The 2022 Raro 7s got off to a shaky start yesterday afternoon after teams pulled back from leaving organizers to change draws for men’s and under-18 competitions.
Atiu withdrew from the men’s competition, leaving just five teams to compete for the main title at the annual Raro 7s tournament held at the National Stadium in Nikao.
Initially, the men’s teams were grouped into two groups. After Atiu withdrew, organizers revised the draw in a round robin competition between defending champions Tupapa Panthers, Yalovata A, Yalovata B, Aitutaki and Avatiu.
The Panthers coached by Darren Piri went 5-31 to Avatiu in the opener before beating Aitutaki 41-0. However, in its last game of the first day, the team lost to Yalovata A 14-0.
The Panthers will have to win their remaining game against Yalovata B today to keep their hopes of a final and title alive.
Favorites Avatiu, coached by veteran Clive Nicholas, beat Yalovata B 47-10 after Panthers and took on Aitutaki and Yalovata A in their remaining games this afternoon.
Aitutaki has two wins from three matches after beating Yalovata A 14-12 and Yalovata B 24-12.
In the women’s league, defending champion Tupapa Panthers got off to a good start with a 22-0 win over Aitutaki before going to Bears 0-24.
In the U18 games, Bears defeated Panthers 27-10 and Aitutaki 24-0. Two teams – Atiu and Mangaia – withdrew from the U18 competition.
Senior Men – Panthers 5 Avatiu 31, Yalovata A 12 Aitutaki 14, Aitutaki 0 Panthers 41, Avatiu 47 Yalovata B 10, Yalovata B 12 Aitutaki 24, Yalovata A 14 Panthers 0
2:00 PM Aitutaki-Bears Women, 2:18 PM Yalovata A-Yalovata B Men, 2:36 PM Aitutaki-Avatiu Men, 2.54 U18 Aitutaki-Panthers, Intermission, 3:30 PM Avatiu-Yalovata A Men, 3:48 PM Yalovata B-Panthers, ANZ 4:30 PM U18 final (top two), 4.50 pm Women’s final, 5.10 pm Men’s final.