Oceania teams shine in Delhi
We may be tiny countries on the map, but the teams of Oceania have been the teams to shine at the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens in Delhi.
Attacking rugby officially starts in the Oceania region, competing for Gold in the Commonwealth has seen our best stand up and make a statement in Delhi. Gold, Silver, The Bowl and the Plate were all secured by teams from Oceania in sizzling displays.
Winning is paramount, but casting a tad wider view we see some massive inroads from Papua New Guinea in particular. Under the guidance of ex All Black Shane Howarth this team has darted into contention, in the process downing some teams who are regular starters on the IRB Sevens circuit. Recently in the Oceania Sevens they earned the right to be at Wellington & Adelaide, by the time theses competitions roll around they will be even more fine-tuned giant killers.
In contention from Oceania were, NZ, Australia, PNG, Tonga and reigning World IRB Sevens champions Samoa. Of these teams in action only Tonga walked away without some bling for their efforts.
Samoa missed their master and ring leader Uale Mai, however their spirit was there and they narrowly missed out on the medal games going down to England 7-5. Youth has been exposed and this experience will serve them well as the new season of the globe trotting Sevens Series is underway in 8 weeks.
On the up too is team Australia. Blending youth, pace and enthusiasm coach Michael O’ Conner has transformed the nations hopes in the Sevens code. They clinched the Oceania title 2 weeks ago and pushed NZ all the way to get their silver medal. O’ Conner said “To win silver is an outstanding achievement and the boys played really well, I couldn’t have asked for any more and I’m extremely proud of them.
“I think a few of the boys showed serious credentials over the last two days which should stand them in good stead to get a call up to the (Qantas Wallabies) national team.”
Last but not least in the New Zealand team, they have now made it 4 in a row. It is quite refreshing to watch the match and see their coach jumping for joy like a proud dad watching his young boy score, even after all these years Gordon Tietjens has passion overflowing. He has been up, he has been down and this guy just never gives up and he will be very proud of his core sevens men this time again.