By KEITH PUARIA
MOROBE rugby will, for the first time in history of the code in the province, throw up a hefty K20,000 prize money, when they host the JKT Lim Trans Highway Sevens challenge.
The tournament, set for Jan 16-17 at the SCRUM Oval in Lae, expects to be bigger with support from ‘rugby drivers’, Supporters’ Club Rugby Union Morobe (SCRUM) and JKT Lim.
The leading unions in rugby sevens from the end of mid-1990s to early 2000s, Morobe rugby are currently going through a rebuilding process with a three- to five-year plan aimed at developing shorter version of the game.
The dominance of Morobe in sevens rugby, in the last decade had seen their representative side, the Hammerhead Sharks, regularly attending the annual Singapore Sevens.
The team’s participation at the tournament was made possible through the efforts of SCRUM.
Hammerheads had proven their competitive edge in most tournaments they had participated in, particularly successful in 1998 when they won the Plate against the Kenyan National Sevens side.
Singapore had also been an avenue for regular competitions against world class sevens’ clubs and countries. With interest shown from other centres ahead of the tournament, organisers have restricted eligible participants only to provincial development teams and established club sides.
Teams that have shown interest include Oro, Hoskins, Goroka and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The registration fees of K500 should be paid to the Momase Rugby Cup account No. 0012450984, ANZ bank, Lae. The deadline for registration is set for Jan 12. No registration fees will be accepted after the deadline. A meeting was also called for Morobe clubs and development squad members for 4pm next Monday.
SCRUM development officer Robin Tarere also said there were no immediate plans for Lae to become a member of women’s rugby union.
He said the biggest thing right now was getting the men’s competition off the ground.
“Right now, we are not in a position to run a women’s competition.
“Our house is not in order, our clubs, our competition need to be revived and that is our immediate goal,” Tarere said.