Police Dethrone Taveuni in Sigatoka

Police Dethrone Taveuni in Sigatoka

Police eased past First Light Taveuni 34-7 to win the Mana Whey Coral Coast Sevens at Lawaqa Park.

The lawmen added a third title to victories in 2014 and 2016 with a comprehensive victory in the final over the defending champions.

Police were in command from the opening whistle leading 17-7 at the break following tries to Sakeo Railoa, Saimoni Ratuisoa and Belasio Vukiwai

Railoa completed his hattrick and Ratuisoa bagged a second as Police doubled their score in the second term.

Police's Sakeo Railoa was named Campese-Serevi medal winner as player of the tournament.

Captain Sitiveni Waqa said they delivered for their closest supporters when it mattered.

“We finished yesterday, went back and we’ve been talking. We made a lot of errors yesterday So we go back, we regroup again," Waqa said. "We told each other today’s the last day so if we go back to Sigatoka we have to take something back home to family who home waiting for us.“

“It means a lot for the team especially for one of our colleagues who passed away last year . Since he has passed away we have not been playing any tournaments, so this win means a lot for us dedicated to him."

Ravuka Sharks claimed their first silverware in Sigatoka with a narrow 12-10 win over Wardens in the Plate.

Meanwhile, two sponsor teams - Shangri-La and Outrigger - also took home their share of the $70,000 in prizemoney.

Almost 7,000 fans packed Lawaqa Park in the eighth edition of Fiji's premier sevens tournament, watched on by former New Zealand captain DJ Forbes, referee Rasta Rasivhenge, Olympic-winning coach Ben Ryan and the King of Sevens Waisale Serevi.

“It is one of the best tournaments I’ve ever seen, well organised, games were so exciting right through from the first pool game through to the finals, Serevi said. "We now cannot predict which teams will win the tournament. The pool games is like quarter finals and semi finals standard. It’s getting tougher stronger and more exciting to watch."

The semi-finals saw the 2017 champions First Light Taveuni power past Ratu Filise securing 19-0 win while Police and McDonald’s Saunaka had a tougher battle with Police holding on for a single try win 12-7 to get to the final.

Wardens' Asesela Ratudamu won the Jonah Lomu medal as top tryscorer with eight.

RESULTS OF THE MANA WHEY FIJI CORAL COAST SEVENS, Sigatoka

Final
Police 34 First Light Taveuni 7

Semi Finals

First Light Taveuni 19 Ratu Filise 0
Police 12 McDonalds Saunaka 7

Quarter Finals
First Light Taveuni 17 Ravuka Sharks 12
Ratu Filise 17 Cross of Victory Taveuni 12
McDonalds Saunaka 19 Wardens 12
Police 29 Suva Stallions 7

Plate
Ravuka Sharks 12 Wardens 10

Bowl
Shangri-La's Daveta 12 SRS Henibua 7

Shield
Outrigger Beach Resort 19 Hong Kong 12

For complete results fijicoralcoastsevens.com

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein (Tabua sponsor), Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari (strategic partners), Crest, McDonald's, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort (prime partners), Bedarra Beach Inn, Gecko's Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa (official hotels), CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV (media partners), Airports Fiji Ltd, Aqua Pacific, BLK, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, Hot Glass Fiji, Mana Graphix, Pacific Destinations, Quality Print, Slater Media, Sports Now, Sun Insurance, Tappoo and Vodafone (official suppliers).

Striders Break Coral Coast Drought

Striders Break Coral Coast Drought

Striders are the Crest Na Iri Women’s Champions in 2018 after a 19-12 victory over Hong Kong at Lawaqa Park.

This is Striders' sixth year at the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens but the big prize had eluded them until today.

Striders team Talica Vodo, named Player of the Tournament, could not stop smiling as she expressed her pride in the team.

“We are really proud because our aim was to finish in the top five to improve on our standard last year but we’re really happy we managed to win the tournament this year,” she said.

“It’s the first time some of them are playing in this type of big tournament so I’m really proud of everyone.”

The semi-finals saw the three internationals and, in a minor surprise, just one local team battle it out for a spot in the decider.

Hong Kong defeated Stars USA in a gripping finish which saw the Asian team run in a try after the siren to steal a 19-17 win.

In the second semi-final, Striders thumped Japan 29-7 in a result which saw last year's runners up outplayed across the park.

Vodo said they just followed the coach’s instructions.

