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
Tuva Youth 10 KISSP Investment Wesley Fijians 5 (AET)
Rugby Academy (Fiji) 17 First Light Taveuni 7
Cuvu Blues 19 Northern Spirit 5
Ratu Filise 12 Togobula 7
QUARTER FINALS FOR THE CREST NA IRI TROPHY, Lawaqa Park
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