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Inaugural rugby sevens kicks off in Tonga Featured

Women's rugby is a big focus of the Kingdom 7s.Women's rugby is a big focus of the Kingdom 7s Women's rugby is a big focus of the Kingdom 7s.Women's rugby is a big focus of the Kingdom 7s

6 October, 2017. The inaugural Kingdom rugby sevens tournament is underway in Tonga.

The inaugural Kingdom 7s in underway in Nuku'alofa.The inaugural Kingdom 7s in underway in Nuku'alofa. Photo: Facebook/Kingdom 7s

Secretary of the organising committee, Iliesa Tora, said the event has been in the works for a number of years and was first mooted in 2013 by the late former Fiji and Tonga head coach Eddie Waqa.

"It's something that we hope to grow and the plan next year, already in the pipeline, is for next year to have three tournaments," he said.

"With the third probably becoming an international invitational tournament, where we hope to attract club sides from Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand and Australia if we can".

Mr Tora said the Tonga Women's Rugby Association have been heavily involved, with a real emphasis on developing women's rugby in the Kingdom, and the tournament also has the support of the Tonga Rugby Union.

This year's event is made up of local club team but one team has brought in some players from New Zealand to boost their squad.

"That is actually the idea, is to be able to give the opportunity to local players here to play in a competitive tournament," said Iliesa Tora.

"That's why we've worked on putting this one together and looking at growing that into next year, with a plan to have three tournaments next year to become a local series that we can have players playing in and also inviting overseas club sides to come and be part of."

Iliesa Tora said the event give Tonga sevens head coach Taholo Anitoni and his officials the opportunity to look at players before the Oceania Championships in Fiji next month, while they've already been invited by the Coral Coast 7s organisers in

Fiji to have the winners of the men's and women's open divisions participate at that tournament in late January.

-RNZI

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