The first Western Sydney 7’s tournament has gone to an international team with Fijian side Uluinakau taking out the tournament at Granville Park, Merrylands.
Uluinakau were a dominant force in the competition, conceding just one try in the preliminary rounds.
Team manager Ilaisa Jikotani was very pleased by the result and will take home the cup and a $3000 winners cheque.
“We feel very proud to be given the opportunity to come out here and expose the talents we have,” he said.
“For a lot of our boys, this is the first time they’ve been able to play overseas.
“We thank the Lord for giving us the talent and skills and the boys really worked hard and sacrificed a lot from home to come overseas.”
With drizzle affecting handling throughout the final between Uluinakau and the Liverpool Warriors, the eventual champions scored first and took a 7-0 lead into half-time.
Liverpool hit back early in the second and after a back and forth tussle, the Fijian side made the Warriors pay for a mistake to claim the 14-5 win.
Uluinakau had warmed up for the tournament in the Central Coast Sevens the weekend before but were defeated by the NSW Waratahs 7s in the quarter finals.
It was the inaugural Western Sydney 7s event and, in conjunction with Tonga Day celebrations also held at the ground, saw 10,000 visitors pass through the gates.
Organiser Craig Morgan said it was a “highly successful” event with 12 teams entering, including the Nauru national team tuning up for the Oceania 7s competition.
“It was good having Nauru here because they need game time to develop as a rugby sevens playing nation,” he said.
“The game time they got here today was invaluable for them so we were rapt to have them and try and assist the Pacific in developing rugby and helping nations that are trying to get into the game.”
As it comes to next year, Morgan is hoping for even more interest with several teams already indicating interest in returning next year.