Hawaii U19 Team Wins 2016 Aloha World Sevens
1st Local Team to defeat International Side in Boy’s Cup Final
Honolulu, Hawaii – For the first time since the annual ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS) rugby tournament launched three years ago, a home-grown Hawaii team finally won the prestigious Under19 boy’s Cup championship against an international team from Canada on Saturday, March 19, 2016.
The U19 Parkside boy’s team (from Oahu’s North Shore communities of Laie, Kahuku and Hauula) defeated Canada’s Mountain Eagles 39-12 at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. Both teams lost one match each in pool day, but advanced to the Cup final.
The tournament, which featured 12 U19 / U16 boys and girls teams, was held over two days on March 18-19. Last year, Team Messam-SPI from New Zealand, coached by current All Black Liam Messam, defeated the Hilo Reign team from the Big island of Hawaii in the boy’s Cup final. They plan to return in 2017 to compete again.
In the girl’s U19 Cup final, Parkside outlasted Hilo Reign 12-10 in a hotly contested, close match.
This marks the first time the same club (Parkside) has won both the boy’s and girl’s U19 Cup finals in the same year.
In perhaps the most thrilling of the three main Cup finals between Parkside and Kahuku, the U16 boy’s match appeared to end in a try for Parkside after the final horn sounded, but the referee ruled the player was held up from downing the ball. Kahuku edged out Parkside 26-24.
Aloha World Sevens (AWS) President and CEO, Reg Schwenke, complimented the coaches and players from all participating teams for the improving display of Sevens Rugby skills. “There is no question the local Hawaii teams and players have substantially benefited from seeing and playing against some top level international teams in the past.”
In the inaugural year of the Aloha World Sevens, New Zealand’s then-national Secondary School girl’s national champion, Hamilton Girls High, defeated an overmatched all-star team from Australia to win the Cup final.
McKay Schwenke, AWS Tournament Director and Executive Vice President, added: “We are so excited to see the rapid growth and development of Sevens rugby in Hawaii. Everything we do is for the youth and we know our AWS activities have changed young lives for the better. We plan to keep doing this for many years to come – and striving to improve every year. We already have close to six international teams verbally committed for our 2017 Aloha World Sevens tournament next year.”
In the increasingly popular AWS Keiki Flag Rugby competition with 12 teams participating from Maui and Oahu, Kihei-Maui Rugby Club had a clean sweep of the U13, U10 and U7 age finals.
Coach Pita, from the Kihei-Maui Rugby Club, summed up his post-tournament impressions: “Thank you for all your hard work, the hosting and welcoming the Kihei Rugby family again this year. My players had so much fun. Their words and stories and experiences from AWS these past years makes rugby in Kihei and Maui growing. You and your staff inspired me to do more with youth rugby in Maui. My new kids introduced to rugby this year and their parents were stoked. I had a chance yesterday to witness a parent with tears of joy; her testimony that her child was put into 3 other sports, including football. None got his commitment or motivation to continue playing. Rugby changed him. He told the mom he will give up everything, including his Xbox, just to play rugby. Keep up the awesome work, and please send our gratitude for all your staff and volunteers. Thank you again.”