New Zealand win Oceania Women's Sevens Championship
• New Zealand defeat Australia 35-24 in the final
• Fiji finish 3rd with a 26-14 win over PNG to progress to the next stage of RWC Sevens 2013 qualifying
New Zealand are the new Oceania Women’s Sevens Champions after defeating Australia 35-24 in a pulsating final, while tournament hosts Fiji progress to the Asian Regional Qualifiers for a tilt at RWC Sevens 2013 following their 3rd place finish at the Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship this afternoon in Lautoka, Fiji.
Most people expected the two great foes of Australia and New Zealand to contest the final and after an afternoon of quality finals, that is how it played out. New Zealand got off to a blistering start, at one stage leading 21-5 midway through the first half, but Australia clawed their way back with two tries at the end of the half to cut the deficit to just 2 points. However 2 second half tries, including the clincher by Kayla McAlister, was enough to give the New Zealand Women their maiden Oceania title and bragging rights ahead of Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in less than 12 months.
Australian captain: Rebecca Tavo
“We lost but some of our young girls gained good experience in this match. Rugby here in the Islands is so different, they hit hard and the crowd go wild and enjoy it all, as we have.”
Australia coach: Tim Walsh
“We are disappointed in the result, but we are very happy with the effort from girls. The work ethic in unbelievable, we have a few things to work on but our game is in the right direction.”
NZ captain: Huriana Manuel
“We have a new team and we went in with heart and played like family, I love these girls like sisters and we are very happy to win.”
NZ coach: Sean Horan
“It was a typical Sevens finals day with some fantastic play, we showed good character to come through and take the win.”
Earlier, Fiji ensured they remain in the RWC Sevens qualification race with a 26-14 win over reigning Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens Champions Papua New Guinea. Fiji now head to the Asian regional qualifiers in India in October where the top three placed teams will qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.
Australia qualified for the final courtesy of a 26-5 win over Fiji in a highly anticipated Semi Final while New Zealand were comfortable 36-0 winners over Papua New Guinea in the other semi final.
In the battle for the minor placings, Samoa defeated a vastly improved Tongan outfit 17-12 to finish in 5th position while Cook Islands defeated Solomon Islands 41-0 to finish the tournament in 7th position.
DAY 2 RESULTS:
Australia 22 def Cook Islands 0
Papua New Guinea 24 def Tonga 19
Fiji 15 def Samoa 5
New Zealand 52 def Solomon Islands 0
Plate Semi Finals
Samoa 17 def Cook Islands 5
Tonga 40 def Solomon Islands 5
Cup Semi Finals
Australia 26 def Fiji 5
New Zealand 36 def Papua New Guinea 0
7th place playoff
Cook Islands 41 def Solomon Islands 0
5th place playoff
Samoa 17 def Tonga 12
3rd place playoff
Fiji 26 def PNG 14
New Zealand 35 def Australia 24