“The coach just said enjoy the game and relax – that was the message – get the basics right and we did that.”

Hong Kong Women’s coach, Kevin West, was pleased with the resilience his team showed in facing a different style of rugby.

“One of the things we struggle with is we have a lot of Asian competition. To have to face different teams and have to adapt to the way different teams play and adapt our style, is a great challenge for us,” he said.

West is also keen to return in 2019.

“It’s been fantastic - we’ve got so much out of it. It’s well run, the competition standard is amazing and it’s a hard game, every game so we have learnt so much through the course of it.”

The Men’s competition also kicked off on Friday with 16 teams in four pools aiming for a shot at the prestigious trophy and the $20,000 first prize.

Unlike the Women’s competition, the international visitors struggled on the first day, notably Hong Kong who finished without a win.

Defending champions First Light Taveuni  and crowd favorites Ratu Filise were among the strong performers.

Wardens joined those two teams in going through undefeated.

The quarter finals kick off at 10:00 tomorrow.

 

RESULTS OF THE CREST NA IRI TROPHY, Lawaqa Park

Cup

Striders 19 Hong Kong 12

Plate

Fijiana Makosoi 22 Nadi Aviators 21

 

QUARTER FINALS FOR THE MANA WHEY FIJI CORAL COAST SEVENS, Lawaqa Park

Cup

First Light Taveuni v Ravuka Sharks

Cross of Victory v Ratu Filise

Wardens v McDonalds Saunaka

Police v Shipping Services Suva Stallions

 

Bowl

Shangi-La's Daveta v Outrigger

Tovolea v BLK Iron Courage

Stars USA v Hong Kong

Lomavata Blues v SRS Henibua

For complete results fijicoralcoastsevens.com

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein (Tabua sponsor), Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari (strategic partners), Crest, McDonald's, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort (prime partners), Bedarra Beach Inn, Gecko's Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa (official hotels), CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV (media partners), Airports Fiji Ltd, Aqua Pacific, BLK, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, Hot Glass Fiji, Mana Graphix, Pacific Destinations, Quality Print, Slater Media, Sports Now, Sun Insurance, Tappoo and Vodafone (official suppliers).

Tuva Retain Uprising Title In Thriller

Tuva Retain Uprising Title In Thriller

TUVA Youth took out their second consecutive Uprising Youth 7s in extra time at Lawaqa Park.

The final against the New Zealand-based Wesley Fijians team was hard-fought with the score tied up at 5-5 at both half-time and when the siren sounded to mark full-time.

In sudden death extra time, and despite the visitors gaining consecutive penalties, a quick break by Iliasa Droasese to scramble to the line saw Tuva retain their title to the delight of the large and very vocal crowd.  

Droasese received the Lote Tuquiri MVP award from Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens guest, Olympic gold medal winning coach Ben Ryan.

Tuva set the tone for the Final from the start of the day where they scored 17 points in the second half to take their quarter final against Malolo 22-14.

Similarly against Hong Kong in the semi-final, a last minute try gave them a narrow 12-7 victory.

Hong Kong Youth coach Stephen Dowse was pleased with his team’s performance despite losing the semi-final.

“When we came to this tournament we didn’t really set any expectations in terms of placing," Dowse said. “It’s a tough competition and it’s what we wanted to test ourselves at the next level.

“We knew there’d be individually skilful players, fast players and powerful players. What’s been pleasing for us is that we’ve learnt and we’ve seen that if we play with structure and we use our strengths then we’re more than capable of competing at this level.”

Tournament Ambassador DJ Forbes watched the finals and was impressed with the talent he saw from these young men.

“It’s awesome. It doesn’t matter what age they are they’ve got to chuck the ball around and have fun,” he said. “There are a couple of those boys that could even be playing in a provincial side or even the national side.

“It’s a good breeding ground and I’m sure there’ll be a few coaches in the stands watching all the talent coming through.”

Meanwhile, two of the three international teams went undefeated on the first day of the Crest Na Iri Women’s competition.

Japan SDS team made its intentions clear with dominant performances against Hotsprings Savusavu 50-0 and Nadi Blazers, 33-7 while Stars USA surprised many with its last minute victory over last year’s champions Fijiana Makosoi 17-12.

Stars Director of Rugby Liz Entwhistle was very pleased but not surprised by the result saying the team had put in a lot of work.

“We have played against Fijiana several times in the past at Central Coast Sevens (NSW) but being able to play them on their home field and at their home tournament, we knew we needed a structured game plan,” she said.

