Auckland referees ready for big comp

Wednesday October 31, 2018 Written by Published in Rugby Union
From left, Allen Keyte, Peter Willis and Paul van Etten will offi ciate at the Raro Sevens Tournament which starts tomorrow. 18103007 From left, Allen Keyte, Peter Willis and Paul van Etten will offi ciate at the Raro Sevens Tournament which starts tomorrow. 18103007

Three Auckland referees are looking forward to officiating in the Raro Sevens Tournament which kicks off tomorrow at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.

 

Peter Willis and Paul van Etten, who have returned for the ninth time, and first timer Allen Keyte will be the key match officials in the three-day tournament.

The tournament holds a special place in Willis’ heart after he proposed his wife at the event two years ago.

“It’s a privilege once again to be here to referee in the blue chip event of Cook Islands Rugby Union and I hope to do a good job at the tournament,” Willis said.

“The tournament is growing every year and there are challenges that come with it. As we have been driving around the island, we have seen teams’ training so there is definitely a lot of interest out there.

“Teams are taking the tournament pretty seriously and as referees we take it very seriously too.”

Keyte said he was looking forward to making his debut as a match official in the tournament this weekend.

He said choosing Raro Sevens was not hard and he was feeling lucky to be involved in the tournament.

“It’s an eye-opening experience so far under the guidance of Peter and Paul,” Keyte said.

“We were fortunate enough to get out on Saturday in the rain and just have a run around with Cook Islands team, a Fijian team and a local side (at the Steinlager Sevens).

“It gave us an idea of the conditions and the style of play but we expect the tournament to be another level up and we are looking forward to it.”

Van Etten, another veteran official to the annual tournament, said Raro Sevens was a great event to be involved in.

He said they have seen some exciting and competitive matches and were looking forward to another year of Sevens fiesta during the tournament.

“Last year, the Tupapa team did well and I think they will be strong again but then there are teams like Tauae Bulls, Yalovata and others who will be strong too so it’s interesting to see what happens,” Van Etten said.

“It’s unfortunate that Tabusoro pulled out. They offered so much, they were finalists for years and played some great rugby. They always got the crowd involved and created a good atmosphere.”

The trio has finished officiating the fifteens competition in Auckland and refereed at some Sevens events before flying to Rarotonga.

They are supported by Cook Islands Building Supplies (CIBS).

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