2015 Aloha World Sevens Rugby Tournament
Features No. 9 USA nationally-ranked Kahuku High School 15’s Rugby Team and elite Kiwi Sevens Rugby team coached by current New Zealand All Black player Liam Messam
Honolulu, Hawaii – Kahuku High School, the 9th-ranked USA high school 15’s rugby team and Hawaii’s current 2014-15 State high school rugby champions, will face off in a featured match-up against Canada’s St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School (Ontario) on Friday night (May 20) at Aloha Stadium — the first day of the 2015 ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS), Hawaii’s largest Men’s and Women’s Sevens Rugby tournament.
While the Kahuku-St. Anne’s kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., the AWS tournament will begin earlier at 1 p.m. on Friday. The two-day AWS Under-20 tournament, featuring more than 40 Sevens Rugby matches Friday and Saturday, is Hawaii’s largest rugby tournament with 14 international and local U20 teams (representing Oahu, Maui and the Big Island).
In addition, the AWS event will include matches both days between 14 Keiki Flag Rugby teams from Oahu, Maui and the Big Island (ages 5-13 in three categories).
In the Sevens competition, all eyes will be on Team Messam-SPI, the New Zealand U20 Men’s team personally coached by current All Black standout player Liam Messam. Two women’s U20 Sevens teams from Canada will also be showcased against Hawaii’s most talented female rugby players.
Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, a high profile AWS supporter and spectator at the inaugural tournament last year, voiced his continued support for this week’s 2015 AWS event at Aloha Stadium. “We are excited that the Aloha World Sevens tournament returns to Hawaii this month,” adding that “we are most especially proud of the positive work that Aloha World Sevens has done with our youth and community through developing and growing the interest of rugby in Hawaii.”
In its inaugural ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament last June, New Zealand’s national championship high school girls Sevens Rugby team from Hamilton Girl’s High, defeated a determined Australian all-star team 22-12 to win the U20 Women’s Cup final. In the Men’s competition, the Honolulu Titans edged Kahuku High School 24-22 in the Cup final.
Hamilton Girls High successfully defended their New Zealand national Secondary Schools championship in Auckland several months ago and were selected to play in the Sanix World Rugby Championship in Japan – which conflicted with the AWS tournament schedule this year.
“We appreciate the support of all participating teams and key sponsors like World Rugby Shop, Gilbert, Pepsi, Olelo Community Media, Rukutai International, Studio 853 and the Aloha Stadium administration for working with us to make this unprecedented tournament event even more memorable for everyone involved,” said Reg Schwenke, AWS President & Chief Executive Officer.
Olelo has designated the two-day sporting event as a “executive production” and will provide a five camera crew and production truck to cover the Friday night Kahuku High vs St. Anne’s match and all key matches Saturday. The AWS organizers declined the opportunity to broadcast the main rugby matches live on TV to increase spectator attendance numbers.
Schwenke said teams from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Australia, Jamaica, USA mainland, England, Ireland, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Kenya have expressed strong interest in participating next year.
McKay Schwenke, Executive Vice President and AWS Tournament Director, noted the “AWS Events Group has set the stage to highlight the best high school and junior Sevens Rugby athletes annually from around the world and locally in Honolulu. Our AWS Keiki Flag Rugby (aged 5-13 in three categories) competition in Hawaii with teams from Oahu, Maui and the Big Island is so much fun to watch and enjoy.
“Rugby is now the fastest growing sport in the U.S.,” Schwenke continued, adding, “it is predicted that, in the next 18 months, Rugby will also be the fastest growing sport in Hawaii. Much of the excitement and momentum is due to rugby being added to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”
The AWS group organized a free Sevens Rugby clinic earlier this year in Laie coached by worldwide Sevens Rugby legendary player and former New Zealand All Black Eric Rush.
To keep the tournament affordable for all kama’aina (locals) and visitors, exclusive 50% discounted advance 2-day tickets priced at $20 for adults and $12 for students aged 6-17 can be purchased exclusively at www.AWSrugby.com until 5 p.m. Thursday Hawaii time. Children under 5 are free. After Thursday, all single day tickets can ONLY be purchased at the Aloha Stadium ticket office on Friday and Saturday for $20 adult per day and $10 student (6-17) per day.