2016 Oceania Sevens: After two days of competition Fiji won the men's championship and Australia won the women's championship.
Fiji claimed the Oceania Rugby Sevens championship in front of their home crowd at ANZ Stadium, Suva after snatching a 28-19 victory against a spirited young Samoan team in what both camps have termed as an excellent hit out before the 2016/2017 HSBC Series World Series kicks off in Dubai next month.
All three core teams (Australia, Fiji and Samoa) from the HSBC World Sevens series used this tournament as their final preparations before the first leg in Dubai next month.
Fiji managed to oust the Samoan’s 4 tries to 3 and while the final moments of the final was a heart stopping affair for the home crowd, interim coach Nacanieli Cawanibuka had nothing but praise for his team.
“We always knew that Samoa would be a very tough team, but I am happy with how we played because the new players exceeded my expectations, they were calm under pressure and worked well with the experienced players,” said Cawanibuka.
Fiji captain Osea Kolinisau left the tournament before the finals as he had to catch a flight to London for the World Rugby Awards, but the team had Olympians in Kitione Taliga, Jasa Veremalua and Samisoni Viriviri to guide them through to victory.
Samoa contained experienced campaigners Samoa Toloa and hardworking captain Tila Mealoi who were exceptional in leading a young Samoa side, which proved the difference in their semifinal clash against a feisty Papua New Guinea team, unlucky to go down against a relieved Samoan team in extra time.
The Australians met the Olympic champions in the semis, and offered the Fijians a sturdy challenge despite going down to the home team 19 - 7.
Gordon Tietjens, was impressed with the attitude shown by the Samoan players. “They kept at it until the dying minutes and came up with two tries, that for me is fantastic attitude, so we go back now and Stephan and I will prepare for the Dubai leg.”
Full Tournament Scores and photos courtesy of ZoomFiji from the tournament can be found here
Australia Women’s live up to expectations
The World number one ranked were a class above rivals in there run through to the final pool match, and continued their momentum against Fijiana, with a clinical 31 - 0 win.
The best tackling team of the 2015/2016 HSBC Women’s Sevens series lived up to their reputation and starved the home team of possession.
Captain Shannon Parry said ‘it was important to start off the season well after an intense preseason. “We are happy to collect another trophy and most importantly to test where we are before the season starts.”
The Fijiana camp were happy to have had a chance to face the Olympic champions before the season proper, and look forward to improving their ranking in the 2016/2017 HSBC World Women’s Sevens Series.
PNG and Tonga off to World Series
Papua New Guinea Men’s team have qualified for the Wellington, Sydney and Hong Kong HSBC Men’s Qualification Tournament after a strong 4th finish at the tournament. Tonga after 5th placing has also earned a spot at HSBC Men’s Qualification Tournament.
As the top placed non-core team from the Oceania Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, PNG Women’s team have also earned an invitation to the Sydney leg of the HSBC Women’s World Sevens Series as well as the chance to qualify for the 2017/2018 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series in Hong Kong.