“We had a very vital scrum at the end that we were able to win and get the ball out wide.Swinging the ball to the outside and using our speed and an offload game - we played with a little bit of Fijian flair -  on the far side of the field that eventually set up the try to win it.”

The Men’s competition will get the Friday morning action underway with the Crest Na Iri Women’s quarter finals kicking off at 10.54am.

RESULTS OF THE UPRISING YOUTH 7s, Lawaqa Park

Cup

Tuva Youth 10 KISSP Investment Wesley Fijians 5 (AET)

Plate

Rugby Academy (Fiji) 17 First Light Taveuni 7

Bowl

Cuvu Blues 19 Northern Spirit 5

Shield

Ratu Filise 12 Togobula 7

 

QUARTER FINALS FOR THE CREST NA IRI TROPHY, Lawaqa Park

Cup

Stars USA v Hotspring Savusavu

Fijiana Makosoi v Hong Kong

Japan SDS v SNAX Nadi Aviators

Striders v Nadi Blazers

 

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein (Tabua sponsor), Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari (strategic partners), Crest, McDonald's, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort (prime partners), Bedarra Beach Inn, Gecko's Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa (official hotels), CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV (media partners), Airports Fiji Ltd, Aqua Pacific, BLK, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, GO Advertising, Hot Glass Fiji, Mana Graphix, Pacific Destinations, Quality Print, Slater Media, Sports Now, Sun Insurance, Tappoo and Vodafone (official suppliers).

 

For complete results fijicoralcoastsevens.com

Favourites Ease Into Uprising Quarter Finals

Locals Tuva Youth and First Light Taveuni and both international teams - Hong Kong and Wesley Fijian - shone on the opening day of the Uprising Youth 7s in Sigatoka.

The defending champions beat Togabula 34-0, Ratu Filise 26-0 and Lomavata Kangaroos 28-5 in a dominant display in Pool A.

Tuva Youth will play Malolo in tomorrow's quarter final.

First Light Taveuni edged Cuvu Blues 12-7 and Ratu Kadavulevu School 17-14 although had an easier 27-7 win over Nasaunivalu and play Hong Kong in the quarters.

Hong Kong, one of three teams the Union has brought to Fiji, beat Ra Barbarians 31-7, Nailaga 31-7 and Northern Spirit 26-14. Kowloon's Sam Tsoi scored four tries on the opening day.

However the top try scorer on day one of the four-day rugby sevens festival was KISSP Wesley Fijian's Selesitino Ravutaumada who bagged six in three matches.

The invitational selection from Paerata (near Auckland) were untroubled against Malolo 19-0, SRS Henibua 27-5 and Cuvu Marine 33-0 and will play Rugby Academy (Fiji) in the last eight.

Wesley coach David Qaranivula said:

"We have made a good start to the tournament but there is still a lot to work on. The boys are excited to be back in Fiji playing in the home of their birth and they have worked very hard preparing for this tournament.

“The atmosphere at Lawaqa Park makes us all proud to be here and for our families back home.”

The winners of the Uprising Youth 7s wins $10,000.

Thursday also sees the return of the Crest Na Iri Trophy with nine women's teams including three from overseas.

Japan return after an outstanding first appearance last year, where they made the final, while Hong Kong join their youth and men's teams for the first time.

Stars USA, an invitation team with players from around the world, also take on the locals from 10:40 am. Telecom Fijiana Makosol is the reigning champion.

As is tradition at the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens, a special guest from the world of elite rugby is invited each year to be honoured with a plaque laid in the Sigatoka Rugby Walk of Fame.

This year’s recipient is former New Zealand Sevens captain  DJ Forbes who joins previous inductees including Waisale Serevi, Jonah Lomu and George Gregan.

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein (Tabua sponsor), Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari (strategic partners), Crest, McDonald's, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort (prime partners), Bedarra Beach Inn, Gecko's Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa (official hotels), CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV (media partners), Airports Fiji Ltd, Aqua Pacific, BLK, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, GO Advertising, Hot Glass Fiji, Mana Graphix, Pacific Destinations, Quality Print, Slater Media, Sports Now, Sun Insurance, Tappoo and Vodafone (official suppliers).

