IT’S been a series of firsts for the rugby tournament currently under way in Fiji.
A first ever assembled women’s team for Nauru in their first ever Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship tournament, making it their first international tournament also.
Despite the heavy losses on Day One of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship, the Nauru Women’s 7s Team Coach Dagan Kaierua said that they can only take the positives out of this experience, as this will enable them to reach their goal.
“Our goal is marching into the Pacific Games and hopefully after that we can compete in next year’s Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship.
“Our players are all local players and they all touched a rugby ball for the first time a few months ago,” Kaierua said.
Under clear skies and radiant sun, the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship kicked off to a brilliant start with teams firing from the very start.
Making their mark in the Women’s Pool from the outset were Fiji, New Zealand and Australia showing a powerful hand, with Papua New Guinea just scraping past Samoa in the first round.
The Men’s Pool saw Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea open strong against Niue, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Although the score line showed great difference, there was no love lost on the field.
A great bond amidst true Oceanic-Spirit-rivalry shone through come the second round of the Men’s Pools. Fiji, New Zealand and Australia reinstated their status as top seeds for this tournament by defeating Solomon Islands, Nauru and Vanuatu in emphatic style.
For many of these teams, the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship is an opportunity to run out together to test team combinations before the beginning of the 2018-2019 HSBC Sevens World Series in the next couple of weeks.
“This tournament is very important for us as we got a few new guys that are going really well and this is good preparation for Dubai and Cape Town and it just means us getting valuable game time before moving into Dubai,” Samoa Men’s Captain, Tomasi Alosio.
Australia Women’s Captain Page McGregor said that the team has enjoyed their matches and was pretty pleased with their performance so far.
“I’m hoping the rain holds off as it was really good today and it’s pretty hot out there. I think the girls have adapted really well and fingers crossed it stays nice weather for us,” she said.
It was a good start for the Fiji Airways, Fiji Men’s Sevens team who defeated the Solomon Islands by 47 points to nil.
“The first game is always tough but it was good that we managed to regroup and keep the Solomon Islands scoreless,” said Fiji Airways Fiji Men’s Sevens Captain, Kalione Nasoko.
“I know that the experience from the first game will help us in our second game and also for the rest of the tournament.”