Nawaka 7s | Tourney to trial U16-18 youth grade

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Ilaitia Vuniyawa (left) of Ravoravo braces for a hit from a Nawaka player on day one of the Nawaka 7s in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

A new under-16-18 competition will be introduced at the 37th Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s tournament scheduled to kick off this weekend.

Fans and spectators will get to witness 48 men’s, 24 youth, eight women’s, four fellow-Fijians and six U18 teams grace the fields of Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Friday and Saturday.

Tournament director Maleli Ranawai said they’re trialing a new category this season.

“We have a new category from the U16-18s that we have included this year. We are hoping to field eight teams for that.

Registrations are still open in this category as only four have sealed their places.

“This is a trial run for us because I believe only the Nawaka and Marist 7s tournaments are introducing this new level of competition. We believe this level has the most support when it comes to promoting grassroots rugby as well as drawing in the crowd that’s needed in a tournament.” Ranawai said.

“If it is successful then we will look at it in a wider scale next season, even if we just have four teams this year, we will still go ahead as it will only be played on Saturday.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize on the talent that we have seen in the fellow-Fijians category over the years. They have some promising players which I believe can be missing links in our national team. I hope our Fiji 7s coaches are also watching them and realise that we have potential wingers and kickers in these teams.”

Big teams such as Nahehevia 7s champion Fire, Fiji Babaas, DXC Barbarians, Army, Ratu Filise, Raiwasa Taveuni, 2023 losing finalist Uluinakau Barbarians and BLK Lavidi have cemented their spot.

“Registrations are still open for the men’s teams with six spots left. A lot of big teams have confirmed and are paying their registration fees. All spots for under-21, women’s and fellow-Fijians categories are taken.”

Adults will pay $7 flat on Friday and $10 flat on Saturday while children’s entry fees is $5 flat on both days.