Rodos Rugby “The Colossi” won the 2nd Pan Hellenic Rugby Sevens title with a proud 100% record in their eleven games over the two days of the tournament. In doing so they became the first sports club on the island or the Dodecanese in general to hold any national title.
For reasons best known to the Hellenic Federation the competition was played over two weekends. In May Rhodes travelled to Domokos, where they won all five games to lead the table by four points from Athens Spartans, Thessaloniki Lions and Athens RFC.
This was all repeated last Saturday in Athens with each club playing the other and the top four then going into the semi-finals. The job was made slightly easier when Lions failed to arrive, leaving each team with four games before the play-offs.
Colossi kicked off against Athens and tries from Scott Shaw, Red Newberry, Pantelis Arfaras and Gio Puckorius, who added two conversions, saw them to a narrow 24-21 victory.
Meanwhile Iraklis were looking dangerous with victories of 22-17 over Springboks and 19-7 against Spartans.
Spartans had impressed in the first round to finish second, but they were far from impressive against the Colossi in the next game as the Islanders steamed to a 36-0 win with two tries each from Shaw and Dimitris Kefalas and others from Newberry and Chris Panagiotopoulos, with three conversions from Puckorius.
Spartans lost their third game too, beaten 17-10 by Springboks before Colossi met Iraklis in the clash between the only two sides so far unbeaten on the day.
It was a close-run thing before the Colossi came out on top, 17-12, thanks to two tries from Newberry, one from Shaw and a conversion from Puckorius.
Athens featured in each of the two following games and looked to be running into form as they disposed of reigning champions, Springboks 24-0 and then Iraklis 31-5
Colossi maintained their unbeaten record in the next game with a 24-7 win against Springboks, Shaw grabbing two tries and two conversions, Ruaridh Thompson and Thothoris Ananias adding a try apiece.
The last of the pool games brought together Spartans and Athens and it was Spartans who pulled off a shock 19-12 victory for their first win of the day that saw them qualify in third place for a semi-final, again against Athens, while Colossi met Iraklis in the other game.
TABLE AFTER TWO QUALIFYING ROUNDS
P W D L F A Diff Pts
Rodos Colossi 10 10 0 0 279 49 +230 30
Athens 10 6 0 4 161 134 +27 22
Spartans 10 5 0 5 107 159 -52 20
Iraklis 10 4 0 6 130 162 -32 18
Springboks 10 2 0 8 129 166 -37 14
Lions withdrew and every team was awarded a 20-0 win against them
Rhodes opened the semi-finals against Iraklis with a close battle expected after their narrow five-point victory earlier in the day. It was not the case however as Colossi ran in five tries, two from Shaw and one each from Arfaras, Ananias and Michalis Papdopoulos, with two conversions from Puckorius and one from Thompson in a 31-7 victory.
Next Spartans met Athens again and this time ran out 17-0 victors against a jaded-looking Athens side to claim the other final spot.
There were to be no more upsets though as Colossi stormed to a 43-5 victory with Shaw, named the Most Valuable Player in the first round, giving a master class in attacking rugby as he ran in five tries, taking his tally over the two rounds to 26 tries, Newberry adding two more and Puckorius kicking four conversions.
A low-key presentation saw Colossi receive their first trophy in their short history, although it was slightly disappointing that none of the top officials from the Hellenic Rugby Federation saw fit to grace their own championship with their presence.
Player-coach Anestis Karageorgiou was delighted with the result.
“This has been a huge team effort,” he said. “It’s not only the players in the sevens squad, but the rest of the club have been involved too as we have trained for this for the last two months. We are grateful too to our only sponsor – Parfaito Cafeteria in Lardos. It is not easy to raise the money we need to travel as many times to mainland Greece as we have to. Just these two trips to the sevens have cost us over 5,000 euros – worth every cent for the result, but a huge drain on our very limited resources.
“Anyone who would like to be associated with the only national champions on Rhodes, either sponsors, players or supporters should contact email@example.com
“I am so proud of the boys who have preserved our 100% record in sevens rugby. Last season we were unbeaten until we withdrew from the tournament at the semi-final stage in protest at a late change to the format. This season nothing was going to stop us.”
The team was – Michalis Chatzioannou (legs1 & 2), Thothoris Ananias (legs1 & 2), Pantelis Arfaras (1st leg), Gio Puckorius (legs1 & 2), Anestis Karageorgiou (legs1 & 2), Red Newberry (legs1 & 2), Scott Shaw (legs1 & 2), Ruairidh Thomson (legs1 & 2), Themis Natsikas (legs1 & 2), Michalis Papadopoulos (2nd leg), Chris Panagiotopoulos (2nd leg), Dimitris Kefalas (legs1 & 2) and Nikos Chatzinikos (1st leg). Martin Dutt and Dimitris Roussos were great team support as strappers, drivers and managers.