Kingdom 7s tournament ready to roll
NUKU’ALOFA-October 3: 9.15am (Nuku’alofa Times): A total of 19 teams will compete for $37,000 on offer at the first-ever Kingdom 7s rugby tournament here in Nuku’alofa this weekend – October 6-7.
Twelve Men’s Open teams will fight for the $10,000 first prizemoney on offer, while two will battle for the $7,000 on offer in the Open Women competition.
The interest will be on the Under-19 women’s competition – the future of Tonga Women’s 7s.
The event will kick off on October 6 at the Apifo’ou College grounds and fans will watch the action there free.
On October 7 the finals will be played at the Ha’alano grounds in Halavave.
The event is being put together by the Kingdom 7s Incorporation.
Nuku’alofa Times mooted the sevens idea this year and proposed it to the Kingdom 7s committee.
Team managers were on hand this week for their meeting with the sponsors and the committee, with former Ikale Tahi captain Inoke Afeaki advising managers on the laws and regulations of the tournament.
Committee President Vanessa Heleta told the managers that the committee was happy to be abe to host the event.
She thanked the sponsors – Digicel and UN Women – for their financial support.
Digicel boss Ben Kealy said they were happy to be sponsoring the event.
He said Digicel will be happy to work with the committee and the tournament in future.
Tournament Director Hoko Tuivai said they wanted to lift the standard of the game here and hope that they can hold three events next year.
Committee member Iliesa Tora said the tournament was first mooted by former Tonga 7s head coach, the late Eddie Waqa of Fiji.
Tora said the late Waqa had wanted to see Tonga hosting a series of tournaments, with one international event.
He said the idea next year will be to host one international event.
Meanwhile, the Coral Coast 7s organisers in Fiji have invited the winners of the Kingdom 7s tournament to attend the event in Sigatoka next year.
Tora said the Coral Coast organisers will help the winners with accommodation sponsorship as they work with hotels in the Coral Coast area.
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