Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The inaugural Wildcat 9's took place on Saturday, May 7th at the grounds of Kilkenny RFC, six squads attended this first time event and the games were played off on a round robin basis with the top two teams on the day playing for the tournament title. The teams involved hailed from Wales, England and the domestic teams included Waterford, Kilkenny, Dublin Exiles and the Treaty City Titans, who were the eventual winners of the 9's for 2005.
There was some spectacular rugby played on the day, with some breath taking scores along with enormous tackles, it may have been a tournament, but the hits were as intensive as will be witnessed during the RLI V season which kicks off on the weekend of May 14th.
The winning captain and player of the tournament, Kevin O'Riordan said afterward that "this was a great day, it was very competitive and really enjoyable to play against these teams outside of the Munster conference, it should be made an annual event". The event organizers, the Kilkenny Wildcats, were magnificent hosts that offered the squads facilities, food and entertainment after the competition was over.
Damien Welland, chairman of the organizing committee said "I'm relieved it over to be honest and I'm delighted that it has been a success, this was something that we coordinated in a short time period, and I'm thrilled that we had the UK teams here today, it really added that something extra to the event. I think all the teams performed very well and I'd really like to build on this for 2006".
The final was contested between the Exiles and Treaty City Titans, with the Shannonsiders coming out on top after a hotly contested match.