QUARTER FINALS FOR THE UPRISING YOUTH 7s, Lawaqa Park

Cup

Tuva Youth v Malolo

First Light Taveuni v Hong Kong

Rugby Academy (Fiji) v KISSP Investment Wesley Fijians

Rugby Academy (Fiji) 2 v Kings Selects

 

Bowl

RKS v Ratu Filise

Northern Spirit v Ravuka Sharks

Davatelevu v Nailaga

Togobula v Cuvu Blues

 

POOLS FOR THE CREST NA IRI TROPHY

Pool K: Fijiana Makosoi, Stars USA, Blue Light Sisters

Pool L: Japan SDS, Nadi Blazers, Hotspring Savusavu

Pool M: Hong Kong, SNAX Nadi Aviators, Striders

 

For more information: fijicoralcoastsevens.com

Stage Set For Sigatoka Showdown

Stage Set For Sigatoka Showdown

Defending champion Tuva Youth have named a strong side for the Uprising Youth 7s which starts tomorrow in Sigatoka.

The Semo, Nadroga team includes four Fiji U18 representatives in Napolioni Kurisiga, Peniasi Vosawale, Douglas Daveta and Ilaisa Droasese.

The two-day Uprising Youth 7s is the curtain raiser to the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens which continues until Saturday at Lawaqa Park.

Tuvu takes on Togobula in the opening match at 10am and later tackles Ratu Filise and the Lomavata Kangaroos in Pool A.

Former Fiji international Seremaia Bai is coaching two Rugby Academy teams, one in Pool B against Kings 7s select, Natabua Beez and Dratabu, and the other in Pool C with Yasawa, Ravuka Sharks and Davatelevu.

Ravuka Sharks has also qualified for the men's competition.

Pool D includes Cuvu Blues, another local Nadroga side, alongside Nasaunivalu, RKS and First Light Taveuni whose senior team created history winning last year's Coral Coast Sevens.

Visiting national side Hong Kong joins newly-formed Northern Spirit, Nailaga and Ra Barbarians in Pool E while Pool F features Sigatoka River Safari Henibua, a team consisting of players from eight villages in Naqalimare District, Navosa, Cuvu Marine, Malolo and the second international team Wesley Fijian.

The side from New Zealand's famous Wesley College is made up of ten Fijian students studying at the school along with two locally-based players and a Niue/Cook Islander.

Ratu Meli Derenalagi, one of the local boys, has represented Fiji U18.

The winner of the Uprising Youth 7s receives $10,000 after the Cup Final scheduled for 5pm on Thursday. The Crest Na Iri Trophy women’s competition plays out over Wednesday and Thursday while the men’s competition is held on Friday and Saturday at Lawaqa Park.

Organisers are expecting to exceed the 12,000 fans who attended in 2017.

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein, Crest, Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa, CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV, Vodafone, McDonald's, Gecko's Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, BLK, Mana Graphix, GO Advertising, Airports Fiji Ltd, Hot Glass Fiji, Sports Now, Tappoo, Quality Print, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, Pacific Destinations, Sun Insurance, Slater Media and Aqua Pacific.

POOLS FOR THE UPRISING YOUTH 7s, Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka
A: Tuva Youth, Lomavata Kangaroos, Ratu Filise Youth, Togobula
B: King 7s Select, Skylink Natabua Beez, Rugby Academy (Fiji) 2, Dratabu
C: Rugby Academy (Fiji), Pacific Island Air Yasawa Youth, Ravuka Sharks, Davetalevu
D: Cuvu Blues Youth, Exotic Travel Fiji Nasaunivalu, Ratu Kadavulevu School, First Light Taveuni
E: Hong Kong Youth, Northern Spirit, Nailaga, Ra Barbarians
F: KISSP Investment Wesley Fijian, Cuvu Marine, Sigatoka River Safari Henibua, Malolo.

For more information: fijicoralcoastsevens.com

Overseas Stars Arrive To Discover The Passion

Overseas Stars Arrive To Discover The Passion

The Hong Kong Rugby Union dominated the arrivals hall at Nadi International Airport today (Monday).

Three national teams - men's, women's and youth - have descended on Fiji for the eighth annual Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens which starts on Wednesday.

The men's team are drawn in a pool with three powerful local teams Ratu Filise, Tovolea and McDonald's Saunaka, who they lost to in the semi final of the Bowl last year.

"The interest from overseas teams adds further opportunity for local players to be exposed to high level 7s rugby," said founding chairman Jay Whyte. "It will be a great experience for local players to be able to play against national teams from overseas."

