Yes, Oceania 7s Finally On

Tournament from June 25-27 in Townsville, Australian Govt paid for our men’s and women’s airfares
04 Jun 2021 13:42
Yes, Oceania 7s Finally On
Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens senior players Waisea Nacuqu (8), Josua Vakurunabili and Meli Derenalagi (right( during training. The three players are our trumpcards at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan. Photo: FRU Media.

Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens coach, Gareth Baber, has finally got what he had wanted.

This was after Oceania Rugby confirmed yesterday that the PacificAus Sports Oceania Sevens tournament is going ahead from June 25-27 in Townsville, far north of Queensland.

Baber had often reiterated the need for players in his training squad to play in an international competition before they go to the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

The Olympic Games will be from July 23 to August 8.

Baber recently told Rugby Pass, “When you look at the gold medal defence from a sports science and coaching perspective it is particularly ludicrous for any country try to win the title.

“The expectation in Fiji is that you will defend the title despite not having played international competition for 16 months.

“It is a real challenge when things are constantly changing and I have never encountered anything like this before.

“I have been howling at the moon at times and the biggest difficulty is asking players and coaches to be away from families for so long.”

Playing in Townsville, is an ideal place to test rising stars like Sireli Maqala, Rusiate Nasove, Joseva Talacolo, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Simione Cece, Taniela Sadrugu and Iosefo Masi.

The event brings world-class rugby sevens to fans in North Queensland and is the initiative of Oceania Rugby, supported by the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports programme, the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council.

The event features four men’s and four women’s teams with the national teams from Australia (current women’s Olympic gold medalist), Fiji (current men’s Olympic gold medalist) and New Zealand (current men’s and women’s Commonwealth and Rugby World Cup Sevens champions) joined by an Oceania Barbarian side in both the men’s and women’s draws.

The PacificAus Sports Oceania Sevens will be played at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.

Hosting Fiji’s world-renowned men and women’s sevens teams is a major drawcard for the challenge, thanks to funding from PacificAus Sports, which aims to build sustainable, elite sport pathways between Australia and the Pacific

The Australian Government is supporting the travel costs for the Fiji’s national women and men’s sevens teams to compete in the tournament, through the Pacific Step-Up programme, PacificAus Sports.

The programme aims to build sustainable, elite sport pathways between Australia and the Pacific, with a major focus on women and girls.

“Fiji’s sevens players are international heroes of the game– inspiring fans and uniting communities across Australia and the Pacific,” Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said.

“We are delighted to be supporting Fiji’s travel to Australia to compete in this important event which will be critical for Fiji’s preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

“This goes to the heart of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership – bringing our top teams together to succeed and thrive.”


Low profile

Meanwhile, the Fijian men’s and women’s teams are expected to leave this weekend for Australia as they have to undergo all quarantine regulations.

The teams have kept a low profile as their preparations have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions.

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor said: “The Ministry of Health does not allow any publicity or any other person close to the team bubble.”

He added they are committed not to breach the COVID-19 protocols.



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