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.