Champion of champions takes shape

Caption:?Wardens Gold Win The Coastal Great Eight.

A mouth-watering clash awaits in pool play at the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens as defending champions Red Rock were drawn with Daveta.

In a clash of East and West, the Suva club, who did not participate in today?s Coastal Great Eight, meet the Nadroga side got as far as the semi finals before losing to Wardens Gold.

Wardens Gold went on to beat Police 27-22 in extra time in a dramatic final at Lawaqa Park.

The two giants will meet Ratuva Horse Riding from Northland (NZ) and Sigatoka River Safari Warriors, who are also from the local area, in Pool A.

Seven teams from around the Pacific Rim join the best Fijian clubs – eight of whom came through the Coastal Great Eight – in playing for a first prize of $30,000.

Wardens Gold head Pool B with ITAC2 Yamacia and resort teams Hideaway and Tokatoka, formerly Westfield Barbarians.

Wardens coach Timoci Wainiqolo said they were gearing up for the Coral Coast title.

“We have some new boys who have done well and we are keen to repeat the win of 2011,” said Wainiqolo. “We will use these boys in the Coral Coast depending on the week of recovery coming up.”

Aussie Sevens player Jack Grant led Northern Suburbs to an impressive win over Red Rock in last week’s Fitness First Central Coast Sevens, a partner tournament.

The ‘Shoremen’ travel from Sydney to take their place in Pool C with Serevi Selects (USA), Lauli’i Pago (American Samoa) and Warwick.

Middlesex Sevens champions Pakuranga, from Auckland, were drawn with 2012 runners up Police, Outrigger and Wardens Green in Pool D while Pool E brings together the Shangri-La USA Falcons, Naviti, Coastal and Army.

Tribe from Queensland head to Sigatoka on the back of a win at the Shanghai Sevens and will meet Tappoo Tale Babas, Callison Pacific Pine and Ratu Filise from the Namatakula village.

TMO Marist Pago Sevens champion Vaiala and Tonga Aoniu Barbarians have both withdrawn.

The women’s draw will be conducted?tomorrow.

Meanwhile, based on today, each of the eight teams who qualified via the Coastal Great Eight are expected to do well at the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

On a hot, humid day in Sigatoka the standard of rugby sevens, especially in the final, was world-class.

Police scored first through Rusiate Mata but two tries to Kalisito Saune gave the prison officers a 10-5 lead at the break.

The lawmen again started strongly with Aca Simolo crossing after a strong burst from his captain Etonia Naba, and then the powerful loose forward bumped off three defenders for his second.

Wardens hit straight back with livewire playmaker Semi Saulaki scoring after a double round and then went up a couple of gears as Sevuloni Rakula gave them the lead 22-17 with two minutes to play.

Police’s Samisoni Viriviri, the Fijian flyer, came to life to tie the scores but Apisalome Waqatabu missed the conversion from wide out and extra time resulted.

Wardens dominated territory in the first overtime period and Police were under the gun following an error close to their own line.

From the scrum Wardens Leo Naikasau darted over to the delight of the sizeable crowd and walked away with $2000.

“It was a good game and we had to spread the ball wide as the Police have some big forwards,” said Wainiqolo. “Our aim was to be included in the Coral Coast Sevens and all teams tried hard.”

RESULTS FROM THE COASTAL GREAT EIGHT SEVENS

Final

Wardens Gold 27 Police 22 AET

Semi finals

Wardens Gold 24 Daveta 14

Police 17 Tale Babas 14

Quarter finals

Daveta 15 Tokatoka Resort 12

Wardens Gold 17 Army 7

Police 19 Wardens Green 17

Tale Babas 22 Ratu Filise 0

POOLS FOR THE BAYLEYS FIJI CORAL COAST SEVENS,?November 14-16, Sigatoka

Pool A: Red Rock, Daveta, Ratuva Horse Riding, Sigatoka River Safari Warriors

Pool B: Wardens Gold, ITAC2 Yamacia, Hideaway, Tokatoka

Pool C: Norther Suburbs, Serevi Selects, Lauli’i Pago, Warwick

Pool D: Pakuranga, Police, Outrigger, Wardens Green

Pool E: Shangri-La USA Falcons, Naviti, Coastal, Army

Pool F: Tribe, Tappoo Tale Babas, Callison Pacific Pine, Ratu Filise

NICK JORDAN