Hong Kong women play Snax Nadi Aviators and Striders while the youth team faces Northern Spirit, Nailaga and Ra Barbarians. Both teams are making their first visit to Sigatoka

A Japanese national women's development team arrives tomorrow for their second tilt at the Crest Na Iri Trophy while USA Stars, an invitational club, is fielding two teams - men's and women's - in the Coral Coast Sevens.

"USA Stars 7s team is thrilled to be making our debut at the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast 7s," said team manager Elizabeth Entwhistle.
"Our team has players and coaches hailing from Fiji and it has been a dream destination for us given the hospitality, the friendliness, and the quality of rugby in the islands."

Media from all three nations will be at Lawaqa Park with Tourism Fiji supporting rugby journalists Sam Agars, Rich Freeman and Brian Hightower, as well as New Zealander Peter White, to the tournament.

Ambassador DJ Forbes, the former New Zealand Sevens captain, referee Rasta Rasivhenge, 'the Maestro' Waisale Serevi and Olympic-winning coach Ben Ryan are all guests of the tournament.

"When DJ announced his retirement, we thought it would be a great opportunity to invite him to Fiji to be the ambassador for the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens," said Whyte. "We will unveil his plaque on the Rugbytown walk of fame alongside the likes of David Campese, Waisale Serevi, Jonah Lomu and George Gregan.

"We also welcome the return home of Ratu Peni Rayani to spend time at the tournament. Rasta Rasivhenge is coming back for the second time and we also have Serevi coming back."

In total 24 youth, 16 men's and nine women's teams square off at Lawaqa Park over four days with the Uprising Youth 7s kicking off the action on Wednesday.

For the second consecutive year the tournament offers free entry to spectators.

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is sponsored by MANA Whey Protein, Crest, Tourism Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Uprising Fiji Beach Resort, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort & Spa, CFL, Fiji Times, Fiji TV, Vodafone, McDonald's, Gecko's Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, BLK, Mana Graphix, GO Advertising, Airports Fiji Ltd, Hot Glass Fiji, Sports Now, Tappoo, Quality Print, Bula Car Rentals, Du Aull Services, Pacific Destinations, Sun Insurance, Ben Slater and Aqua Pacific.

 

For more information: fijicoralcoastsevens.com

International Rugby Stars to Visit Sigatoka

International Rugby Stars to Visit Sigatoka

Record-breaking rugby sevens player DJ Forbes is set to be a chief guest of the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens in January.

The former New Zealand Sevens captain will be unveiled on Sigatoka's Rugbytown Walk of Fame joining Waisale Serevi, David Campese, Ben Gollings, Viliame Satala, Jonah Lomu, Karl Tenana, Lote Tuqiri and George Gregan.

“I am looking forward to it as me and my family love visiting Fiji," said Forbes. "I've had some pretty good highs in sevens and being part of the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens will be another.”

The 34-year-old appeared in a remarkable 89 world sevens series tournaments over 11 years being on the winning side in 26 of those and claiming six World Series titles.

Forbes also captained New Zealand to gold at both the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2013 Sevens World Cup in Russia.

Popular referee Rasta Rasivhenge will return to Lawaqa Park along with three national teams - men's, women and youth - from Hong Kong. The men's team participated in 2017 where they made the Bowl semis.

“This tournament has to rank up with the highest standard across board of all tournaments I’ve ever been to in 14 years," said Hong Kong RFU High Performance manager Dai Rees. “The top eight teams here could easily go and compete on the world series and it’s a phenomenal experience in Sigatoka.”

Sixteen men's, eight women's and 20 youth teams - a blend of local and overseas sides - will participate in the eighth Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

"We are proud to continue our support of Fiji's premier rugby sevens tournament," said Chris Zaymaan, General Manager Fiji, Goodman Fielder International. "With legends like DJ and Rasta in attendance there will no doubt again be big crowds at the Mana Whey Coral Coast Sevens 2018.

"Having nations like Hong Kong see the benefits of the tournament is great news for all involved. We have supported women's rugby since the introduction of the Crest Na Iri Trophy in 2012 and are delighted that their women's team will be coming.

“We already look forward to the next Olympics so the Uprising Youth Sevens is a key part of the tournament as well. It is set to be a festival of rugby in less than 100 days from now.”

The Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens will be held on 17-20 January 2018 at Lawaqa Park. Further teams will be announced in due course.

