Organisers have made some last minute changes to spice up the competition at the Air Rarotonga Under-16 College 7s Tournament which gets underway today at Raemaru Park.
Initially 10 teams in the boys division were divided into two pools but with the inclusion of Mt Roskill Warriors and Mt Roskill Grammar, the organisers have decided to add two more pools.
Twelve teams have been spread across four pools of three teams each who will battle it out for supremacy in the two day annual tournament.
Aitutaki, who are grouped in Pool A alongside New Zealand-based Te Aute and Rarotonga’s Nukutere, are here on a mission.
Team official Drollet Joseph said Aitutaki finished on fifth spot last year and the goal was to better their 2018 performance.
Joseph said winning the tournament was their main mission.
He said the team prepared for 10 weeks adding the players were eager to take on their highly-fancied opponents in the tournament.
“We have brought 12 players who get opportunity to play rugby during the rugby season but at the moment they are busy with the soccer season. But we took time out to prepare them for this tournament,” Drollet said.
He said the school held social events and other fundraisers to raise money for this trip. T&S Building Services and Stonefish Designs also helped the team.
Joseph said: “There were some changes to the schedules and now we are playing only two games on day one so hopefully that gives the boys a bit of an advantage,” Joseph said.
Auckland-based Mt Roskill School are fielding two teams – the Warriors and Grammar.
Team official and a parent Margarette Nena said they have brought 60 people from New Zealand for this tournament.
About 30 of them are players and the rest are divided into a Kapa Haka group, parents and teachers.
Nena said Mt Roskill prides in “being able to build in their rugby knowledge, skill set and taking large groups on educational tours”.
She said the U16 Tournament would allow them to build the players for the upcoming domestic schools competition in New Zealand.
The tournament which kicks off at 1pm today also features two girls teams, Tereora and Tasman.
Pool A – Te Aute, Aitutaki, Nukutere
Pool B – Arorangi, Tikipunga, Mt Roskill Warriors
Pool C – Hato Paora, Tereora 2, Te Aute Barbarians
Pool D – Tereora 1, Mangaia, Mt Roskill Grammar
Day One: 1pm Te Aute-Nukutere, 1.20pm Arorangi-Mt Roskil Warriors, 1.40pm Hato Paora-Te Aute Barbarians, 2pm Terora 1-Mt Roskill Grammar, 2.20pm Aitutaki-Nukutre, 2.40pm Tikipunga-Mt Roskill Warriors, 3pm Tereora 2-Mt Roskill Barbarians, 3.20pm Mangaia-Mt Roskill Grammar, 3.40pm Womens Tasman Girls-Tereora Girls, 4pm Te Aute-Aitutaki, 4.20pm Arorangi-Tikipunga, 4.40pm Hato Paora-Tereora 2, 5pm Tereora 1-Mangaia, Team Managers Meeting/ Front Of Grandstand