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Women’s teams ready for Raro Sevens

Thursday 9 December 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Women’s teams ready for Raro Sevens
Avatiu’s Paulina Ponga-Pierre bursts through Atiu’s defence to score a runaway try in the women’s final at the Raro Sevens Tournament. Photo: KATRINA TANIRAU. 20120604

There is one more sleep until the much anticipated Raro Rugby 7s Community Tournament kicks off at the Avatiu Club Sports field.

Day one of the tournament will take place tomorrow from 3-6pm. Day two will kick off the following day on Saturday from 12pm-6pm.

Six open men’s teams have been confirmed – Aitutaki, Atiu, Tupapa, Avatiu, Yalovata 1, and Yalovata 2. Four women’s teams will take the field including Tupapa, Avatiu, Arorangi and Aitutaki, as well as two Under 17’s boy’s teams, Mangaia and the Raro Barbarians.

Julieanne Westrupp, coach for the Tupapa Panthers women’s team, says they are looking at development at this year’s tournament.

“This will be the first time for Tupapa to ever register a women’s 7s team so it’s all about gauging interest and development,” Westrupp said.

“We do have a couple of experienced players that can help with this so it will be interesting to see the different calibre of players come together. Winning is always a bonus but we will take whatever result arises.”

Sunielia Tom, the Avatiu Eels coach, will be guiding her team with the mission to defend their title this weekend.

After winning the competition last year, she says defending the title with a whole bunch of new girls will definitely be a new concept to take on but that they are keen to maintain their status.

“All the girls have potential. It would mean a lot to them individually to win,” Tom said.

The Eels also finished on top in the 2021 rugby season and Tom shared it would definitely be the cherry on top of the cake to take out the Raro 7s tournament once more.

She described her team as one that definitely has the determination to get the job done, although many of them are new to 7s rugby. They have two to three experienced players including Charlize Makara who has just returned from her one-year contract playing for the Waitaki Wahine Rugby team in New Zealand.

“I just want to say to all the teams out there, good luck, it’s not going to be an easy tournament but we are always gladly happy to go up against those we will be playing. Win or lose, we are all sisters at the end of the day and want to support all women in 7s.”

Children under 12 will have free entry and for adults there will be a $3 entry fee per day.


Friday, Day 1: 3pm Womens - Rd 1 Eels vs Bears, 3.17pm Womens - Rd 1 Aitutaki vs Panthers, 3.34pm Mens - Pool A Panthers vs Aitutaki, 3.51pm Mens - Pool B Eels vs Atiu, 4.07pm Womens - Rd 2 Eels vs Aitutaki, 4.24pm Womens - Rd 2 Bears vs Panthers, 4.41pm Mens - Pool A Panthers vs Yalovata I, 4.58pm Mens - Pool B Eels vs Yalovata II, 5.15pm U17 - Rd 1 U17 Mangaia vs U17 Barbarians, 5.32pm Mens - Pool A Aitutaki vs Yalovata I, 5.49pm Mens - Pool B Atiu vs Yalovata II. Saturday, Finals: 1pm Womens - Rd 3 Eels vs Panthers, 1.20pm Womens - Rd 3 Bears vs Aitutaki, 1.40pm Mens - QuarterF#1, PA2nd vs PB3rd, 2pm Mens - QuarterF#2, PA3rd vs PB2nd (Interval - 20 Minutes), 2.40pm Mens - Semi #1, PB1st vs WQF#1, 3pm Mens - Semi #2, PA1st vs WQF#2, ANZ Dash for Ca$h (30 minute – interval), Costume Parade/Giveaway prizes, 4pm U17 - Rd 2, U17 Mangaia vs U17 Barbarians, 4.20pm Mens - Bronze, LSemi#1 vs LSemi#2, 4.40pm Womens - Bronze 3rd vs 4th, 5pm Womens - Final  1st vs 2nd, 5.20pm Mens - Final            WSemi#1 vs WSemi#2. Presentation of awards/front of grandstand – U17 Mens Best & Fairest Player, Runner-up (Captain speech) then Winner (Captain speech), Women’s Best & Fairest Player, Runner-up (Captain speech) then Winner (Captain speech), Mens Best & Fairest Player, Runner-up (Captain speech) then Winner (Captain speech).