Avarua Primary School claimed three of the four titles at the Vodafone Rising Stars (Quick Rip) Championship held at Raemaru Park on Wednesday.
The school won the 11 and under girls final followed by a clean sweep in the 13U division. The 11U boys’ title went to Nukutere who defeated Avarua A 20-5.
In the 11U girls’ final, Avarua A defeated Arorangi 10-5. Avarua A thumped Te Uki Ou 25-0 and Papaaroa 10-0 to win the 13U boys and girls finals, respectively.
The daylong tournament had 36 teams competing. Non-stop rugby action from over 400 players with the youngest player registered at seven years old, was witnessed by the spectators dominated by the parents.
Tournament coordinator Ben Koteka hailed Avarua for putting on a strong performance to win three titles.
Koteka, who is also the development manager of Cook Islands Rugby Union, praised other schools for their spirited performance.
“Great to see some of the newbies like Papaaroa make the 13 under girls’ finals and Titikaveka 13 under girls in the semis too,” he said.
“Overall a successfully run community event enjoyed by all, beautiful weather together with the new pre-tournament pe’e competition a hit – Praise the Lord.”
Rutaki was the winner of the pe’e competition while Papaaroa managed the second prize. The most inspiring teams per grade went to Arorangi (11 and under boys) and Nukutere (11U girls).
Tournament director Jackie Rongo said they were excited to host boys and girls teams from nine primary schools around Rarotonga in this tournament.
Jackie has been working on the Rising Stars vision since 2016 with her husband Teina Rongo alongside a group of passionate volunteers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works earlier in the year, and we were uncertain whether Rising Stars would be able to run. It’s been a blessing that we remain Covid-19 free and are carrying forward, albeit in a modified fashion from last year’s competition that catered for both rugby and netball for primary and secondary schools,” Jackie said.
“All contact sports were put on hold early in the year, but once we were declared Covid-19 free, Quick Rip was able to obtain an exemption that allowed us to continue with primary schools once the amended school calendar schedule was released. I give much credit to tournament coordinator Ben Koteka and his passion for pushing junior rugby development!”
The Rising Stars vision comes from a desire to bring communities together and build resilience through sport.
From its conception, Rising Stars has worked with community supporters and volunteers to make the dream a reality.
Objectives focus on providing opportunities for talented local juniors to develop their skills, to create a professional tournament to attract young athletes to the sport, to bring rugby and netball interest back into the communities to foster grassroots support, and to develop and strengthen local-based athletes for selection into the national squad.
The tournament also promotes healthy living and being sugar free/fizz free, smoke free, and green alongside core values of discipline, respect, integrity, passion and solidarity.
11 and under: Semi-finals: Boys - Arorangi 5-15 Nukutere, Avarua A 15-5 Avarua B; Girls - Avarua A 15-5 Nukutere, Arorangi 10-0 Avarua B; Final: Boys - Nukutere 20-5 Avarua A, Girls - Avarua A 10-5 Arorangi
13 and under: Semi-finals: Boys - Avarua A 20-0 Nukutere, Te Uki Ou 15-0 Arorangi; Girls - Avarua A 10-5 Titikaveka, Papaaroa 5-0 Arorangi; Final: Boys - Avarua A 25-0 Te Uki Ou, Girls - Avarua A 10-0 Papaaroa