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.