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By QRU Media Unit
The third instalment of the Fitness First Central Coast Sevens Rugby Festival has been dubbed a major success with the tournament living up to its motto of rugby at its electrifying best on Saturday.
Teams from around Australia and the Pacific converged on the Coast to compete for a share of the $30,000 prize money on offer in both men and women’s divisions.
The day started with a magnificent multi cultural opening ceremony lead by Japanese drummers sounding the arrival of the Gorokan High School Indigenous Performance Group, the Nga Waka Maori & Fijian Treasure Island groups opening the tournament with a cultural showcase.
On field fast & furious sevens action took place into the night with a grand finale of fireworks closing the evening and celebrating the victory of the 2011 tournament champions the Sunnybank Dragons who defeated the Aussie Thunderbolts 14 points to 12 in the cup final. Sunnybank, Queensland’s 2011 Club Rugby Premiers and now CC7s Champions walked away with $20,000.00 after defeating the national team.
Both finalists defeated strong opponents in the semi finals with the Aussie team defeating 2010 champions Warwick Bombers & Sunnybank defeating 2010 runners up Te Whanau which featured NRL Premiership winner William Hopoate to make the final. Player of the final was Sunnybanks Rota Setu.
In the women’s division the Aussie Pearls proved too strong for 2010 champions Tuggeranong Viqueens, winning by a convincing 40 to nil score-line.
The ViQueens fought all the way after holding the touring Samoan team to a draw in the semi finals to make it to the top division knocking the strong Samoan outfit out of the tournament.
Player of the match was Aussie Pearls player Trish Brown.
In other results the Sid Vaka Team defeated Lloyd McDermott Indigenous Team 33-22 to win the Plate Division, Premier Sydney Club West Harbour defeated the touring Nabua team from Fiji 26 points to 24 and the Central Coast Waves defeated the Canberra OzBoks 40-39 in a spirited game to claim the Boot Division.
The festival attracted its strongest field of participants since the inaugural tournament in 2009 with interest already building for 2012 with organisers fielding interest from teams wanting to secure a place for next years event.
Several of the teams enjoyed time on the Coast showing the event to be extremely positive for the region.
Representatives of the Australian Rugby Union were on hand to witness the tournament and have expressed their delight with the standard of the event and the benefit it provides in preparation for the International Rugby Board World Series commencing in November.