By KEITH PUARIA
PAPUA New Guinea Menjals, the country’s rugby union side to the Suva Festival of Sevens in Fiji, went as far as the Bowl semi finals over the weekend, bowing out to Tonga 12-10.
The tournament, part of their lead-up preparations for next month’s Wellington Sevens, saw the side open their Suva campaign with a nervous 7-22 loss to Fiji prisons Wardens on day one, before bouncing back in their pool matches on day two.
A hardening match up against home side Suva early on day two, brought out a little ‘guts’ in the Menjals, however the home side’s (Suva) win was decided only by a missed conversion at the end, 12-14.
The Menjals then went neck-and-neck against New Zealand side Manawatu, eventually winning 26-21 via some Waisale Serevi magic.
The Fiji sevens legend and Menjals coach put his boots on after an injury to playmaker Benjamin John, left the side one player short.
Serevi waved his magic wand, when he totally fooled the Manawatu kick-off defence with a deft kick to himself just off the 10m line, regathered before handing over a pass to Buckley Joseph for one of their four tries.
The two loss-one win performance led to a spot in the bowl quarter finals for the Menjals against Australian Super 14 franchise, Western Force.
They advanced to the semis with a solid 17-12 win but could not back it up against Tonga, losing 12-10, in the final qualifiers.
Fiji Barbarians again showed their dominance in Pacific Sevens with a 45-0 curtain drawer against Waimanu while local side Ratu Felise took the plate, 27-12 over Canada’s Maple Leafs.