The National – Monday, June 27, 2011
CENTRAL’S Aroma Coast won this year’s Buka Black Orchid 7s cup winning the final 24-19 in extra time against home team, the Black Orchids, yesterday at Hutjena High School ground, Buka, Bougainville.
The village-based team from the Rigo district pocketed the K80,000 winners’ cheque with tournament organiser Peter Tsiamalili Jr saying Black Orchid 7s was back to be the country’s premier 7s event.
Runner-ups Black Orchids went home K15,000 richer.
He said Bougainville regional member Fidelis Semoso, who is patron and major sponsor of Buka Rugby, had already made a commitment to fund the tournament with K100,000 yearly for five years beginning next year.
Tsiamalili said this would make the Buka 7s one of the richest tournaments in the Pacific outside Australia and New Zealand.
There are plans to maintain the prize moneyand depending on outside sponsorship and marketing of the event, the amount maybe increased.
He added that the Black Orchid 7s had a powerful effect on Buka town attracting an estimated 6,000 people to watch the rugby action.
“This would now put the Black Orchid 7s up there with the biggest sporting events in the AROB,” he said.
“Outside the Bougainville Games, this would have to be the biggest event and it is only one sport.”
In wet conditions, Aroma trailed 12-5 at halftime after conceeding tries to PNG 7s representative Chris Kakah (2nd minute), and Fijian import Seremaiah Burotu (5th minute) before they broke back with veteran Douglas Guise snaring a five-pointer before the break.
Burotu’s try had all the trademarks of Fijian flair when the striker picked up a loose ball from a wheeled scrum in Aroma’s 22 to run in virtually untouched.
Former Fijian international and Super Rugby player (Canterbury Crusaders) Marika Vunibaka kicked one from two to give the Orchids a seven-point buffer.
Aroma’s Airo Varo scored early after the restart to lock the scores at 12-12.
His 60m effort was converted by Madie Ora.
Varo’s brother Alova then gave his side the lead 19-12 with a converted try soon after.
Black Orchids flyer Hubert Tseraha scored just before fulltime with Vunibaka levelling with a sideline conversion for a 19-19 scoreline.
The match went into extra time with Viriolo product Ivan Garo scoring the match-winner in the third minute of sudden death.
Other results saw Watuki Warriors win the shield beating Haku Hawks 17-7, University Piggies taking the bowl with a 12-0 win over Malasang Traders and Madang Madgauns, led by the evergreen PNG Pukpuks legend Paul Joseph, thrash New Ireland’s Kalu Marlins 31-7 for the plate.