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By ARU Media Unit
The annual Coffs Harbour Ella Sevens has wrapped up another successful two days of competition showcasing some of Australia’s best Rugby Sevens talent.
Held at the BCU International Stadium, 24 men’s and 8 women’s teams competed in the sixth annual marquee event for Indigenous Rugby Sevens, as part of the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team’s (LMRDT) commitment to providing opportunities through Rugby for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders.
The women’s competition, featuring two pools of four teams, kicked off on Friday evening ahead of the final rounds on Saturday, while the six men’s pools competed over the course of Saturday.
Redfern Gumbalmiigay took home the prize money in the Women’s Cup Final with a convincing 24-5 win over the Queensland based Highlanders.
The winners of the women’s competition had a stellar campaign leaving each of their pool opponents scoreless in their three games, handing them a well-earned spot in the finals.
Their triumphant form continued in the semi-final against Mindaribba which they won 19-5 before taking out the Championship title with a 19-point win.
The Highlanders had a similar run to the women’s final, leaving their first two opposing teams scoreless before a thrilling draw with Mindaribba in the final pool game.
The result was enough to secure them a spot in the first Women’s Cup Semi-final where they again left their opponents, the Murri Magic, scoreless before suffering a final loss to Redfern Gumbalmiigay.
The La Pa Lovelies, coached by famous Ella brother and former Wallaby, Glen Ella took home the Women’s Plate Final after defeating the Coffs Coast Girlz in a nail-biting 12-10 victory.
Rain failed to dampen the tournament action which concluded in exhilarating fashion as Lismore’s Northern United team incredibly stole the final victory from the star-clad Knightriders in the Men’s Cup Final late on Saturday afternoon with a captivatingly close 31-28 encounter.
The Knightriders, who are bursting with talent such as former Wallaby Andrew Walker, former Australian Sevens player, Kacey Mitchell and former ACT Brumbies player, Tom Cornforth, displayed dominating form in their run to the final game before being pipped at the post by the Lismore underdogs.
Northern United made their way through the pool games with a convincing set of wins, with at least 13 points separating them from their opponents in each game.
Their semi-final against the Moore Park Broncos was a much closer affair with just two points proving the difference and delivering Northern United a shot at the final.
The budding competition is one of many offered by the LMRDT who encourage opportunities in Rugby and education for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders through various teams, tournaments and projects.
Ella Sevens tournaments are now held in three locations around Australia offering Indigenous youth the chance to join the Pathway to Gold to play Rugby Sevens at the elite levels or possibly at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
As a new Olympic sport, the fast paced, action-packed nature of Rugby Sevens is continuing to grow in popularity across Australia, offering men, women and children the chance to try their hand at the seven-a-side version of Rugby.
The next Ella Sevens tournaments will take place in Cairns in October and Ballymore in November 2013.