Fiji to host Oceania Women's Sevens in August(IRB.COM) Tuesday 26 June 2012
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 champions Australia, together with runners-up New Zealand, Pacific Games gold medallists Fiji and reigning Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens champions Papua New Guinea will be the star attractions at the Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship in Fiji on 3-4 August 2012.
The event, which is the Oceania regional qualifier for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, will see nine of the region’s top teams compete in a showcase of Women’s Rugby in the back yard of one of the most famous Rugby Sevens countries in the world.
Australia and New Zealand have automatically qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 on account of their performance in Dubai in 2009.The top team from the other seven competing nations at the Oceania Sevens will qualify for the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Regional Qualifier in Pune, India in October. The top three placed teams at this tournament will qualify directly for RWC Sevens 2013.
Oceania Women’s Development Officer Elenoa Kunatuba believes the tournament is an important step in the growth of Women’s Rugby in the region.
“We are now just four years out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and it is important that we have high quality international competitions for our region’s teams to prepare not only for Rio but, of course, for Rugby World Cup Sevens next year as well,” she said.
“Australia and New Zealand performed exceptionally well at the last Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009 and it is vital that we build on that performance by providing a stage for all our members to prepare to the best of their abilities.”
Fiji Rugby Union CEO Manasa Baravilala added: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome the region’s best and finest women players to a tournament which we firmly believe will be world class both on and off the field.
“As a Union I firmly believe our own women have as much talent as our men, in the abbreviated code, and with an eye on the Olympics I am certain Fiji’s players will give a very good account of themselves in what is certain to be a thrilling tournament.”
Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga have all confirmed their participation in the event.
As well as being the regional qualifier for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, the Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship will also be the regional qualifier for the Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens Championship to be held in Borneo in August-September. The top three teams will join defending champions Papua New Guinea in Borneo.
The Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship will be held from 3-4 August at Churchill Park, Lautoka.