Uluinakau has qualified for the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens 2016 with a resounding 22-0 win over Red Rock at the Ra 7s.
The host club needed extra time to win their semifinal 19-14 over Wadiqi Babas but made no race of the final at the Ra Sports Ground.
Suloa Roko (2), Eliki Radau and substitute Ilime Leiloma scored for Uluinakau in the decider to claim the $2000 first prize and direct entry to the Coral Coast Sevens at Sigatoka on January 14-16.
Captain Esala Savuro thanked his team for working hard during the two-day event.
“We were not conditioned for the weather and the semi final was a hard game,” he said. “Red Rock are a good team and we hope to meet them again in the Coral Coast Sevens.”
“Having won the Plate last year we are targeting to win the Cup at the Coral Coast Sevens this time!”
Uluinakau trailed Wadiqi 0-14 in the first semifinal however fought back to win in sudden death overtime while Red Rock also came from behind to beat Samurai 12-5 in the last four.
However Uluinakau dominated the final as Radau scored first before two tries to the speedy Roko established a 17-0 halftime lead. The second half was scrappy as both teams tired before a sizzling break by Leiloma from the base of the scrum sealed the home team’s victory.
The Ra 7s was the first of four qualification events for local clubs to be played over the next two months with the Westfield Barbarians tournament in a fortnight the next opportunity in Fiji.
The winners of each, along with the champions of the Samoan Independence Sevens, the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens (USA) and the Fitness First Central Coast Sevens (NSW, Australia), will be invited to join reigning champions Police in the 16-team event which has a first prize of $30,000. Sponsors and other invited teams, including from overseas, will also be at Lawaqa Park in January.
Meanwhile, sixteen women’s teams are expected to contest the Crest Na Iri Trophy as part of the Coral Coast Sevens.
Remaining Qualifying Series tournaments:
Westfield Dragons, 28-29 August, Prince Charles Park, Nadi
Wardens, 11-12 September, Subrail Park, Labasa
Yamacia, 23-24 September, Draiba, Navosa