All set for 7s battle

THE stage is set for the 42nd Fiji Bitter Marist 7s.

After months of preparations all come down to the two-day event which starts today at the ANZ Stadium.

With a record of more than 200 volunteers, 82 participating teams, 1230 players and more than 200 games in four grounds for the two days of sevens extravaganza, the ANZ Stadium is the place to be this weekend.

Police is the hot favourite going into the tournament with already the Mana Whey Coral Coast 7s and the Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s titles already in the bag.

The Sitiveni Waqa-captained side will look to add the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s silverware to the trophy cabinet in Nasova and end their 20-year losing streak.

Police last won the tournament when it was introduced as a 10s tournament in 1999.

However standing in their way is defending champion Tabadamu in which Waqa was a part of when it won the tournament for three consecutive years. Tabadamu is one step closer to achieving the impossible of becoming the only team to lift the coveted prize for a fourth consecutive time.

After going down in last year’s quarter-final, First Light Taveuni with a huge fan base will want to bounce back and go one step further.

But the Fiji Bitter-sponsored tournament is not only about these big teams, it is also about the unknown teams that have gone all the way up to winning the tournament and creating upsets.

Last year probably one of the greatest upset of the tournament was when Nakaiolo Brothers laced with mainly yaqona farmers defeated their tauvu (traditional rivals) Ratu Filise in pool play. In 1996, a relatively unknown Colo-i-Suva side defied all odds to win the tournament.

Who will walk out victorious at the end of the tournament will be determined when dust settles and the final whistle is blown on Saturday night.

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