SANDAKAN, March 17 (Bernama) -- The three-day 2023 Borneo Sevens rugby tournament got off to a cracking start today after a three-year hiatus, with 16 teams taking part.
Sabah Rugby Union (SRU) president Velayuthan Tan said it was not easy to organise the event, which has been held since 2001, after the long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The difficult part was looking for sponsors while flight tickets are also expensive now... and we had four teams from Australia pulling out as well,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the tournament at the Eagles Rugby Club, here, today.
Seven overseas teams are taking part in the Borneo Sevens this year, namely Uzbekistan Rugby Federation (men and women's teams), Singapore National Development Team (men and women's teams), Hong Kong China Dragons, All for One (Thailand), Kazakhstan Rugby, Rugby India and Briars Womens Rugby (Australia).
The rest are from Malaysia, namely Borneo Eagles, Eagles NZ 7s, Malaysia Universities, SSTMI Tsunami, Labuan Vipers, Convent Jaguars and Royal Town Warriors.
The winners of the men’s and women’s categories, each comprising eight teams, will take home cash prizes and trophies.
“This year, it is US$5,000 (each for the winners of the men’s and women’s categories), US$2,500 for the runners-up in the men’s and women’s categories,” he said.
The women's category kicked off the first day of the tournament with Kazakhstan Rugby trouncing Labuan Vipers 52-0 and Rugby India edging Briars Women's Rugby 17-12.
Local favourites Eagles NZ 7s gave Sandakan sports fans a huge lift when they mauled Uzbekistan Rugby 40-7 while the Singapore National Development Team hammered Convent Jaguars 71-0.
In the men's category, defending champions Borneo Eagles slogged to a 26-2 win over Malaysia Universities while the Uzbekistan Rugby Federation beat Singapore National Development Team 10-7.
In other men’s matches, Hong Kong China Dragons thumped SSTMI Tsunami 28-5 while Royal Town Warriors downed All For One 28-7.
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