ABC Radio Australia: Pacific Beat - Coral Coast delight as debutants take out the big prize in Sigatoka

ABC Radio Australia: Pacific Beat - Coral Coast delight as debutants take out the big prize in Sigatoka

A team of farmers from the garden island of Taveuni have pulled off a surprise win at the Coral Coast Sevens in Fiji, taking out the cup final on their first appearance in the tournament.

As expected the women's event was won by the shadow Fijiana squad, who brought an impressive run by the visiting Japanese team to an end in the decider.

Pacific Beat's sevens specialists, Nick Jordan, was at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka, to see the action unfold.

Click here to listen online.

Taveuni Complete Fairytale At Lawaqa

Taveuni Complete Fairytale At Lawaqa

The Garden Island of Taveuni is celebrating their status as the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens Champion.

The debutants scored two tries to win 12-10 in a closely-fought Cup final against Wardens and walk away with $20,000.

Captain Lemeki Tulele was awarded the Campese-Serevi Medal for Player of the Tournament.

Taveuni, who qualified for the Coral Coast Sevens via the Final Four in November, made it to the Cup final with an impressive 17-10 win over Crow's Nest Yasawa in the semi final, while Wardens defeated Army 19-5 with a solid performance.

Tulele said this win means everything to the team, their families and their island community.

“We always call them (families) after every game as they watch it on TV back  at home and they go around in the green colours all over Taveuni,” he said.

“We play locally, sometimes we go to Vanua Levu but this is our first time here  - we are really happy.”

Defending champions Police claimed the Outrigger Beach Resort Plate after being beaten by Taveuni in the quarter final while Saunaka won the Tourism Fiji Bowl over Germany.

Germany, one of two international teams which had faltered on the first day, hit back on the second securing wins over BLK Iron Courage 17-14 and Shangri-La Daveta 22-19 before coming unstuck against the Pio Tuwai-inspired Saunaka.

Their win the semi was one of the all-time great comebacks. Scoreless in the first half, the visitors overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat Daveta 22-19 at the final siren. 

Hong Kong went no further than the Bowl semis going down to Saunaka also by two points and missing a conversion on the last play of the day.

Hong Kong RFU High Performance manager Dai Rees was not at all fazed by the team’s performance over the competition  and sang the praises of the tournament overall.

“It's my first visit to Fiji and I’ve got to say this tournament has to rank up with the highest standard across board of all tournaments I’ve ever been to in 14 years.

“The top eight teams here could easily go and compete on the world series and it’s just been a phenomenal experience.

“As a senior manager with the union at Hong Kong I’ll certainly be bringing the players back – and I have an ambition to bring down a junior team and even a women’s team."

Former New Zealand Sevens captain Karl te Nana echoed Rees' comments.

"It really has become a top-class event and the way it’s run, the way the people have come in and supported it from Sigatoka and all over Fiji, I think is a real credit to all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes," he said.

"There are lessons in the performance of Taveuni that of you’re willing to work hard, believe in each other and do the team work then things will come.  It was a tough Cup final and they showed a lot of resilience and in the end they got the rewards."

Te Nana called the Coral Coast Sevens the premier tournament in Fiji given the eight women's and 24 youth teams that also made up the event.

The MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is proudly supported by Goodman Fielder Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Tourism Fiji, Outrigger Beach Resort, Uprising Beach Resort, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, The Naviti Resort, Crow's Nest Resort, Gecko’s Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, Fiji Times, Viti FM and Fiji TV.

RESULTS OF THE MANA WHEY FIJI CORAL COAST SEVENS

I-wau (Cup)
First Light Taveuni 12 Wardens 10

Plate
Police 19 Uluinakau 17

Bowl
McDonald's Saunaka 21 Germany 19

Shield
prising 28 BLK Iron Courage 12

Full results and draws are available on http://fijicoralcoastsevens.com/schedule-and-results/ 

Fiji Women On Fire On Home Soil

Fiji Women On Fire On Home Soil

The shadow Fijiana women’s team is again the champion of the Crest Na Iri Trophy.

Telecom Makosoi defeated the visiting Japan team 42-7 to convincingly retain the women’s section of the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

Expectations had been raised for a tight match with the young Japanese having an unbeaten run over the two days.

But, in a dream final for the organisers, the Makosoi team had other ideas and the Fijian players stamped their authority to hold a 35 -0 lead at half time.  Captain Ana Maria Roqica lead from the front, as is her reputation, to put the hosts in an unassailable position at the break.

