International elite Sevens Rugby has found a new home in Honolulu with the inaugural 2014 ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS) Rugby tournament featuring 14 Men’s and Women’s Under-20 teams from June 5-7, 2014. The 3-day AWS tournament venue was the 300-acre Kapi’olani Park, Hawai’i’s largest and most historic rugby venue.
The Men’s U20 competition, with a field of eight teams, was won by the Titans Rugby Club in Honolulu. They outlasted Kahuku High School 24-22 in the AWS Cup final championship game. Kahuku won the Hawaii State U20 15’s rugby championship a week earlier against Hilo Reign on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The Women’s Cup final featured two top international teams from New Zealand and Australia. Hamilton Girl’s High School, New Zealand’s current national Secondary School championship winner, dominated the Pacific Barbarians from Australia 22-12,
Introducing Under-10 Keiki Super Flag Rugby at AWS Tournament
In addition, the 2014 AWS tournament also introducedUnder-7 and Under-10 Keiki Super Flag rugby games with 14 teams from Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. The Keiki Super Flag Rugby matches were played in the morning for all three days of the tournament at Kapi’olani Park.
Exclusive Rugby Sevens Clinic for Players & Coaches by Top New Zealand Coach
Another exclusive highlight of the pre AWS-tournament activities was a FREE Players and Coaches Sevens Rugby clinic conducted by Brent Semmons, Head Coach of New Zealand’s four-time consecutive national Secondary School championship winner, Kelston Boys High.
Semmons, also Director of Sport at the rugby powerhouse school, guided his Kelston team to win the 2012 Sanix Rugby World Youth Cup Rugby championship. More impressively, they have been New Zealand’s national Secondary Schools championship winners four years straight from 2010.
Sevens Rugby Backstory
More than five million people currently play rugby in over 117 countries. The Rugby World Cup (RWC), held every four years, is the third largest sporting event in the world, next to the Olympic Games (summer).
It is newsworthy and significant that only Sevens Rugby, and not 15-a-side rugby, has been added to the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Its long-awaited entrance to the Olympics will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sevens Rugby is considered the most exciting brand of international rugby to those familiar and unfamiliar with the sport because of its’ fast-paced, non-stop field action play.
Rugby (15-a-side) was last played during the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France. A little known fact is the United States won the Gold Medal for Rugby at the 1920 (Antwerp, Belgium) and 1924 (Paris) Summer Olympics. The game and sport in the U.S. is a distant memory of those bygone heydays, but it is now making a rapid resurgence in America again. Sevens rugby is leading the way.
Played in most developed countries, Sevens Rugby is becoming much more popular in the United States with regular international coverage on ESPN and NBC-TV. The latter has secured broadcast rights to major Sevens Rugby events in the U.S. and carries the exclusive contract to televise the next two Summer Olympic Games. The HSBC USA Sevens World Series in Las Vegas and the U.S. Collegiate Sevens Rugby national tournament and championship are both televised live on NBC-TV.
Sevens Rugby is considered the most exciting brand of international rugby to those familiar and unfamiliar with the sport because of its’ fast-paced, non-stop field action play. The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS offers one of the world’s most beautiful tropical “environments” in Hawai’i’s most prestigious sporting stadium.
Hawai’i as an International Rugby Sevens Destination
Sporting events have enhanced Hawai’i’s economy and international image in a very profound way.
With this in mind, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) has developed a sports marketing strategy to “increase Hawai’i’s sports presence to a globally competitive level, diversify the visitor experience, highlight the State’s diversity and build a sustainable sport tourism market.”
A secondary goal of the AWS organizers is to use this event as a platform to expose world class Sevens Rugby for the first time to Hawai’i. The concept is for State government officials and the local population to adopt this easy-to-learn sport as a positive fitness recreational activity that will lead to future school level competitions throughout the Aloha State.