A WEEK after the school holidays are over, Noosa is again full to the brim with visitors all keen for a taste of Noosa International Rugby 7s with sides from the South Pacific, Sierra Leone and PNG all lining up.
This is the eighth year this sporting celebration is bringing Noosa alive to the thrills of fast and free-wheeling rugby and hosts Noosa Dolphins - the local Sunshine Coast powerhouse are licking their lips at the latest instalment of the rugby festival.
Dolphins president Don McKill is delighted with the addition this year of Under 14 and 16s boys and girls comp today plus the social comp which is opening up the 7s to a whole new audience.
"Judging by the number of (junior) entries, which is full, that will be a massive day. It's a great way to start and to set the scene for the families for the weekend, which maybe has not been the support base that we've had in the past," she said.
"Then we have our welcome party and then on Saturday there's another new social competition. Again there's 34 teams involved in that."
There is also an Under 18s boys and girls comp. After the golden Rio success of the Aussie women in 7s, Don said this form of the game is a growing sport. He said the social one-day entertainment will be a big boost to the festival.
"Once a team is knocked out they can stay on and have a bit of a party (the Noosa 7s Beach Party is Saturday night) - that's the idea of it. The elite men and women are on Saturday and Sunday."
One of the highlights of the Noosa Int 7s will be the guest appearance of four Australian men's representatives in the Dolphins line up. Don said the talents of Sam Myers, Charlie Taylor, James Armstrong and Brodie Leber will be on show as they try enhance their chances being re-selected in the new Aussie squad.
"Basically they are all getting a hit out - Andy Friend who is the Australian coach will be up scouting his talent and looking fore new talent."
Don said in the men's comp the flying Fijian teams are always a treat to watch.
"The touring Fijian teams bring so much talent, you're always going to be under the pump with these guys.”
He said the Iconz and Tribe sides will be slick outfits throwing out strong challenges to the likes of Noosa, while the UQ team also will be out to match it. The women's sides will see the same sort of suspects in the thick of things.
"Noosa is full this weekend, you cannot get a room, which goes to show what it does bring to the town.”
ELITE MEN'S: UQ Rugby, Easts Tigers, Tribe 7s, Brisbane Fiji 7s, ADFRU, GPS Rugby Club, North Brisbane Rugby Club, Iconz 7s, Wests, Noosa Dolphins, Caloundra, Northern Warriors-NT, Hellensvale Hares, Highway Hunters, McDonalds Saunaka and Nadroga Stallions.
SOCIAL MEN'S: Noosa Dolphins, Caloundra, UQ Rugby, GPS Rugby Club Pyongyang Prawns, Sydney Harlequins, The Untouchabulls, Gympie, Brothers Rockhampton, Billy's Boyz, Snakes 7s, Redlands Muddies, Maroochydore Colts, Froth Sevens, Powerhouse and North Brisbane Rugby Club
WOMEN'S ELITE: Tribe 7s, UQ Rugby, Nations 7s, GPS Rugby Club, ADFRU, Redlands Rugby, UQ Rugby 2 and Gold Coast.
SOCIAL WOMEN'S: Cookies & Cream, Noosa Dolphins, Brothers Rockhampton, Gympie, UQ Rugby, USC Barbarians, Stingrays Barbarians and Nations 7s.
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