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Nuku’alofa – October 14, 2021: 3.55pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Tongatapu Women’s champ  Vahe Hihifo prepared well to shut out the Ha’apai women’s team at last Saturday’s Tonga Rugby Union Centennial tournament final at Te’ufaiva Stadium.

Even though Hihifo has the ego of being the women’s champ of the Kolomotu’a 7s tournament in the last four years they knew what to expect from the Ha’apai team.

Ha’apai were determined to strangle Hihifo with their set pieces.

But the Hihifo sider’s speed and enthusiasm proved too much for Ha’apai,  winning by a close 14-12 margin.

The last minutes of the game was much tighter than expected.  Ha’apai required three points to win but  they felt the pressure exerted by the experienced Hihifo.

Men’s champs, Vahe Kolo, lifting the trophy at Te’ufaiva Stadium on October 9. Photo: Nuku’alofa Times

Vahe Kolo team retained their winning streak and placing both hands on the TRU Centennial Men’s title beating  Vava’u on Saturday with nerve-wrecking points 29-25 win.

Vahe Kolo coach Fangatapu ‘Apikotoa chose to restore and use his experienced  players to win the ball in all areas and not get too carried away with trying to jump on Vava’u’s big, tall men.

Despite their win, Vava’u were the favourable team of the tournament after being first ranked in their pool in the round-robin stages.

Ha’apai’s try in the final against Hihifo. Photo: Nuku’alofa Times

Results in the finals were:

Vahe Hahake 17 – 10 ‘Eua (women)

Vahe Loto 7 – 27 Niua (women)

Ha’apai Sea Warriors 57 – 12 Vahe Loto Hammers

Vahe Hihifo Warriors 18 – 22 ‘Eua Fungafonua

Vahe Kolo 10 – 17 Vava’u (women)

Niua Seketo’a 27 – 24 Hahake Blues (Kau Maki)

Ha’apai Womens 12 – 14 Hihifo Womens (FINAL)

Vahe Kolo Cruise 29 – 25 Tu’I Vava’u (FINAL)

Tonga’s female rugby referees at the finals on Saturday. Photo: Nuku’alofa Times

Both winning teams received $10,000 each in prize monies  and other prizes were collected by the remaining teams as well.

Other prizes:

Best Young Player of the Tournament: Suliasi Tolu from Vahe Hahake

Best Female Player: ‘Ofa La’akulu from Vahe Hihifo Warriors

Best Player of the Tournament: Patelesio ‘One’one from Vahe Kolo Cruise.

 

Women’s Sevens competition placing:

  1. Vahe Hihifo Warriors
  2. Ha’apai Sea Warriors
  3. Tu’I Vava’u
  4. Vahe Kolo Cruise
  5. Seketoa Niua
  6. Vahe Loto Hammers
  7. Vahe Hahake Blues
  8. ‘Eua

Men’s 15-a-side competition placing:

  1. Vahe Kolo Cruise
  2. Tu’i Vava’u
  3. Seketoa Niua
  4. Vahe Hahake Blues
  5. ‘Eua
  6. Vahe Hihifo Warriors
  7. Ha’apai Sea Warriors
  8. Vahe Loto Hammers

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