The Aussie Pearls opened their defence of the Crest Na Iri Trophy in resounding style in Sigatoka on Friday.

As the 12-team women's competition got underway at the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens the young Aussies swept Pool Q with wins over Central Coast Chiefs II 43-0 and Striders 24-12.

"We're playing pretty well and it's a good start for us young girls to get two wins on the board," said captain Gemma Etheridge. "It's always tough coming over to Fiji as it's a different type of rugby and very physical.

The visitors, who feature three recent Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalists, handled the hot, muggy conditions with aplomb.

"Everyone has gelled together and played really well today and they are coming along," added Etheridge.

The USA Serevi Selects and the TFL Fijiana squad, split into Mokosoi and Tagamoucia selections, all went undefeated in Pools R, S and T respectively.

With a $20,000 first prize there is plenty to play for at Lawaqa Park however many of the participants already have one eye on Rio 2016.

“It's definitely very exciting as there is a lot to look forward to and we can't wait to get out there in a few months," said Etheridge. "This tournament is all part of getting us ready and fit for Rio.”

Meanwhile, four local teams will contest the $20,000 men's first prize.

Defending champion Police face Tabadamu and surprise package Coastal Ratu Filise meet 2011 champions Wardens in the semi finals.

Ratu Filise, inspired by the presence of famous son Lote Tuqiri, came from behind three times to beat the Aussie Thunderbolts 26-24.

Captain Leveni Tani bagged three tries, two of them runaways, while Noa Tuqiri, cousin of the former Wallaby, scored the matchwinner after the hooter had sounded.

Tom Lucas (2), Matthew Gonzales and Henry Hutchison crossed for Aussie's four tries as the visitors looked to have won the match, leading 24-14 with two minutes to play.

However, Tani's third try closed the gap to three points and a late tackle called by former Sevens World Series referee James Bolabiau gave the Namatakula team an opportunity, which Tuqiri duly took.

Earlier, Hutchison had scored perhaps the try of the tournament in a length of the field effort, combining with Tom Merritt and Sam Figg for a score that was exhausting just to watch.

Police's Meli Kurisaru scored twice as they defeated BLK First Landing, who fielded Fiji stars Aisake Katonibau and Emosi Mulevoro, 22-12 before Tabadumu beat Uluinakau 14-5 in a low-scoring contest.

Wardens winger Filipo Daugunu showed his speed with a double as the lawmen beat Westfield Dragons 24-21 in the last quarter final.

The results continue to underline the strength of rugby sevens in Fiji with no overseas team yet to make it past the quarter finals in the six years of the tournament.

Play kicks off on Shangri-La Saturday at 0900 with all the action streamed on


Quarter Finals
Police 22 BLK FIrst Landing 12
Tabadamu 14 Uluinakau 5
Coastal Ratu Filise 26 Aussie Thunderbolts 24
Wardens 24 Westfield Dragons 21

Pool A
Police 33 Shangri-La Daveta 7
Wesfield Dragons 35 Germany 14

Pool B
Aussie Thunderbolts 21 Outrigger 7
Uluinakau 19 Uprising 12

Pool C
Tabadamu 17 Hideaway Hurricanes 7
Coastal Ratu Filise 17 Yamacia 7

Pool D
Shipping Service Suva Stallions 17 Red Rock 14
Wardens 19 BLK First Landing 5

Pool Q
Striders 42 Central Chiefs II 0
Aussie Pearls 43 Central Chiefs II 0
Aussie Pearls 24 Striders 12

Pool R
NZ Raiders 17 Marist Sea Hawks 5
USA Serevi Selects 19 Marist Sea Hawks 0
USA Serevi Selects 15 NZ Raiders 0

Pool S
Nadi Blazers 15 Mystic Knights 5
TFL Mokosoi 21 Nadi Blazers 0
TFL Mokosoi 54 Mystic Knights 0

Pool T
Central Chiefs 33 Coastline Roos 7
TFL Tagamoucia 21 Central Chiefs 10
TFL Tagamoucia 40 Coastline Roos 0