 7-0 in the grand final.

In the semi finals, they overcame defending champs Lelean while King 7’s defeated another giant Fiji team, RKS 12-0. It was a brilliant two day tournament for the youth, with lots of talent on display.

In other results; Nadi Academy defeated the Uprising team 12-5, to claim the Plate. The Bowl went to Nadroga Academy who defeated Davuilevu Knights 24-12. Natabua overcame a second, very determined Davetalevu side 12-5, to take the Shield back to the township of Lautoka.

Well done to all youth sides competing on the main field, in front of a big crowd of family, friends and many interested observers looking at new talent on show this week.

Fijiana and Japan Ran Riot on Day One

The shadow Fijiana side Telecom Mokosoi and Japan sides ‘ran riot’ on Day One of the Crest Na Iri competition. They were a class above the rest, to both finish day one undefeated. The Ana Maria Rogica led Mokosoi racked up the highest score of the day–a 62-0 walloping of the Australian composite team, Jillaroos.

Japan on the other hand were taken to the wire by Nadi Blazers and Striders. For Japan though, it was their perfect timing in substitutions that gave them the advantage. Blazers and Striders can still spoil the party on Day Two if they work on their ‘decision making’.

Giving away silly penalties, and losing the ball carelessly hindered the two teams in opening pool games. If they can work on that, they will be a different team. Many of the other teams appear to be less organized, but the locals still cheer on the women as the put everything on the line for their jersey.

Women’s Tournament Day One Results

Pool E – Telecom Mokosoi 40 Marist Seahawks 0 | Wardens 17 Jillaroos 15 | Telecom Mokosoi 50 Wardens 0 | Marist Seahawks 38 Jillaroos 0 | Telecom Mokosoi 62 Jillaroos 0 | Marist Seahawks 19 Wardens 7

Pool F – Japan 26 Nadi Blazers 17 | Striders 45 Coastal Owls 5 | Japan 24 Striders 19 | Nadi Blazers 49 Coastal Owls 0 | Japan 46 Coastal Owls 0 | Nadi Blazers 26 Striders 12

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