By Taromane Martin
ITS back-to-back title wins for the Henderson HammerHead (HHH) Sharks who claimed their second Islanders 7s rugby competition title on Saturday at the Town Ground rugby Stadium.
HammerHeads defeated Malaita Rugby Union Association (MRUA) seven’s champions Auki Tigers 26-7 in the grand final match to see them claim their third sevens championship title in less than two months.
Despite missing most of their senior players, who won the Fletcher Kwaimani 15s Man-Up title, PAC 7s title and Islanders 7s 1 title, for the tournament, Hammerheads Head Coach Mr Philip Campbell was pleased with his development squads’ performance in the second Islanders 7s competition on Saturday.
“First I want to thank Islanders rugby club for a good tournament, obviously this is our second win and title after the first one last Saturday which we also took part in,” he told SunSPORTS.
“I think everything we do to get such results come from all the hard work the boys put in.
“Sometimes we work hard while other times we lack them but at the end of the day we always work hard for each other to get the results like we see today (Saturday),” he said.
Coach Campbell said their club is starting to look on building and developing their young players not only to win competitions but also to represent the country should the opportunity comes calling.
“Obviously for the club this is certainly a positive sign for the bunch of young boys who are very talented and we are so blessed to have them in our team.
“We are starting to look at our development squad and I believe the other clubs are doing the same.
“Its good that now we start fielding in our young teams at big tournaments so they get the experience and getting such results is a positive sign for the club.
“Hopefully they gain the experience and one day they too can also represent the country.
“This is something our club is building on not only to become number one in tournaments but also making players available to represent our club and country if they are called upon for international duties,” he adds.
Auki Tigers team Captain Junior Utu said their second place finish at the tournament is a huge achievement for rugby’s development in Malaita Province and will also go down in the history books for MRUA.
“This is a huge achievement for rugby players back home and for our boys who always try to develop rugby in Malaita,” Utu said.
“Beating powerhouses Avaiki Black in the semi finals was a big achievement for us and is a history for Malaita rugby 7s.
“Despite not having enough rest after our six hours travel by ship from Auki reaching the grand final made it all worth it.
“Big thank you to God for giving us the protection and guidance in the competition and to the boys for the spirit and a brilliant tournament.
“We will travel back to Auki on Monday (today) but of course we will be back for the National 7s in July,” he said.
Final standing: 1st place: HHH Sharks ($,5000), 2nd place Auki Tigers ($3000), 3rd place Avaiki Black ($2000)
Highest try scorer- Jonathan Maitaki (Avaiki Black), Player of the tournament Felix Galo (HHH).