By HARRY CLARKE

THE Maranoa capital will be flooded with footy teams on Saturday February 6 for the annual Santos Roma Rugby 7s tournament, incentivised by a huge pool of prize money for the winners.

Organisers from host club Roma Echindas have generated $20,000 to be divided among champions and runners up from three competitions.

Some 41 teams will compete across the Santos Premier Men’s Championship, the Origin Women’s Championship and the “social” A-Grade Men’s Championship.

Clubs from as far as Rockhampton, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast will travel to Roma for what promises to be colourful day of “camaraderie” on the rugby field and socialising well into the night.

Organiser David Hickey said planning for the 2021 event began in October last year. He said the devoted committee had over the years developed the event into an annual highlight on the Maranoa region’s sporting calendar.

“It started years ago as a 10-team local derby and it’s now become a great event for Roma,” Mr Hickey said.

“The Island Breeze team plays Rugby 7s all over Australian – they play very well – and they will tell you that this is one of the best Rugby 7s competition in the country.”

The renowned “Island Breeze” Rugby 7s team. IMAGE: Facebook

“It’s a great event because of the camaraderie. On the football field everyone wants to knock eachother’s heads off. But then when you walk up and down the line of tents, everybody’s just having a great time and mixing.”

Mr Hickey (pictured left) said the event was also an economic boost for local business.

“There are forty teams all staying in local accomodation, all going out for breakfast, going to pub and supporting local business.”

One of the more curious parts of the event program is the “Budgy Smuggler Flash” competition, set to provide some light entertainment for the crowds in the afternoon.

The organising committee would like to thank event sponsors Santos, Origin, Enerflex, MPC Kinetic, AGL, Wild Desert and Maranoa Regional Council.

For more information visit the Santos Roma Rugby 7s event page on Facebook.

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