The tournament which will mark its 30th anniversary this year was promised to be a “bigger and better” event but fell short after managing to register only 12 men’s and two women’s teams. Normally the annual tournament attracts 16 men’s teams and atleast five women’s teams, lately.
Initially, the tournament was supposed to be held over three days – now it will be held this Friday and Saturday at the National Stadium.
Tournament coordinator Jessie Sword said “due to unforeseen circumstances the Raro Rugby Sevens International Tournament will now be condensed into two days instead of being spread over three days as per previous years.
“The tournament will now commence on Friday, November 1 from 11.30am to 5.30pm, then finals on Saturday from 12 noon to 6.30pm.
“Gates will open on Friday and Saturday from 10 am for early ticket buyers.”
Defending champions Tupapa Matie Bar is back to defend the title. The side leads Pool A which has Fijian side Yalovata Veiyasana Vikings and Auaua Enua Sevens.
Pool B which is led by Arorangi Cowboys has Atiu Warriors and Veilomani Brothers while Pool C has Tauae Bulls, Aitutaki and Team Transport.
Giants Tupapa Panthers and Avatiu Eels are grouped in Pool D alongside Harbour Hawks.
In the women’s competition, defending champions Raro All Stars and Vaine Mauke are the only teams registered.
The Raro International Sevens which started in 1989 had the likes of All Blacks greats (late) Jonah Lomu and Eric Rush playing for the Sheraton, Fiji star Waisale Serevi playing for General Motors and Wallabies Daniel Herbert and Peter Slatery playing for the Edgewater.
This year, Eric Rush is back as the special guest. “An Evening with Eric Rush” event will be held tonight at the Edgewater Resort and Spa from 6.30pm. Tickets are selling fast at $45 each.
The theme of this year’s tournament is Tropical Island Flavour.