The Panthers defeated Arorangi Cowboys 24-5, while the Raro All Stars thumped Vaine Mauke 29-0 to become champions once again on Saturday at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.
In the men’s final, the Panthers which entered the showdown as the favourites, faced an uphill battle against the impressive Cowboys.
However the defending champions showed their class as they waited patiently to expose the opposition defensive line through the middle to score the tries.
The unbeaten Panthers led 12-0 at the break and managed to fend off a strong Cowboys challenge in the second spell to come out the victors.
Led by speedy winger Fereti Soloa and Losilosi Filipo, the gallant Cowboys threw everything into the match but were unable to overcome the overall superior pace and skill of the Panthers team.
Panthers’ tries came from Samoan Sevens player Tom Iosefo, who scored a brace, Sam Livingston, Rewita Biddle and Kody McGover. Iosefo also kicked two conversions.
The Cowboys’ lone try was scored by Soloa.
In the women’s final, the red-hot Raro All Stars put another dominating performance to overcome their strongest challenge in the tournament, Vaine Mauke.
In a virtually one-sided affair, the Raro All Stars, with the majority of their players from New Zealand, led 17-0 at the break and maintained their pressure in the second spell to claim a “three-peat”.
The Vaine Mauke led by their two imports, Canyon Paul and Ryleigh Hayes, tried hard but they were unable to crack the impressive Raro All Stars defense.
Raro All Stars’ tries came from Lonita Lavemai, who scored a brace, Patricia Taea, Violet Hapi and Luanna Moors. Lavemai kicked two conversions.
The men’s plate final was won by Tupapa Panthers, who defeated Manatoa, the national side preparing for this week’s Oceania Sevens Championship, 35-14.
In the women’s plate final, Cookie and Cream defeated TKV Hot Mix Chicks 24-7.
In the men’s bowl final, Araura Enua (Aitutaki) defeated Atiu Warriors 14-10 while Veisana Vikings overcame Ngatangiia Matavera Phoenix 15-10 in the men’s shield final.
The most valuable player prizes went to Violet Hapi of Raro All Stars in the women’s and Rewita Biddle of Tupapa Panthers Matie Centre.
Hapi was also the top try scorer of the tournament with 12 tries while Tearetoa “Love” Tupuna of Tupapa Panthers won the leading try scorer prize with eight tries in the men’s.
“Once again thank you to our awesome tournament organisers, Events Rarotonga, and to all those who supported this wonderful community event both on and off the field,” said Ben Koteka of Cook Islands Rugby Union.
“We now look forward to the 2019 Raro Sevens Tournament when we will celebrate its 30th anniversary.”