2017 Oceania 7s/RWC 7s Qualifiers: Fiji and Black Ferns Sevens Reign Supreme

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New Zealand Black Ferns Sevens team celebrate after claiming the 2017 Oceania 7s crwon, at ANZ Stadium, Suva - November 11, 2017. (Photo credit Oceania Rugby facebook page)

It was a fantastic end to two days of ‘sevens fiesta’ as Fiji and the Black Ferns Sevens reign supreme in Suva. The finals day was delayed by over 90 minutes, when heavy rain and thunderstorms interrupted play. However, when play resumed the winners came out firing.

2017 Oceania 7s/RWC 7s Qualifiers

Papua New Guinea had double celebrations, with the Men’s and Women’s sides gaining qualification. They have qualified for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWC7s), and the Commonwealth Games.

Furthermore, they qualified for HSBC Sevens Series core-status playoffs in Hong Kong, as well as invitation to the Sydney Sevens. That was a fantastic result, that will promote the game of rugby sevens in that nation.

Quick tap: Origins of sevens

The host nation were happy too. Fijiana; the national women’s side, walked away with the bronze medal. Fiji has unearthed a new star, and would be happy to halt Australia’s sequence of wins.

Tonga too, are happy as they chase that important Oceania 2 qualifying spot, at the Pacific Mini Games in December.

Black Ferns Sevens Reign Supreme

In a first for an International coed-tournament, the Women’s final was the feature match of the tourney. That showed the respect shown for the women’s game today.

New Zealand’s Black Ferns Sevens added the Oceania title to their already impressive trophy cabinet. Reaching the final with ease, they defeated Australia 12-5.

It was a good tournament for both sides, as they tried out combinations before the Dubai season opener. New Zealand gave more game time to their rising stars; like Tenika Willson. The Aussies did the same too, with Fijiana and Papua New Guinea all gauging their sides form at ANZ Stadium.

Eight women teams took part in the tournament, in conjunctions with the UN Women organization. It was fantastic to see women taking the center stage [Vinaka] and an equal playing field, here in the South Pacific.

The 2017 Oceania 7’s will go along way in helping women to being treated equally in sports.

Fiji Men ‘Too Hot Handle’ for All Black Sevens

The Fiji boys turned up the heat in the final, keeping their opponent New Zealand scoreless. The All Black Sevens had to face the full wrath of the Fijians, who have been wounded buy the Aussies in recent tournaments.

Kalione Nasoko opened the scoring, and Wise Nacuqu grabbed the second later in the half for a 14-0 lead at the breather. Andrew Kneewstub; who has been phenomenal with the Kiwis, tried his best to rally his team but to no avail.

Nacuqu – who could have been easily the player of the final and Tournament – grabbed his double after the break. Josua Korinaibuli scored the final try, to reward the hosts with a 26-0 victory.

Fiji has unearthed a new star, in Apenisa Cakaunibalavu. His height will be vital in the side, for the critical kickoff ball retention zone. Kuruinabuli will be the other to watch too, with young Elia Canakaivata.

NZ head coach Clark Laidlaw will learn a lot from the tourney, as Fiji were the only side to cross the Kiwi teams line. The jury is out on him still, but we will give him a chance to mold his combinations before the Sevens Series really tests his capacity to redeem the All Black Sevens heritage.

Oceania 7s Semifinals

Fiji defeated a revamped Samoan side 17-7, and they look good the Samoans. Falemiga Selesele was back doing what he does best. With Faatua Otto, Tila Mealoi and Alatasi Tupou, Sir Gordon Tietjens has some capable men, as shown in the below result over Tonga.

The All Blacks Sevens walloped Australia 29-0 in the first semifinal. Their tries were scored by Kneewstub, Sione Molia, Joe Ravouvou and Isaac Te Tamaki. It set the Kiwis up for their first final in a long time.

Australia have some new exciting talent coming, through like Brandon Quinn and Dylan Pietsch. They all stood out, with rookie Jeral Skelton and Matt Hood impressive. Head coach Andy Friend will be proud of his boys. However, they did narrowly escape Papua New Guinea in the quarter finals 22-21. If that had gone the way of the Pukpuks, Friend may not have been so ‘friendly’ with his troops.

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Qualifiers

Women’s Qualifier

Men’s Qualifier

Overview….

This tournament will grow stronger and stronger, if all the Oceania sides continue to play with the big boys in the region. Fiji and New Zealand look well set for the new HSBC Sevens Series. Both will challenge the Aussies, as will the other International teams.

The Black Ferns Sevens are on the right track, and will be ruthless during the 2017/18 Women’s Sevens Series. Australia and Fijiana need more consistency and urgency in their game.

Bring on the international season, as the Oceania sides are ready to rule the rugby world again.

 

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