Japan restricted the Makosoi to just one try in the second half and scored a consolation try seconds before the final siren.

Japan earlier beat the Jillaroos 29-0 and the Marist Seahawks 26-19 on the way to the final while Mayo Shizu, with nine, was the top tryscorer for the women’s competition.

Former Wallabies captain George Gregan, the tournament’s guest of honour, was impressed with the endeavour of the Japan team.

“It was great to see the Japanese team get to the final; they played some tough games over the last two days and got rewarded with playing in a final,” he said. “But that’s the experience they will get because there are a lot of Fijian national players in that (Makosoi) team and unless you get exposed to that level you don’t understand where you are and they will be the better for it.”

Gregan added that the Makosoi team were deserved champions.

“I was really impressed by their skillset and they fought hard in that final.”

Fijian Women’s XVs captain Lailanie Burnes was also thrilled with the tournament.

The recently-crowned FRU player of the year has strong ties to the Nadi Blazers and supported her team from the sidelines asthey went down 0-48 to Makosoi in the semi final.

“The standard has grown in leaps and bounds and brought that bar up to the next level to now where I’m really impressed with how everyone is performing.”

Mana Whey Sevens Brings Early Surprises

The 16-strong men’s competition began with pool play and there were two stories to come out of the day’s play.

The first was the failure of the international teams – Germany and Hong Kong – to win any matches against the local teams.

Germany’s first game against Taveuni, despite strong support from the local crowd, turned out to be a tough contest. The visitors lead 7-5 at the break but Taveuni struck back with three second half tries to win 17-12.

Germany then went down to Yamacia 29-7 and Saunaka 15-12 to drop to the Bowl.

Hong Kong also suffered a lesson in the local ways as the Coastal Roos ran in seven tries to post a 40-12 win and Ratu Filise scored a 19-5 triumph.

Worse was to follow as 2011 champions Wardens dealt a 43-5 thrashing to Jevon Groves’ men.

The second story of the day is more of a fairytale. Taveuni hails from ‘the garden island’ more than half a day away and is making a debut appearance at the tournament.

Taveuni finished with a perfect record – defeating Germany, Saunaka and Yamacia - and thus ended on top of Pool D to proceed to a Cup quarter final on the final day.

Gregan underlined the fact this team was the surprise packet of the first day for the men.

“They were electric, both in attack and also in defence. You can see they have a good team chemistry and were really the surprise packet and set the standard which sets it up for a really interesting daytomorrow.”

Heading into the final day of the tournament tomorrow and for many the premium day as the men battle it out for the Cup honours.

CUP QUARTER FINALS

Army v SRS Yamacia

Uluinakau v Wardens

Crow’s Nest Yasawa v Naviti Ratu Filise

Police v First Light Taveuni

Full results and draws are available on http://fijicoralcoastsevens.com/schedule-and-results/

The MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is proudly supported by Goodman Fielder Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Tourism Fiji, Outrigger Beach Resort, Uprising Beach Resort, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, The Naviti Resort, Crow's Nest Resort, Gecko’s Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, Fiji Times, Viti FM and Fiji TV.

Tuvu Crowned Youth Champion In Sigatoka

Tuvu Crowned Youth Champion In Sigatoka

Tuva is the new champion of the Uprising Youth Sevens.

The side defeated King 7s Select 7-0 in a close contest in Sigatoka after knocking out defending champions Lelean Memorial School 12-0 in their semi.

Tuva vice-captain Imanueli Bari was awarded the Lote Tuqiri Player of the Tournament Medal for his strong performances across the two days.

“What stood out for me was, a lot of players you look at their attacking game, but he (Bari) really turned up in defence today stopping a try, he was around the park everywhere - he’s had a good couple of days,” said Tuqiri.

With no score on the board at the break, the second half became an intense encounter resulting in a yellow card for a high tackle just seconds before the final siren sounded.

Former New Zealand Sevens captain Karl Te Nana, who is at the tournament to lend his voice to the broadcast commentary, also has been impressed with the standard of play coming from the teenagers.

“The performance they put on today under pressure, you can’t replicate it and going forward, this will mean a lot to these kids’ careers.”

Tuqiri, the dual international who always comes to town for the Coral Coast Sevens, was impressed with the future of rugby.

“The Youth tournament has been brilliant. There are a lot of young kids on show putting their hands up, showing that the next generation of Fijian sevens players is not too far away.

