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Panthers, Burraneer Rays claim 7s titles

Monday 9 October 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Panthers, Burraneer Rays claim 7s titles
Tupapa Panthers players and management after winning the 2023 Raro Rugby 7s tournament at the National Stadium in Nikao. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/ 23100701

Tupapa Panthers retained the Raro Rugby 7s men’s title while Sydney’s Burraneer Rays were crowned the new women’s champions at the National Stadium in Nikao over the weekend.

The Panthers took on Manatoa – made up of Rarotonga-based national players – in the men’s final after round robin competition held on Friday and Saturday.

In the latter stages of this intense match with Manatoa leading 21-17, a late 60 metre solo try scored and converted by the Panthers captain Tua Ravula was enough for them to claim victory by 24–2.

The Panthers’ other tries were scored by their speedsters Rudi Sifa and the fastest player at the tournament, Jone Baikeibau, who scored a double in the final.

The Manatoa tries were scored by their winger Albert Etuete, and halves Brian Akava and Teara Henderson. Akava received the most valuable player award (MVP).

Sydney’s Burraneer Rays were crowned the new women’s champions. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23100707

In the women’s final, visitors Burraneer Rays from Sydney, Australia, and Northland Natives from New Zealand battled.

The well-drilled Rays team proved too strong in this match winning by 22-0 with the MVP Award given to their flier Shaye Shipton, who scored a hat-trick of tries in this match.

The young Northland “Te Tai Tokerau” Natives team played with plenty of heart and they improved with every showing at this tournament.

In the U16 final, the visiting Northland Natives I defeated Northland Natives II 38-5.

The Northland Natives II had a few local players too. The lone Natives II try was scored by Roma Daniel. The MVP Award went to their outstanding skipper and utility back Ben Love.