Flying Fijians heading to Whangarei sevens tourney

By Imran Ali


Renowned New Zealand sevens exponents Amasio Raoma, Waisiki Masirewa and Joeli Vidiri will grace the stage at the first Northland Fiji Sports Sevens in Whangarei.

The famous trio are planning to bring teams from Auckland, Waikato and Counties/Manukau during the one-day tournament to be played at the Old Boys' ground on Port Rd.

Cash prizes of $5000 for the winner and $1000 for the runner-up are available and 16 teams have registered so far. But tournament director Soro Ramacake said there was room for more.

He said Fijian teams from Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North, Hamilton and Rotorua were among those participating and he hoped more would be keen closer to the event.

"We've been putting the word out among our Fijian networks and some unions such as King Country and hoping to get a mix of Fijian and local teams," Ramacake said.

"Being the first tournament, we want to ensure everything pans out well then we hope to invite teams to come over from Fiji next year."

He said the likes of former Blues and Commonwealth gold medal winners Vidiri and Raoma, Fijian and New Zealand international Masirewa and ex-Fijian 15s fullback Filipe Rayasi of Wellington would trigger interest among fans and players.

Masirewa's son, Luke, 18, is part of the New Zealand sevens training squad.

The tournament was initially planned for this weekend but it clashed with another Fijian sevens tournament in Auckland.

Two officials from the Northland Fijian community will travel to Auckland this week where Ramacake said they'd promote the event in Whangarei.

"One of the aims of our tournament is to expose local players to the unions and selectors like [New Zealand Sevens coach] Gordon Tietjens because there's an abundance of talent out there.

"It's also a get-together of the different Fijian communities around the country and it's also our deep desire to create a circuit of tournaments in key centres around New Zealand."

Entry to the tournament will be by gold coin donation with part of the proceeds going to St John.

Mr Ramacake has urged anyone interested in bringing teams to contact him on 0274051130 or email at northlandfijisports@gamil.com.

- Northern Advocate

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