“Uprising as a tournament is only getting bigger. There’s a lot of interest and it’s a big nursery for Fiji rugby and will only make Fiji rugby stronger.”

The second day finals process sorted out the front runners and by late afternoon the Shield, Bowl and Plate contenders were set.

Bright Tours Natabua defeated Davetalvu 12-5 in the Shield Final while Nadro Academy took out the Bowl with a 24-12 win over AFL Davuilevu Knights.

The Plate Final was a close contest between Uprising and Nadi with the Nadi boys taking the win 12-5 in the end.

CREST NA IRI ACTION UNDERWAY

The first day of the Women’s competition also kicked off on Thursday with all eyes on the strength of the local Makosoi team, which hosts several of the Fijiana national players, as well as the visiting team from Japan.

Some very large score margins during each Pool round identified the key teams to watch.

Telecom Makosoi, Nadi Blazers and Japan emerged as the main contenders for semi-finals berths with Striders showing some potential.

Te Nana was happy with what he saw from the Fijiana players running around and particularly excited by the potential shown by the young development side from Japan.

“The Fijiana girls impressed but particularly the Japanese. They’ll go into tomorrow with a lot of confidence after today’s wins.”

The second of the four days of the tournament had a bit of everything as the temperature rose despite a late afternoon shower. The crowd was in full voice with plenty of screaming for local heroes as well as the occasional burst of singing.

The tournament was also honoured to host a special guest with Senator Claire Moore, Australia’s Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, visiting Lawaqa Park.

Senator Moore, who has been on the Coral Coast for a Regional Ministers Meeting, was keen to experience the event and took time to speak with several of the local Fijian players as well as the guests of honour, Tuqiri and George Gregan.

Friday will see an early start to competition with the Women playing quarter finals while the highly-anticipated Men’s competition also gets underway.

Full results and draws are available on http://fijicoralcoastsevens.com/schedule-and-results/

The MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is proudly supported by Goodman Fielder Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Tourism Fiji, Outrigger Beach Resort, Uprising Beach Resort, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, The Naviti Resort, Crow's Nest Resort, Gecko’s Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, Fiji Times, Viti FM and Fiji TV.

Youth Kick Off MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens

Youth Kick Off MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens

Tomorrow sees the start of the four-day extravaganza that is the MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

All eyes will be on the young talent of Fiji on Wednesday 18 January when the much-lauded Uprising Youth Sevens competition opens the tournament in ‘Rugbytown’ Sigatoka

Following the outstanding success of last year’s inaugural youth event the number of teams has ballooned from 16 to 24.

“The Uprising Fiji Beach Resort is partnering with the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens in hosting the Uprising Youth Sevens with a view to provide upcoming players with a platform to show their talents and gain valuable competition time,” said General Manager James Pridgeon.

“At the same time the event helps to develop the future of sport in our rugby-mad nation.”

Under-19 teams from all over Fiji are registered for the two-day competition and, aside from the pride of winning the event, there will also be many out to impress those onlookers watching with more than just a passing interest.

New Vodafone Fiji Sevens coach Gareth Baber is expected to be wandering the boundary at Lawaqa Park.

“It would be remiss of me not to go out and look for quality at tournaments like the Coral Coast Sevens,” said Baber.

Lelean Memorial School return as the defending champions, keen to show that the 2016 result was not a one-off, and will take on Waisiliva in the first game of the day.

Late Thursday the winning team will collect prizemoney of $7,500 and the Player of the Tournament will be awarded the Lote Tuqiri Medal – presented once again by the man himself.

Hailing from the local village of Namatakula, the former international rugby and rugby league icon joins a group of visiting Rugby legends such as the tournament Ambassador George Gregan and former New Zealand Sevens captain and rugby commentator Karl Te Nana.

The Uprising Youth Sevens starts at 10am Wednesday while the senior competition kicks off on Thursday with the Crest Na Iri Women’s Trophy.

The men’s competition featuring Hong Kong and Germany starts a day later.

In an effort to give locals every opportunity to watch the action, organisers have made entry to all four days of competition completely free of charge.

The MANA Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens, which was founded in 2010, is proudly supported by Goodman Fielder Fiji, Sigatoka River Safari, Tourism Fiji, Outrigger Beach Resort, Uprising Beach Resort, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, The Naviti Resort, Crow's Nest Resort, Gecko’s Resort, Bedarra Beach Inn, Fiji Times, Viti FM and Fiji TV.