Queensland country life recently posted:
The Country hospitality has been the winner at the 2021 Roma Rugby 7s competition, hosted by the Roma Echidnas Rugby Union club.
Some 41 teams descended on the Maranoa town on Saturday to contest $20,000 in prizemoney in three competitions.
Both the A grade social men’s and the women’s championships boasted the largest number of nominations ever, 18 in the men’s and 16 in the women’s.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, a premier men’s championship was also held, attracting eight elite teams to compete for the coveted Tanya Osbourne Cup and purse.
In the men’s competition, the Echidnas were up against teams from Brisbane, Rockhampton, central Queensland, Gladstone, the north and Sunshine Coasts and locally, Toowoomba, Chinchilla and Warwick.
The Echidna women went around with teams from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Rockhampton, central Queensland, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba, Warwick and St George to contest the Emilee Cherry Cup and prize purse.
Organiser David Hickey said they had turned three teams away from Sydney and one from Melbourne, thanks to COVID restrictions, which showed the growing popularity of the event.
“Word of mouth is saying it’s one of the best competitions of its type in Australia,” Mr Hickey said. “It’s partly that it runs smoothly and has good camaraderie – it’s all about country hospitality.”
The event started years ago as a 10-team local derby but is now an annual highlight on the Maranoa region’s sporting calendar.
One of the day’s big attractions is a budgy smuggler flash-off where teams are invited to flash-off their fit and toned bodies, much to the crowd’s delight.
The winner is chosen on the basis of crowd applause in teams, men and women categories.