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Manchester Rugby 7s - Samurai take the Cup!
Friday, 17th July 2009
Samurai take the Cup!
Samurai International lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites to take the International Invitation Cup at the inaugural Manchester Rugby Sevens.
But the sevens specialists, led by New Zealand international Ed Cocker, were pushed to the limit by Kukri Marauders in a closely fought final which looked to be heading into extra time with the scores level 17-17 before Chris Brightwell powered over in the last minute to give Samurai the lead. Chad Shephard converted with the final kick of the match to give Samurai a 24-17 victory.
An emotional Cocker dedicated the victory to team coach Colin Hillman who lost a two-year battle against pancreatic cancer just a week before the tournament.
The Manchester Rugby Sevens tournament proved to be a huge success with the International Invitation Cup attracting players from all over the world and already ranks alongside the likes of Dubai, Rome and Amsterdam in terms of quality of rugby and overall entertainment.
Finals day was full of drama with every match from the quarter-finals onwards poised on a knife edge and the standard of attacking rugby was of the highest order.
The most eagerly anticipated clash of the last eight saw surprise packages – and host team – Macclesfield RUFC taking on the might of Sale Sharks. The added spice of a local derby attracted a bumper crowd on day two – including the Sharks first team coach Kingsley Jones.
The Division 3 North side were full of confidence having pulled off the shock result of the tournament when they defeated French sevens specialists Les Blues the previous day.
But Sale’s Premiership experience proved one step too far for the host team and with a number of first team players including current England Sevens member David Seymour in the side, they ran out 19-10 winners.
There was last eight disappointment too for the British Army side led by Gloucester’s Apo Satala, beaten 26-21 by Kooga Wailers.
For current England international Ben Foden, such was the quality of the field in the Invitation Cup, that his Mighty Minnows side were knocked out in the first round of the Plate.
But in spite of his disappointment about his team’s performance Foden said: “It’s a brilliant event. When you look around everyone seems to have a smile on their face.
“The camping and festival at night seems to be buzzing and people have really been enjoying themselves.”
In the semi-finals, Marauders overcame the Wailers 24-17 and then Samurai left the Sharks dreams of a final place in tatters winning 19-12.
The International Invitation Plate final proved to be a truly international affair with SLB of Portugal beating Les Blues from France 21-12.
Five other competitions were held during the weekend festival which attracted entries from 100 teams and drew in crowds of around 12,000 over the weekend.
Ronin Howards won the Kit Team Cup beating Glantaff Goats 26-21 and in the Northern Cup there was plenty for the locals to cheer with Macclesfield Barbarians shading it against Kirkham GS Old Boys 17-12. The RAF Ladies Cup headed north of the border with Rugby Ecosse proving too strong for the Pirates 21-5 and the Men’s Social Cup saw Hurricanes beat Sea Hawk Islanders 24-12.
Sky Sports cameras were on hand to capture the festival and the progress of the School of Hard Knocks team, as part of the current documentary series. And the youngsters pulled off something of a coup in winning the Social Cup Plate Final.
Festival highlights will now be shown on Sky Sports.
The Manchester Rugby Sevens proved to be a genuine festival of rugby and offered something for the whole family.
Around 1,000 people took the opportunity to camp on the festival site and as well as the rugby there was both a trade village and a wide range of entertainment including live DJs each night and a fancy dress party on Saturday night plus live music from the band Hard to Handle.
A kids mini-rugby camp was a resounding success, the highlight being the youngsters taking on the British Army team in an impromptu match on finals day.
The festival weekend was rounded off with the RAF Falcons parachute display team making a spectacular entrance on to the pitch.
Former England head coach Richard Greenwood was on hand to present the trophies at the end of the tournament and he was full of praise for the quality of the rugby served up by the teams in the MR7s Invitation Cup.
Tournament organiser Marco Vaghetti of Bthere Events said: “Our aim was to create a feast of rugby for the whole family to enjoy and I am delighted to say that we achieved that.
“The standard of rugby was of the highest quality and we were treated to some great matches.
“There has been a great atmosphere throughout the festival and the feedback we have received already shows that MR7’s has firmly established itself on the map.
“We are already looking forward to next year’s event which we hope to expand to include other women’s sporting events and to build on the family-friendly atmosphere from the inaugural event.”
International Invitation – Sunday Results
Q.1: KooGa Wailers: 26 v British Army: 21
Q.2: Marauders: 17 v Koru Kamikaze: 12
Q.3: Samurai: 19 v Akuma Scorpions: 17
Q.4: Sale Sharks: 19 v Macclesfield: 10
S.1: Kooga Wailers: 17 v Marauders: 24
S.2: Samurai: 19 v Sale Sharks: 12
Final: Marauders: 17 v Samurai: 24
Q.1: Les Bleus: 31 v West Country: 5
Q.2: Ronin Impact: 7 v Sedgley Tigers: 15
Q.3: Onfire: 14 v SLB Rugby: 33
Q.4: Mighty Minnows: 19 v Inside Runners: 40
S.1: Les Bleus: 24 v Sedgley Park: 19
S.2: SLB Rugby 45 v Inside Runners 5
Final: Les Bleus 12 v SLB Rugby: 21
Role of Honour
Cup Winners - Samurai International (24)
Cup Runners-Up - Kukri Marauders (17)
Plate Winners - SLB Portugal
Player of the Tournament - Howard Graham of Kukri Marauders
Cup Winners - Hurricanes (24)
Cup Runners -Up - Sea Hawk Islanders (12)
Plate Winners - School of Hard Knocks
Cup Winners - Macclesfield Barbarians (17)
Cup Runners-Up - Kirkham Grammar School Old Boys (12)
Plate Winners - Glasgow Titans
RAF Ladies Cup
Cup Winners - Rugby Ecosse (21)
Cup Runners-Up - Pirates (5)
Plate Winners - Glasgow University
The Kit Team Cup
Cup Winners - Ronin Howards (26)
Cup Runners-Up - Glantaff Goats (21)
Cup Winners – Wooden Spoon