Day three of the 2019 McDonalds Coral Coast Sevens will see the start of the I Wau men’s competition, with local side Tabadamu chasing their maiden title.
The mix of 16 invited and local-based sides is what is popular about the CC7s tournament. Based on the fun of playing sevens in Fiji, teams like Police – who will be defending their title at Lawaqa Park – and Tabadamu each have their fans support to motivate them. And of course, familiarity with the conditions.
The four-day tournament; which started on Wednesday, will end this Saturday, with the winner crowned in front of the smiling crowds. Tabadamu wishes to enjoy their maiden title, while others challenge to secure the prestigious men’s Cup.
Bryan Habana, the former Springboks star, is the Tournament ambassador. He was also inducted into the Rugby Sevens ‘Walk of Fame’ in the rugby-crazed town of Sigatoka. Habana joins some of the famous rugby names who have been Tournament ambassadors before; like Ben Gollings, Waisale Serevi and Karl Te Nana among others.
She's from Sigatoka y'all 🤷♂️🐴👋 pic.twitter.com/bWtnAMqEJf
— HāiVaHewa 🇫🇯 (@SamuelaKuridran) January 17, 2019
Sean Maloney of Australian broadcaster Fox Sports – a familiar voice in the HSBC Sevens Series – leads the commentary team, which always adds to the glamour of this tournament. Fans of rugby sevens from around the world can tune into the Livestream feed, to watch the action as it unfolds.
Watch LIVE on FijiTV's LIVE stream! #fijitv #fijicc7s 🌴 #mcdonaldsfiji 👍🏽 #fijinow 🇫🇯 #fijiscoralcoast 🔆 #sigatoka #rugbysevens 🏆 #sevens #wouldyouliketrieswiththat#fijinow #fijiscoralcoast #fijitime #sunshine #iphonephotography #sigatoka #fiji https://t.co/UED4asI9Cz
— Fiji's Coral Coast 7s (@Coralcoast7s) January 17, 2019
Local sides look to hold out Invited teams
Local champions Tabadamu have won many titles on the Island and internationally too but, the Coral Coast Sevens I Wau title has always evaded them. They won their local tournament last weekend, which has set them up for a real challenge for the silverware this weekend.
Police leads Pool A, along with First Light Taveuni, Dratabu and BLK. Tabadamu head Pool B, with the Paul John coached Hong Kong side together with Sigatoka River Safari Henibua and Lokalevu.
Aussie Development is placed in Pool C, with the United States Stars Rugby team, Nasaunivalu and Outrigger. Pool D has local giants Ratu Filise and Coastal Brothers, going up against National Fire Authority and Suva Stallions.
2019 McDonalds Coral Coast Sevens invited teams will ‘bring it’
With the winner’s trophy in mind, stiff competition will come from the Australian Development side, where Matt Hood, Brandon Quinn, Sam Meyers and Jeral Skelton all add real quality. These men have featured in the HSBC Sevens Series lately for the Aussies, and have built-up a great understanding. That familiarity will be tested though, in the humid conditions of Sigatoka.
Stars Rugby have roped in Pio Tuwai and Joeli Lutumailagi; both former Fijian Sevens stars, who are well renowned for their crafty Sevens skills. The American composite side can bring the International surprise package that delights fans so much.
Wanting to match them, will be the Police side. The most consistent local side in the tournament, with traditional and pride a motivation pushing them to match any team. Ratu Filise will be the underdogs, with First Light Taveuni and Dratabu sides who should reach the knockout stages on Saturday.
BLK; with former Sevens star Emosi Mulevoro, will offer tough challenges to opposing sides, together with Lokalevu – who are an unknown quantity that should not be underestimated. Coastal Brothers and the National Fire Authority team will be out to take their opponents to the wire.
For rugby observers, it will be great to see how far they will go in the tournament. To learn all they can from the opportunities here, and hope to ‘knock off’ a leading team along the way.
It all makes for the unknown, on Day three of the busy CC7s schedule.
Last Word on Rugby – the CC7s final Verdict
Tabadamu; with all their knowledge of the local game, will be hometown favorites. However, the strong Police squad knows how to win this event They will be aggressive and determined, just like First Light Taveuni and the impressive Aussie Development side.
Hong Kong can spring surprises, with their enthusiasm to learn and to improve on past performances. The Stars Rugby team could gel in the welcoming heart of Fiji rugby sevens, as will Ratu Filise.
The verdict is – if you are on the Island, then get on down to Lawaqa Park. If you are unable to be in Sigatoka, then the next best thing to being there, is to watch the 2019 McDonalds Coral Coast Sevens on Livestream feed, for some of the best rugby sevens game.
The skills will be top notch, the atmosphere will be electric, and it will match the success of past editions of both the men’s and women’s competitions.
“Main Photo Credit”